“IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID”
Back in 1992, when some of us were just getting used to how nasty American politics really is, the Bill Clinton campaign came up with an in your face tagline that meant everything and nothing. “It’s the economy, stupid” became the rallying cry for millions of people who openly hated George H.W. Bush and all he stood for. There was just one problem.
In 1992, it wasn’t actually the economy…yet. We were still reaping the rewards of the Reagan Revolution and tax cuts at that point. Thus, even with George H.W. Bush reneging on his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, the economy was humming along. Then Bill and Hill got ahold of it, raised taxes – again – put the most draconian “Death Tax” in place, and the economy really did start to tank, although not too badly since the House of Representatives was a check against anything too drastic. Under Barack Obama, though, the American economy has downright taken on Titanic-like proportions.
So, on Monday August 8, when Donald Trump took to the podium at the Detroit Economic Club to explain in detail not just what happened to the economy overall in the last two decades, and Detroit in particular, but what it’s going to take to fix the mess the last 24 years have made, it almost sounded like the ghosts of Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan invaded.
Point #1 – Simplify the Tax Code For Everyone
Since the federal income tax was enshrined in constitutional law 103 years ago, the tax code has been “progressed”. That means, in the terminology used in the Communist Manifesto, actually, that the rich pay more (higher percentage of income just because they make more money). Now that the code itself is several thousand pages long and has spawned an entire industry to interpret all that code, Mr. Trump would like to help spur the economy by letting the people keep (and spend) more of their own cash. That means fewer and lower tax brackets, a lower corporate tax rate, and an elimination of some corporate loopholes and breaks that only corporate bean counters know about.
Point #2 – Put Americans Back To Work
The unemployment numbers the government has been putting out are not reality. We know that. The reasons so many people are out of work is a complicated mish-mosh of corporate taxes, unrealistic demands from the unions, environmental regulations, zero tariff on goods coming INTO the country, trade deals that are good for everyone BUT the United States, etc. (This is one of Trump’s main messages.) It won’t happen overnight, but the idea is to unleash a lot of money INSIDE the country to egg on innovation, entrepreneurship, and to make goods from overseas competitive price-wise with American made.
Point #3 – Eliminate the Death Tax
All of us with family and friends who have been caught in the Death Tax trap have been waiting for its outright repeal for over 20 years. Every administration has been pussy-footing on this one, reducing it, then raising it, and back and forth again. Together with probate costs, and state inheritance and income taxes (also death taxes, essentially), these fees count as confiscation of wealth. (Also a plank in the Communist Manifesto, but no one likes to talk about that.) There is no moral reason for this tax to exist.
Point #4 – Relax Unneeded Regulations
Trump makes the point that the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long with regulations that put extra weights on the American economy. Those costs are passed on to consumers. He is calling for a moratorium on new regulations, and elimination of those that are not necessary. Trump also says – and this one he can do without Congress – that all the illegal executive orders signed by Obama will be rescinded as soon as he takes office.
Point #5 – Trade Reform
This is the big bugaboo for the globalist billionaires who have taken advantage of amazingly skewed trade agreements the American government has made over the years. Free trade sounds like a great idea until one realizes that it’s free for no one in the country being asked to make all the sacrifices other than big business owners. Businesses are going to set up shop where the price to them is lowest to do so all while delivering product at a low price. That’s just a basic economic reality. For decades, the giant sucking sound actually has been jobs lost due to factory work being exported. It was a prophecy that came true. For the survival of the nation, this must be reversed and changing the terms of trade is one cog in the wheel.
Point #6 – Energy Reform
Let’s face it, without cheap energy, the United States is dead in the water. Under Obama, there has been an unbelievable war on coal, one of the country’s most plentiful resources. Several coal companies have gone bankrupt (only to have billionaires buy up millions of shares of stock for pennies compared to their previous worth). “Renewable green” energy has been pushed with investors saying it makes no sense to pursue without government subsidies. This is completely backwards. Put reversals of the policies that gave us expensive energy and did cost the country jobs along side stopping the export of energy resources and we should be back in the driver’s seat when it comes to this aspect of the economy.
There isn’t much in the main points of the Trump plan (see the outline at his website here) that veers from the classical plans of Reagan and Jack Kennedy. In fact, these are some of the very same moves that Republicans have been pushing for decades without much advancement. Trump is their chance if the GOP is really serious about it.
“IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID”
That simple, plain language slogan once beat the GOP. Now, “America First” and “Make America Great Again” are accomplishing the same feat from within the party. Not only that, the candidate expressing the sentiment is putting forth the very ideas that Republicans have always said will expand the economy. In 2016, the nation really does see that it’s the economy that needs fixing. Trump outlined how to do it. Let’s see if the GOP has the guts to follow through.
Cover photo from Reuters