Op-ed: Trump’s accomplishments obscured by distractions

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Sunday, December 17, 2017 11:41am
  • Opinion

Side issues — some of them created by the president himself — have obscured the accomplishments of the Donald Trump administration during his first year in office.

The economy is the most obvious one. From anemic growth in the previous administration, it is now growing at around 3 percent, which economists say is ideal. The stock market continues to set records, fattening retirement portfolios.

Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2000. It is also at a 17-year low for African-Americans, and it has dropped for all other major racial and ethnic groups. The black community is unlikely to give the president much credit because of its addiction to the Democratic Party, even though that party has taken their votes for granted and done little for them.

The good economic news may be penetrating the largely negative media coverage. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Although President Donald Trump’s overall approval ratings have dropped to the lowest point of his presidency, he is getting significantly higher marks in one important area: his handling of the economy.”

During the campaign, candidate Trump promised to increase the number of manufacturing jobs. Critics said he couldn’t do it because those jobs were gone forever. A White House statement claims that 159,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since the president took office. This contrasts with the final year of the Obama administration, when manufacturing jobs were being trimmed at an average of 1,000 per month, according to the statement.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy estimates that the administration’s economic policies will increase tax revenue by $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

On his visits to China, Vietnam and South Korea, the president achieved trade deals worth more than $270 billion that will benefit American companies and their employees.

The “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria established by the Islamic State has been effectively destroyed, primarily because the president lifted rules of engagement and allowed the military to go after the terrorists as if this is a real war, which it is, and not a conflict where one side is burdened by rules and the other isn’t.

Illegal immigration has declined substantially even before a wall is constructed.

The president is fulfilling other promises. He is populating the federal courts with judges who are subject to the constraints of the Constitution and don’t have a history of legislating from the bench.

Unnecessary regulations on businesses imposed by the previous administration are being rolled back, which is helping to fuel the economic boom.

There is much more, but these accomplishments are being obscured by some of the president’s own actions and rhetoric. He continues to bring up the 2016 election and remains critical of Hillary Clinton. It is unnecessary. Instead, he should be touting the tangible and verifiable successes his administration is producing.

Next year the administration plans to tackle welfare reform and finalize a plan on immigration that includes a decision on what to do about the “dreamers,” children of illegal immigrants who were brought to America at a young age, and chain migration.

Another priority in the new year should be the liberation of poor and minority children from failing public schools. Trump promised to do this during his campaign. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been a champion of school choice, and she, along with the president, should begin a show-and-tell series of events that feature children who were learning nothing in their former schools and are now in private or charter public schools where they are getting a real education and feel safe.

The president is starting to get credit on the economy. He will earn more if he exercises self-discipline, controls the content of his tweets and adopts an optimistic message while toning down — way down — the anger and the criticism of others.

The Democrats are offering nothing. A Washington Post headline from earlier this week read: “Despite recent wins, Democrats remain divided about what they stand for.”

It’s a great opportunity for the president and the Republican Party to remind voters not only what they stand for (if they know), but what they are accomplishing.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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