Wednesday, January 03, 2018

New York Times Notices Trump Era Economic Optimism

The New York Times has a mostly favorable piece about the business community's reaction to the rollback of stifling regulations on the economy. I know, I'm pleasantly surprised, too, that the paper would run such an article, but it's a new year. I'll chalk it up to a fresh start and be happy for some honesty in the press. 


A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.
Sounds good, right? More infrastructure, job creation and rising wages were all promised by President Trump when he was candidate Trump. The return of optimism was predictable, too, with the exit of President Barack Obama. His focus was on taking over 1/6 of the economy with Obamacare, the definition of abusive regulations and mandates. 

But in the administration and across the business community, there is a perception that years of increased environmental, financial and other regulatory oversight by the Obama administration dampened investment and job creation — and that Mr. Trump’s more hands-off approach has unleashed the “animal spirits” of companies that had hoarded cash after the recession of 2008. 
After eight years of business crushing actions and governmental overreach by the Obama administration, the indicators of a strengthening in financial markets and optimistic growth remain strong. The DOW has reached all-time highs since Trump's inauguration. A record number of consecutive days with record closing numbers occurred in 2017. Companies are committing to bringing operations back from overseas, giving workers year-end bonuses and paycheck raises and hiring more people. 


The Business Roundtable, a corporate lobbying group in Washington, reported last month that “regulatory costs” were no longer the top concern of American executives, for the first time in six years. Mr. Zandi said that regulation was still the top concern in Moody’s survey of business confidence, but that it was rapidly losing ground to concerns about the availability of labor.
The National Association of Manufacturers’ fourth-quarter member survey found that fewer than half of manufacturers cited an “unfavorable business climate” — including regulations and taxes — as a challenge to their business, down from nearly three-quarters a year ago.
2018 is off to a good start.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A Glance Back at 2017 and Trump's Successes



Happy New Year! 

I have a confession to make. I am quite pleased with the results of President Trump's first year in office. While we were all told that the world would end if Donald Trump became President of the United States, it turns out 2017 was a good year. In fact, 2017 was the best year conservatives have had in many years. 

Conservative writer Matt Lewis summed the year up best: 

"GOP can say they (a) passed tax reform, (b) repealed individual mandate, (c) confirmed Gorsuch AND a ton of fed judges, & (d) got rid of job-killing regulations.
12 circuit court judges confirmed in one year- more than any president."

 If you are a conservative voter, you probably held your breath and voted for Trump. Hoping for the best, most Republican voters and lots of conservative Independents and Democrats were willing to give him a chance because the thought of Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office was a bridge too far. For many, the Supreme Court and judicial nominations were at the top of the list of reasons to vote Republican. Economic issues and a strong national defense were all factors, too. After eight years of overreaching regulations and several world apology tours, it's good to hear the full-throated support of America and her people, especially when Trump travels overseas. 

2017 was a wild ride, that's for sure. Standard, traditional thought in politics and governing were tossed out and a new approach to old problems began. That's not all bad. We are reaping the benefits of a businessman at the helm, though, and not a typical politician. Do any of us honestly think that if another Republican candidate had been the victor in 2016 (it's doubtful that any of them would have been able to beat Hillary) the economic markers would have moved into such positive territory? 

It is fascinating to see how the #NeverTrump holdouts navigate in today's reality. Some are so bitter that acknowledging any successes for conservative governing is impossible. This is why the holdouts are rendered not relevant. The old political class of consultants and advisers - those who made lots of money off Republicans in the past - no longer hold court in D.C. Attention to flyover America is finally taken. The swells on both coasts scrambling to be taken seriously while most people now just scroll past their tweets and Facebook remarks. Is there anything more pathetic than tweets from Matt Dowd or consultants who used to get gigs on cable television? How about John Kasich or Evan McMullin? Political writers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot claim conservative purity forces them to continue their temper tantrums - Boot even proudly boasted he'd vote for Hillary Clinton. There was absolutely nothing pure and conservative about giving Hillary Clinton a vote. These two, among others, will never be taken seriously by conservatives again and that is fine by me.

Overseas, Trump and America are doing much better than I expected. Trump has been instrumental in the release of Americans held by brutal dictators. Even stupid college basketball players acknowledged his help in their release after stealing high-end sunglasses from a store. Former President Obama refuses to leave the stage and spouts off overseas when traditionally that is not done. America's relationship with Israel is strong now. There may be a reason to be hopeful for the people of Iran who now are rising up against their corrupt theocracy. The successes of Nikki Haley at the U.N. are unprecedented. 

I'll continue to be thankful for the successes. It's a good start.