Tax Reform Caps Off A Productive Year for Republicans

As we approach the end of President Trump’s first year in office it’s worthwhile to remember just how low pundit’s expectations of his time in office were:

  • “Trump is headed for a do-nothing presidency…I see him making Carter look dynamic and accomplished by comparison.” wrote Josh Barro in Business Insider.
  • “This is what always happens before a crash. This is going to reach a point and it will collide in a perfect storm with some outrageous action on the part of Trump either domestically or international and [the economy] is going to come tumbling down,” conjectured Michael Moore.
  • “The circle is closing at blinding speed,” wrote Tony Schwartz. “Trump is going to resign and declare victory before Mueller and Congress leave him no choice.”
  • “[T]he guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year. The future is closer than you think,” predicted David Brooks in the New York Times.
  • “I’m ready to go on record and predict that there will be no tax reform law,” wrote Joe Nocera in Bloomberg View.
  • “[W]e are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” projected Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

None of these doomsday predictions came true. In fact, 2017 proved to be a year of major Republican accomplishments, one that happened in spite of a unified Democratic #resistance to anything and everything President Trump supported and a series of media narratives designed to undermine his presidency.

Over the past year the Trump administration has worked feverishly to pare back an unwieldy regulatory state, killing 22 regulations for every new administrative rule he has created. As a result, some 1,500 regulations have been erased or postponed, saving more than $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory costs on the economy. Part of that success has been the unprecedented uses of the Congressional Review Act, which Congress has used 14 times to end Obama-era regulations, more than the combined efforts of the previous three administrations.

President Trump has also left lasting fingerprints in the judiciary. The appointment of Associate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was a home run selection that softened the blow of losing a strong Constitutional originalist like Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump has also had twelve federal appeals court nominees confirmed this year, setting a record for the most in a president’s first year. By nominating well-qualified, young jurists, Republicans are ensuring that conservatives will continue to have a voice in the judicial branch for decades to come.

On the international front, the Trump administration has engaged in a flurry of activity including reestablishing the red line against using chemical weapons by acting decisively against Bashar al-Assad’s use of a nerve agent, he’s sent Russia a clear message by completing an arms package with Ukraine and imposing new sanctions on Moscow, he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and he’s taken steps to finally lift up India as an Asian ally and commercial partner. But most importantly, he’s taken the necessary steps to defeat ISIS. Although President Obama warned that “[t]his will not be quick,” the Trump administration’s forceful hand has aided in the liberation of 98 percent of ISIS’ former territory, leaving them with around just 1,000 fighters occupying a few acres.

The crown jewel of Trump’s first year was the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which represents the most significant overhaul of the tax code in the last 31 years. The bill, which dramatically reduces individual and corporate tax rates, and enacts reform that will allow job creators to once again be competitive in the global economy, is the fuel needed to re-ignite America’s economic engines. Workers have already begun to see the benefits with myriad companies announcing new bonuses, capital investments and charitable giving as a result of the lower tax rates.

By almost any measure, that’s a historic year’s worth of achievement. And it was done with no help from Democrats. And it was done while the media seemed to spend every waking moment searching for Russian collusion in the 2016 elections (only to find that the only evidence so far was the Clinton campaign’s purchase of an anti-Trump dossier developed by Russians). But throughout all the trials and tribulations of his first year in office Trump never lost his pole star: The desires of the American people to see their nation return to greatness. Thus far, he’s on a path to delivering.