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Assault on America, Day 491: Now more than ever, Trump should tout economy for reelection

Trump Predicts Economic Rebound
“It’s the economy, stupid” on steroids in 2020


The economy will be an issue in this year’s election.

Political consultants are paid big bucks to make such obvious pronouncements but anyone with a functioning brain and an elementary education into American politics understands that economic conditions will heavily influence citizens before, after and probably during their trip to the voting booth this November. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi was famous for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” (Note: in fairness, the quote probably originated with UCLA coach Red Sanders in the early 50’s, but Lombardi also used it.) Well, the economy doesn’t quite rise to the level of the “only thing” in the quadrennial presidential campaign, but it’s darn close, particularly this one.

President Donald Trump based a big part of his 2016 campaign message on his successful and road-tested business record, justifiably boasting that he didn’t merely talk about employment and generating wealth, he actually created tens of thousands of jobs over the course of his decades in real estate development and entertainment media. It was one of those things where there’s instant credibility on the topic that garden-variety politicians don’t possess. Trump isn’t even a lawyer. Voters found it refreshing that a candidate for high office didn’t speak in hypothetical or conceptual terms. And it paid off with a victory.

Don’t believe it? Anyone believe Maxine Waters when she talks about the economy? Or Nancy Pelosi? Or Adam Schiff? Or Bernie Sanders? Or Joe Biden?

At any rate, regardless of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus or the status of the economy after America fully reopens and people get back to “normal” -- if it’s even possible anymore -- the president plans to tout his record on the big picture. W. James Antle III wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Give President Trump a second term, and he will produce a second economic boom. That is the president’s promise as he encourages states to dig out of their coronavirus quarantines and campaigns for reelection.

“Some observers say it is a strategy audacious enough to work.

“Business closures necessitated by the coronavirus have wrecked the economy, leading to over 30 million jobless claims since mid-March. This has put Trump in the position of citing his pre-coronavirus economic record — characterized by low unemployment and solid growth — to make the case he can deliver these results once again. ‘We built the greatest economy anywhere in the world,’ he said [last] week. ‘And we're going to build it again. We're going to build it fast.’”

Let’s hope so. It might take years to recover the GDP loss from the past two months but it must not take that long to get people receiving paychecks again -- or we’re all sunk. In order for employment to happen there must be employers ready and willing to hire (unless self-operating, of course). Restoring that sense of confidence is the largest hurdle to confront any politician. Trump is the right man for the job.

The media treats Trump’s optimistic attitude towards the economy as wishful thinking, yet there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that people are gearing up not only to get back to work, they’re anxious to regain some semblance of quality in lives that were disrupted and sidetracked by a mysterious health pandemic that no “expert” is able to fully explain. The only thing we know for sure is the Wuhan/corona/CCP virus is dangerous and it’s beneficial to stay away from it.

It didn’t take a genius to forecast what would transpire if the government told the citizenry to self-confine and avoid mixing with friends, family, neighbors and strangers. The economy depends on such things, even if communications technologies took a great leap forward in the internet age and much of what anyone would want or need is available through delivery or pickup. Many, myself included, joked (before it actually happened) about the authorities shutting down schools and commanding everyone to isolate themselves. Buddies chuckled as they elbow bumped for the first time and greeted acquaintances with a “I’d shake your hand but they’d probably lock me up if I did.”

The weird dystopian reality that came afterwards was strange at first, and for those still living under virtual quarantine orders, continues to be. Here in Williamsburg, Virginia, you can’t help but shake your head driving past an empty Bush Gardens (amusement park) and car-less hotel parking lots. Colonial Williamsburg looks the same but it’s just a nice place to walk rather than a giant teaching laboratory centered on American liberty. Restaurant windows advertise “Open for curbside and takeout” but there’s rarely more than a car or two waiting in line.

The economy hasn’t just slowed here. It’s stopped. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, getting things back to the way they were isn’t everything -- it’s the only thing.

Fans of President Trump’s entertaining and enthusiastic rallies “back in the day” recall the way he joyfully relayed his economic record, confidently proclaiming it “the best we’ve ever had.” Just a few months ago the unemployment rate was at the low ebb of the 50-year scale. Incomes were rising across the earnings spectrum. Interest rates were historically low. Consumer confidence was through the roof. Polls showed Americans giving Trump high marks for his handling of the economy. Even those who didn’t “approve” of his job performance acknowledged that times were good.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan asked Americans to consider whether they were better off than four years earlier (before “Mr. malaise,” Jimmy Carter, moved into the White House). Presidents from both parties characteristically avoid asking the same question during reelection campaigns because they fear the answer would be a resounding “no.” Barack Obama made good on his 2008 vow to bring “change” to the nation but was miserably lacking in the “hope” category. The economy hadn’t recovered from its freefall during the bailout-dominated crisis at the end of the Bush administration. Unemployment was still rampant. Disability claims were at an all-time high. The workforce participation rate was pathetic. People weren’t “better off” after four years of Obama and his politically correct ruling elites.

In 2012, Mitt Romney couldn’t convince the country that he would make things better. He lost.

But Trump appeared to buck the trend, poised to make the economic policy of his first term the cornerstone of his pitch. There’s no logical reason why he should distance himself from the subject now. Coronavirus severely wounded the economy, not Trump’s MAGA agenda. The tax reform he and congressional Republicans passed at the end of 2017 put more money in people’s pockets. Cutting burdensome regulations got the bureaucracy off the backs of job creators. Trump’s tough trade talk resulted in new agreements with our north American trading partners and showed promise in other parts of the world as well.

The new government displayed tangible accomplishments. Foreign leaders respected Trump for being a straight shooter who encouraged them to put their people’s interests first, just as he was doing for America. A new balance was reached.

National Security and culture also fit nicely within Trump’s agenda

The Trump administration is basically all about economic policy packaged with populist America-First issues such as immigration. Trump didn’t need any help talking about the failures of the establishment ruling class prior to the coronavirus conundrum and, if anything, the urgency to solve our country’s illegal immigration plague is even more relevant today. With tens of millions out of work -- and the need to keep tabs on whoever comes into the country, legally or otherwise -- there’s no justification for liberals to argue for open borders.

From the beginning, Trump lectured that a country without borders is not a country. Securing the southern line with Mexico is more vital than ever.

Other Democrat pet issues, such as “climate change,” are even further from the minds of voters these days. Energy prices are low and affordable. If faced with the prospect of raising the costs (or subsidizing) of home heating and cooling, responsible voters won’t hear of it. Cap and trade? What the heck is that? People are worried about today and tomorrow and next week and next month, not what could happen ten or twenty years from now with the global climate. Common sense and capitalism will protect the environment, as it always has and always will.

Doddering Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are well-versed in articulating problems but they don’t offer realistic, non-governmental solutions. The government-wide response to the health pandemic showed that elected leaders can’t solve everything (if anything). It’s highly doubtful voters will be in the mood to consider more bureaucratic resolutions and shackles in the healthcare industry. And after being directed, sometimes at the threat of criminal sanction, to stay in their homes and watch as their livelihoods disappeared, no one wants to be harangued about surrendering more freedoms.

In addition to stressing his economic bona fides, Trump would do well to emphasize constitutional freedoms such as religious liberty and Second Amendment rights. “Gun control” has left the national conversation, as has providing additional restrictions on churches and other entities to provide benefits at the tip of the government’s sword (or more aptly, the tip of a Democrat governor’s tongue).

And what better time to talk about the right-to-life than after the nation willingly sacrificed to protect the most vulnerable? How can Democrats claim every life is important and still insist on abortion up until the moment of birth? Trump has been outstanding for the pro-life cause and the issue has never been so ready for a confrontation with the sham artists.

One issue that likely won’t be emphasized by either party is the exploded federal budget deficit and the bloated national debt, the one part of the economy no one wants to talk about. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats offers much of a record on spending. But at least Trump is a better manager of the runaway welfare state.

No more government-inspired incentives not to work

One of the cultural tragedies stemming from the government’s hasty action to try and stave off a complete economic collapse was to grant excessively generous unemployment benefits (at congressional Democrats’ insistence, of course). If there is another “relief” bill, changes must be included.

The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “If Republicans cannot find the political will to end enhanced payments, they must change the way they are paid, so as to encourage workers to stay in their jobs whether or not they can report to work. One suggestion is to allow small businesses to receive loan forgiveness if they make a good faith effort to rehire staff. In Iowa, where the average worker is receiving 120% of his or her normal salary by remaining unemployed, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has warned that refusing to return to work when a business reopens would be treated as voluntary resignation, thus disqualifying a worker from receiving unemployment benefits.

“Republicans could insist that the renewal of enhanced unemployment benefits be accompanied by a plan to wind down the dollar amount as the economy reopens.

“In March, lawmakers were addressing an immediate crisis, but there are still another three months before the enhanced unemployment benefits expire. Congress can and should cushion those who want to work, but without hobbling the economy.”

Theoretically, such a measure should be easy to accomplish. But here’s thinking Democrats won’t agree to any proposal that cuts “benefits,” regardless of the way things were before the virus crisis reared its ugly head. Political will is more essential than ever. President Trump has endured unprecedented political warfare -- but it could get even worse.

Everyone knows the economy will be the foremost issue in this year’s election, and most people recognize President Trump is the best leader to handle the near-impossible task of getting things back to normal. In making the argument, Trump should cite both his record and his experience, assets no opponent could match.

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