*Martin Schoeller for TIME
I wrote not even a month ago about the issues currently facing the embattled President — and those issues are largely still there, serving to cloud and obfuscate the vision that propelled President Trump into the White House and Republicans into majorities in both the House and the Senate. That is precisely what I find so important to write about, the vision, the tangible policy accomplishments that will help Republicans retain, and likely expand, majorities in 2018 and provide the talking points for President Trump’s uphill 2020 reelection campaign.
My prescription is simple: do what you were elected to do. The Democrats, on the other hand, remain unpopular and seem perfectly content to not articulate a vision outside of “we’re not Trump” — a strategy that obviously worked out so well for them in 2016.
And I have to say, House Republicans are off to a fantastic start behind the scenes while the President has been tweeting and the media has been busy covering the latest buzz in the Russia investigation. Let’s breakdown the Trump mandate into a few categories: health care, tax reform, regulatory reform, infrastructure and as the President himself says: “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster and will soon approach the inevitable death spiral with more and more insurers leaving the individual exchange seemingly every week. We will get our first look at the Senate version of the American Health Care Act on the day that this column is published, and barring some Republican infighting and surviving the messy reconciliation process should find itself on President Trump’s desk in the foreseeable future. Finally fulfilling the seven year Republican campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a huge task that President Trump chose to tackle first.
Our tax system is quite simply atrocious and reform is desperately needed for our outdated system that the rest of the world has flown past. It is oversized; exceeding 70,000 pages and requiring 218 words to define a concept as simple as “married.” Furthermore, it is overly complicated, pushing nine in ten Americans to use either a tax professional or computer program to prepare their taxes.
Reform is long overdue, and has been a key promise of both President Trump and House Republicans. There could be some discrepancies depending on what plan House Republicans choose to go with, but the overall theme of simplified brackets, from the current seven down to three in the House Republicans plan and four in President Trump’s. Likewise, our corporate tax rate weighs in as the highest in the developed world will likely see a much needed reduction in either plan. Likewise, House Republicans are mulling a border adjustment tax, one that would fit nicely into the President’s “America First” mantra.
Dodd-Frank literally had the direct opposite impact as was intended by allowing the big banks grow bigger by codifying bailouts into federal law. With the guarantee of a taxpayer funded bailout, big banks have no incentive to not continue to speculate and cronyism has completely taken the guidance of the market out of big banks’ decision making. And while the big banks have gotten bigger, small community banks and credit unions have closed at a rate of one per day. Main Street has been on the ropes for seven years while cronyism allowed Wall Street to escape largely unscathed. What’s more, Dodd-Frank created Elizabeth Warren’s evil brain child of a rogue agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and grew the government by 3,000 employees.
House Republicans’ The Financial CHOICE will rein in Dodd-Frank’s over-regulation and deliver *bigly* relief to the community banks who having trouble lending to small businesses and families. Furthermore, this bill will cut the deficit by $24 billion over 10 years, end taxpayer bailouts to Wall Street and restructure the federal bureaucracy created by Dodd-Frank.
The President’s bold infrastructure plan is long overdue and should receive support from both parties’ leadership. The size of the plan will grow to over $1 trillion when partnered with state and local governments along with private industries. Providing much needed repairs for American roads, airports, bridges, dams and other necessary infrastructure while creating an estimated 1 million good-paying apprenticeships. Of any policy area, this is the one that fits the President’s career experience as a New York builder the most.
What will be the end result of this policy agenda? Optimistically, lasting economic growth and jobs, jobs, jobs.
Republicans across the country have received a mandate by the American people (one that got a little stronger after Tuesday’s special elections) to make drastic changes to the status quo, and their hopes in 2018 and 2020 may very well depend on the ability to enact this vision. This opportunity is too large for conservatives to balk on and such an opportunity may not present itself for a long time to come.
No one in politics has shown a greater propensity to fight back when forced against the ropes than President Trump and the time to fight his way out of another jam has come once again.
Cancel the summer recess and work through lunch and dinner if you have to. It’s time to enact the policy agenda that will cement Republican control of government and Make America Great Again.