Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

What Did President Trump Say?

            Last night President Donald Trump spoke to the nation and the world in this third State of the Union address. It was a positive, uplifting message with many “feel good” moments when specific Americans were spotlighted and honored. In addition to the recognitions, he made numerous policy proposals that can America keep growing and improving. 

            Hans von Spakovsky collected thoughts from numerous policy experts in an article titled “What You Need to Know About Trump’s Policy Proposals in State of the Union.” Here are a few of the highlights of his article.

Economy: Tax Cuts Continue to Boost Jobs and Wages

Thanks to the 2017 tax cuts and other pro-growth economic reforms, like deregulation, the U.S. economy has outstripped expectations. The president touted the economic success of slashing “job-killing regulations” and “enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts.”

He is right, and the proof is in the numbers….

Adam N. Michel, senior policy analyst, Hermann Center for the Federal Budget

Lifting Americans Off Welfare

The president rightly noted that millions of Americans have risen out of poverty – and have been lifted off welfare – and that 7 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps since the 2016 election.

The best and necessary foundation for reducing poverty: a strong economy, as the president has delivered….

Marie Fishpaw, director, domestic policy studies

Slashing Regulations

In recounting the strong performance of the economy, the president noted his record of regulatory reform. Indeed, within days of taking office, the president issued Executive Order 13771, which requires federal departments and agencies to take two deregulatory actions for each new regulatory action, as well as to not exceed annual regulatory budgets….

Dozens of regulations have been targeted for elimination, but regulatory reform has been stymied at every turn by lawsuits and other administrative hurdles devised by those who benefit from the status quo.

But there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of new regulations. In the 37 months of the Trump presidency, the administration has issued 73% fewer significant regulations than President Barack Obama (in the same period) and 63% fewer than President George H. W. Bush.

Diane Katz, senior research fellow, regulatory policy

Failure to Mention America’s Spending-Driven Debt Problem

One issue that the president failed to address Tuesday night is the nation’s looming spending-driven debt crisis.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released its budget and economic projections for the next 10 years. The budget office estimates that the national debt held by the public will increase to nearly 100% of gross domestic product by 2030, driven by entitlement spending and growing interest payments on the national debt….

The good news is there is still time to change course and avert a debt crisis, but the president must take the lead in this effort….

Justin Bogie, senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs, Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity

Progress in Rebuilding Military

The president declared that “our military is completely rebuilt.”

The last three years have indeed been good for the U.S. military, and much of the lost readiness that had dwindled over the years has been restored. Army readiness, for example, is up 55%.

But despite favorable budgets, the military is not yet fully rebuilt. Years of budget cuts and years of over-use have strained the military, postponed necessary equipment refresh, and caused the military to shrink in size….

The United States depends on space, and other countries are seeking to deny those capabilities. The Space Force will put America in a much stronger position, as our experts explain.

Thomas Spoehr, director, Center for National Defense

Clear Message on the Middle East

The Middle East was prominently featured in Trump’s State of the Union speech. The president noted that his administration had made a priority of “combating radical Islamic terrorism” and briefly described his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, which calls for the disarming of Hamas and other Islamic terrorists, as part of that effort.

He spent much more time min recounting the progress his administration has made in defeating ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria….

Trump warned: “Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life.”

Trump ended the Middle East portion of his speech by drawing a distinction between Iran’s long-suffering people and Iran’s oppressive regime….

Jim Phillips, senior research fellow, Middle Eastern affairs

Unleashing American Energy

Affordable energy is fundamentally important for a healthy and vibrant economy.

Tonight, President Donald Trump mentioned how his administration has helped grow such an economy, in part by permitting access to our country’s vast oil and gas supply. We are now a net energy exporter, and access to this energy has not only made us less dependent on foreign oil, but has also resulted in greater job opportunities, lower electricity prices, and more income for all Americans all across the country.

Kevin Dayartna, senior statistician and research programmer, Center for Data Analysis

Remaking the Federal Judiciary

The president highlighted that he has (so far) appointed 187 judges, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and he promised that there are many more “in the pipeline.” …

Quantity is just one side of the coin, however, Quality is the other. Trump’s judicial appointment record goes beyond the number of judges he appoints, because the real impact on the country will come from the kind of judges he appoints.

Trump uses the shorthand of judges who will “uphold the Constitution as written.” That means they will take the Constitution (or statutes or regulations) and figure out what the Constitution meant when it was written. That’s what it is supposed to mean today, so that judges follow the Constitution instead of controlling it.

Trump has been more consistent than any president in history in appointing judges who take this traditional, defined approach to deciding cases.

The other part of the story is that Trump is making such a profound change in the judiciary in the face of a campaign of resistance and obstruction that no president has ever faced. The pattern documented in The Heritage Foundation’s report on the 115th Congress only got worse in 2019.

Democrats have radically changed more than 200 years of confirmation history by making opposition to Trump’s judicial nominations the rule rather than the exception. In just three years, Trump’s judges have received more than three times as many votes against confirmation as all the judges confirmed in the 20th century combined.

Federal judges serve for an average of more than 20 years, long after the president who appoints them is gone. Trump’s judges, and the move away from a political judiciary, may well end up being his most important legacy.

Thomas Jipping, deputy direction, Meese Center for Legal & Judicial Studies

            Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, included much more important information about President Trump’s State of the Union speech. However, I will end on the judicial note because this is the main reason why I voted for Trump in the first place. He promised to appoint constitutionalist judges, and I took him at his word. I have not been disappointed.

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