Monday, January 8, 2018

Republican accomplishments in 2017

The GOP had undivided power in the US federal government: presidency, House, Senate, and even a mostly sympathetic Supreme Court. They started the year with all kinds of bragging, but didn't manage to do some major pieces of legislation, including repealing Obamacare, overhauling immigration laws, defunding the horrid Planned Parenthood, reworking trade agreements, etc.

The misses have been well-discussed. What might be overlooked is what was accomplished by these latter day Keyston Kops. (A good summary is here. A summary from a conservative site here.)

Tighter enforcement on immigration. Many groups, including Haitians, have lost special status and are now subject to deportation. DACA for children brought to the US wasn't renewed. Flow across the border seems to be down (a trend over several years). Democrats are being pounded by their constituents over their failure to stop these immigration changes. But that just shows the unrealistic hopes of certain groups since the Dems have almost no power.

The tax reform/tax cut bill was passed, with major changes for both businesses, individuals, and households. It's hard for me to predict how this will affect the country in the long term. It may cause a big increase in deficits. However, if the increases are kept to around $100 billion a year, that's not too large in the scheme of things. So far businesses have responded in positive ways, so there is a chance that the economic benefits will outweigh the economic downsides. We'll have to wait to see, though not everyone agrees. Some are presuming it will be a failure, though partisanship is probably the motive.

Changes in regulations, and a big slowdown in new regulation. I personally think that the stability of much less new regulation is mostly a benefit. I'm not a business owner, but wonder how many are relieved with this change in particular. And I'm not talking about businesses that hope to drill in sea coasts or pollute.

No huge disasters. There haven't been any crises that have started and gotten worse. No blunders that ballooned into disasters. Does that count as an accomplishment? No, but I'm still grateful.


Extras. Not a close fit except for the aspect of a roundup of 2017. The most underreported news stories.


Paul said...

As usual, the consequences of legislation, or rule changes (good or bad) are not always immediate. It's premature to make any claims about the little the Republicans have done in 2017. Given the overwhelming majority Republicans have (as you cited) it shows weak leadership by Republicans that they have achieved so little.

The new tax law gives 85% of its benefits to the top 3% of taxpayers. Many taxpayers will see a benefit quite quickly with new higher standard deductions, but the long run will not help the middle class. Adding 1-1/2 trillion to our already 20 trillion dollar debt is only a negative, no matter what happens. Our low population growth does not bode well for Trump's prediction that he can reach a 6% growth.

If history is any guide, the extra profits from the new corporate tax cut will not create new jobs in any great quantity. It probably will spur new investment in an already overvalued stock market, which will only make an overdue correction even deeper. Corporations still see investment for profit more important than investment for research and development. Wages are slowly rising, which only makes Trump's prediction that manufacturing jobs will return to America less likely.

If we are interested in financial health only cutting spending, and/or raising taxes will help. Americans are still grabbing for the "free lunch" Republicans have been offering for decades, right up to the last election. Maybe Trump is a blessing in disguise, he might be the start of a change in American attitudes towards what must be done.

ModeratePoli said...

@Paul, thanks for your comment. I don't think the 1-1.5 trillion in 10 years as a huge increase in the deficit. In particular, it seems to me a talking point from Dems considering they were loath to consider spending cuts to lower the deficit.

Did Trump really claim growth would be 6%? Wow. I'll have to check that, not that I believe anything Trump says. Truth is not something he cares about, so I never assume anything he says is truthful.

Paul said...

FYI, just a few of many sources:

ModeratePoli said...

@Paul, yes, I was easily able to confirm what you said. Trump is so full of BS. Nothing he says should be believed.