On Saturday, President Trump gave an impressive two-hour speech that clearly laid out his agenda. He highlighted his long list of significant accomplishments while presenting a clear vision for the future. Some may argue his presentation was a bit rough. This speech, however, began his 2020 presidential campaign.
Trump’s style has always been less filtered, more emotional and with the style of a New Yorker raised in Queens. He is a sharp contrast to former President Obama who eloquently placed every word in his speech so that he got his message across in a very politically correct manner while trying not to offend anyone.
Trump, who admits he often goes off script, was able to reach his audience by advancing policies that conservatives favor. He stressed the importance of economic growth with lower taxes for all Americans, less government regulation, peace through strength, more government efficiency and a secure border.
Very early in the speech he moved to clearly remind us of his position on the Russian collusion and obstruction of justice investigations. He used phrases like “collusion delusion” and described the players as having “the worst reputations I have ever seen.” Since he knows there was no collusion nor any obstruction of justice he knows this will eventually end without incident for him.
Then Trump went on to boast about how well the economy is performing under his policies.
Growth is finally reaching 3% annually, a number not seen since 2005. Unemployment is at
record lows, especially for minorities. Wages and incomes are rising. And, most importantly, the economy is providing more opportunity for all Americans.
But what about the trade war?
Conservative economists favor free trade with little or no tariffs on any products. Trump has done just the opposite by placing stifling tariffs on billions of dollars of products made outside of the country. In retaliation, many countries have placed equally stifling tariffs on US goods, hurting American farmers in particular.
Trump was quick to address this issue. Tariffs are simply a “negotiating tool”. Early into his
presidency he found tariffs are a very powerful negotiating tool. Trump’s goal has always been to have “free and fair” trade. That means no tariffs on anything. But if a country places a tariff on US goods, we place an equal tariff on their goods.
Already the tariffs have resulted in new trade agreements with Mexico, Canada and South Korea. The European Union has vowed to work toward a zero tariff policy. And for the first time in decades China is at the bargaining table, this time feverishly trying to reach an agreement before Trump’s tariffs cause them real pain.
Trump spoke of his foreign policy achievements. For the first time ever, North Korea is at the bargaining table really discussing denuclearization. They too are in a panic since Trump’s sanctions are devasting their already poor economy. He is also having success in the Middle East.
The ISIS caliphate has been eliminated. He is ready to remove nearly all American ground
troops from Syria. He explained his policy more clearly than he did some weeks ago when he simply said he is pulling American troops of Syria. That statement drew backlash from both the GOP and the Dems.
He explained that after he spoke with generals actually on the battlefield, he was convinced that the caliphate could be completely eliminated in about one week, if the US changes tactics. Trump’s higher up generals said this could take up to two years. Trump ordered them to change tactics. Once that happened Trump knew he could remove about 90% of the ground troops.
He quickly said that the US was pulling out Syria. What he meant to say was that a change in tactics will result in the elimination of the remainder of ISIS within a week. When that happens we can safely remove almost all of our ground forces, leaving perhaps a couple of hundred advisors and any needed air support.
Then he emphasized the danger of the Democrats’ Green New Deal (GND). He went over some numbers that clearly showed the economic impossibility of most of the GND. It is almost as if the proposers don’t understand basic economics. He actually encouraged the Dems to continue to promote these ideas, knowing the vast majority of Americans will soundly reject them just as they have done in the past.
The Dems will argue that he didn’t discuss health care, although he did say better healthcare is coming. Trump believes, the Dems are in no rush to negotiate. Trump, the businessperson, knows that they will negotiate once there is a sense of urgency. He further believes that a sense of urgency will come once the Supreme Court declares the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional now that the individual mandate is gone.
Finally, he wanted all Americans to know that it’s time to regain the pride we had in our country. It is time to regain all of the lost wealth from bad trade deals and over-regulation. It is time to restore individual freedom and individual responsibility. It’s time to keep taxes low and government small.
It’s time to make America great again. It’s time for Americans to love America, as Trump
displayed when he hugged the American flag. Trump says this theme will carry him and the Republicans to victory in 2020.
Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics.