America’s premier newspaper, The New York Times, prides itself on its commitment to reporting “all the news that’s fit to print.” But it seems the good U.S. economic news today is too fit to print for much of the mainstream media. Is the animus of CNN and other news outlets against Mr. Trump so great they just can’t bring themselves to report this good news?
The economy is growing at above 4 percent. Unemployment overall has fallen to below 4 percent, and unemployment in minority communities is at the lowest level ever. Businesses added over 350,000 new jobs in the past two months.
The economy has been steadily climbing out of the negative effects of the 2007-09 economic recession, buoyed in the past year by the tax cuts enacted in 2017. These tax cuts have put more money into bottom lines of U.S. businesses and into the pockets of working people.
President Trump’s laser focus on basic economic issues deserves a great amount of the credit for our nation’s improved financial fortunes. He has brought a much needed businessman’s attention to the economy. Along with reducing taxes, his Administration has been paring back onerous regulations that held back economic growth. He’s been a booster of the U.S. energy sector, which is booming, with the U.S. now the world’s largest energy producer. And he has consistently championed a fairer, more reciprocal international trade system that would put U.S. manufacturing companies and workers on a more equal basis with our trading partners.
All of this makes it understandable that the president is deeply frustrated with the media’s fixation on anything and everything negative regarding him. A case in point is the never-ending Russia probe. While media attention harps at Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, it too conveniently ignores the fact that the U.S. under the Trump administration has imposed harsher sanctions on Russia than the administrations of his predecessors.
There is more pressure on Russia today for its Crimea annexation and Ukraine meddling. There’s more direct financial sanctions on Russia’s oligarchs. And with Mr. Trump’s constant prodding, NATO member nations are stepping up their financial and military support for the defense of Eastern Europe from Russia’s expansionist ambitions. If Vladimir Putin thought he was getting a better deal with Mr. Trump than he would have gotten with Hillary Clinton, he got himself a very bad bargain. In fact, he made it harder for Donald Trump to cooperate with Russia even where we should, most notably on Iran and the Middle East.
One can only wish that at some point Mr. Trump will be able to match the offer of President Obama when Mr. Obama famously leaned over to then Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and in reference to negotiating nuclear weapons agreements with Russia, surreptitiously whispered to Mr. Medvedev “this is my last election… after my election I have more flexibility.” Mr. Medvedev agreed to “transmit this information,” presumably to his patron, Mr. Putin. Hopefully, the Mueller probe will be over someday, and the normal, real-world collaboration of leaders who are adversaries won’t be deemed “collusion”…
In the meantime, Mr. Trump is right to remain zeroed-in on the economic issues that helped win him the presidency. In all the attention to Russia, a basic fact has been overlooked: Russia is not a long-term threat to the U.S. Russia’s economy is anemic and overly dependent on oil export revenues. And it will continue to be hemmed in by the European Union and the NATO alliance. The real threat to the U.S. comes from China, which has mercilessly undercut America’s economic and strategic position with underhanded currency manipulation; unfair trade practices like below-cost dumping of everything from steel to solar panels; and ruthless stealing of U.S. technology secrets. By hitting hard at these unacceptable practices — and threatening large offsetting tariffs on China — Mr. Trump may be able to set the stage for an actual reduction in trade barriers.
And at some point the president and Congress must face the reality that the biggest threat to America’s long-term prosperity could come from a financial threat. That threat is the mounting, unsustainable growth in federal spending on “entitlements” — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — which now consume well over half of the federal budget. Both President Trump and Members of Congress have shown little appetite for taking on this looming problem; but if they don’t these entitlements will essentially devour the federal budget, undoing much of today’s good news.
This column was originally published in the Long Island Herald Community Newspapers.
Former Senator D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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