DELRAY BEACH, Florida, December 22, 2017: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got it done in the Senate. Speaker Paul Ryan got it done in the House. President Donald Trump kept his promise, promptly signing the comprehensive GOP tax reform legislation into law.
The most significant fiscal act since President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reforms, this new legislation is a major policy and political triumph not only for the Republican-led House and Senate, but for President Trump. For Ryan, it is the culmination of his life’s work as a Jack Kemp, supply-side proponent. For McConnell, it was vindication; he herded the Senate’s fractious cats together when it mattered most.
For President Trump, the victory was doubly sweet. Those who said he could not govern were proven decisively wrong. Those who claimed his tough personality would prevent a deal were exposed as shallow observers. Trump proved that his decades in business taught him when to offer carrots and when to bring sticks to the negotiating table.
Even sweeter for the President were the after-effects of this breakthrough tax reform package. As American businesses and workers rejoice, anti-business crusader and former President Barack Obama has watched his redistributionist presidency slide into utter irrelevance.
Obama’s most fervent supporters still worship him. Yet with the tax bill and Trump’s relentless attacks on Obama-era over-regulation, Obama’s legacy is fading into welcome oblivion. Far from being a transformational figure, Obama was a blip on an asterisk hidden inside a flash in the pan. As for Obama-worshiping “progressives,” their entire world view has now been discredited.
Start with the tax cuts themselves. Obama and Hillary Clinton railed against so called “trickle-down economics.” They claimed that America’s businesses hoard all the money in the U.S. economy and that it never reaches the middle class. Yet before Trump even signed the bill, AT&T announced year-end bonuses for 200,000 employees. The bonuses — $1,000 for each union employee, non-management employee, and front-line manager — are tied to the tax bill: Under the new tax code, AT&T is expected to save $28 million by handing out those bonuses, and it promised to do so over the holidays if Trump signed the bill by Christmas.
The inconvenient truth for liberals is that supply-side economics has worked every time it has been tried. Democrat President John F. Kennedy was an ardent supply-sider long before Reagan entered the White House. The George W. Bush supply-side tax cuts also worked. From a policy standpoint, the supply-siders have won. This victory is good for workers everywhere.
Also vitally important is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. This was a cruel Obama-era punishment for lower and middle-class American citizens who could not afford the absurdly high-priced insurance policies the Democrats were coercing them to buy.
Obama worshipers now insist that repealing the mandate does not repeal Obamacare. This is nonsense. The Obama administration itself argued before the Supreme Court that the mandate was the heart of the law. Now, Obamacare is dead. Americans will no longer be penalized for refusing to purchase the health insurance the government effectively ordered them to buy.
Liberals are now arguing that 13 million Americans will lose access to healthcare. What they refuse to admit is that most of these people are young and healthy individuals choosing not to buy insurance. Voluntarily refusing to spend money on a product is not the same as being deprived of it. The Obama goal was a march toward European-style single-payer -i.e., government controlled – healthcare. Trump stopped that runaway train in its tracks.
In another rejection of Obama, the new GOP tax reform legislation allows oil drilling in Alaska. Obama and liberals before him had effectively blocked Alaska oil drilling for decades. The Obama approach to energy policy was simply to block oil drilling everywhere. The only reason the North Dakota oil boom happened was because growth occurred on private land beyond Obama’s regulatory clutches.
Obama liberals sided with the abundant Alaska caribou. Trump sided with Alaska’s workers. What Trump’s EPA is doing administratively, the GOP tax law does legislatively: It reverses the heart of the ultra-left Obama-favored “environmental movement,” replacing heavy-handed regulation with free-market oriented solutions.
Obama made it crystal clear that his entire presidency would be devoted to his three priorities. He repeatedly emphasized what those three core values were: Healthcare, education, and the environment. On education, the former president never got to propose his trillion-dollar pre-school plan.
He achieved his nightmare healthcare scheme through dubious parliamentary and legislative tricks and invented unwanted environmental regulations via executive orders, with many of these likely unconstitutional and now repealed. Now that his healthcare and environmental policies have been reversed, there is literally nothing left for him to declare as a lasting achievement.
Perhaps Obama could still brag about his vaunted – and unilateral – Iran deal. Having already unconstitionally skirted the treaty-ratification duty of the legislature, Obama’s dubious, one-sided accord with Iran’s terrorist-sponsoring regime is being exposed as more and more corrupt by the day. As more and more Americans are finally learning, funneling $150 billion to Iran in the dead of night is not exactly a foreign policy record to crow about. Neither is being so desperate for a deal with Iran’s mad mullahs that the Obama administration now faces charges of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah’s Iran-sponsored terrorism.
Obama spent eight disastrous years hoping to become America’s first post-constitutional president. He bragged about having a pen and a phone, both of which he could use to bypass both Congress and the will of the American people. Now with one signature from Obama’s unexpected successor, Donald Trump, Republicans have gleefully told the former president where to stick that pen and phone. Obama is only now finding out that laws passed through legislative consensus have real staying power. Laws passed against the will of the people collapse.
The Obama presidency has been severely diminished. Built on a promise of generational liberal dominance, it is now quite clearly viewed as a disastrously failed experiment. The Obama legacy was not transformational. It was an absolute failure that once mocked the separation of powers and the will of the American majority. Now it has become a largely eradicated failure. There is nothing left.
On the other hand, after having eight long and painful years of two percent economic growth, the American economy under Trump has brought Americans a new era of over three percent growth solely by reversing Obama’s disastrous anti-growth policies. Even better, leftist activist Obama-appointed judges are now retiring and being replaced by President Trump with strict constitutionalist conservatives at a rapid clip.
Less than a year after Obama left the White House, there is not a single thing in eight years that his supporters can point to that resembles a notable achievement.
By signing the GOP tax reform legislation, President Trump has finally reduced Obama to what he always was: a man who used his personal but shallow likability to unilaterally impose his hard left policies on the American people who never wanted them.
Now those policies are gone, hopefully never to be seen again, at least in our lifetimes.
*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with ComicallyIncorrect.