The first hundred-and-one days of the Trump administration have swiftly changed the political conversation from the previous administration’s new normal of slow growth, climate change and strategic patience into a raucous argument about America’s ambitions for growth, energy and national security.
The growth story is most of what the Republican Party is roaring about.
The administration has now unveiled an aggressive tax reform that will use supply-side economics to accelerate the GDP to three percent while creating jobs and opportunities for American businesses.
There were doubts as late as last week that the administration might pull back from a bold business tax cut from 35 percent to 15 percent. But then Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the leader of supply-side in the Cabinet, joined former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, to pronounce big dreams for a comprehensive tax cut by the end of this year.
"We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive,” Cohn explained at the White House press conference. “And we're going to cut taxes for the American people, especially low- and middle-income families.”
“The President is determined to unleash economic growth for businesses,” Mnuchin added. “This is not just about large corporations. Small and medium-size businesses will be eligible for the business rate as well.”
On Thursday, Steve Moore of the Heritage Foundation, one of the authors of the business tax cut portion of the Trump tax reform measures, explained to me why this tax cut is such a winner for the modest wage-earners who voted for Trump. “When you cut the corporate and business tax rate, the Congressional Budget Office, which is not a conservative outfit, says that 70% of that tax cut goes to the workers.”
Energy is another large ambition for the new administration. Approving the construction of Keystone Pipeline XL and the Dakota Access pipelines was easy for the president, as was opening the coastal Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans to exploration by reversing a last-moment maneuver by the previous administration.
The more comprehensive Trump goal in energy is confronting the EPA’s byzantine regulations, some of which, such as the anti-fossil fuel Clean Power Plan, were created recently in order to soothe partisan fears. Trump has called that plan “stupid” – chiefly because it is weighed as impractical. EPA Director Scott Pruitt is under orders to dismantle the never-implemented mandates, a process that could take years of court tangles.
More immediately in energy policy, Pruitt has decried the Paris climate accord of 2015 as “a bad business deal.” Rather, Pruitt points toward growth for American technology: “(W)hat we should be talking about is how we export innovation, how we export technology that we’ve already deployed here to places like China and India…”
The riskiest success for the president in the last months is that the US has stopped the retreat from hostiles and started to reclaim redoubts around the planet.
On April 6, 2017, Trump stunned his guests at Mar-a-Lago, including President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, by ordering U.S. Navy cruise missiles fired at Bashar al-Assad’s Air Force.
The 59 shots were heard 'round the world. In Moscow, a cautious President Vladimir Putin scolded the US for intimidating the Kremlin’s ally, Syria, and then softly advised Trump not to repeat the attack.
In Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei and his military dictatorship of the IRGC were shocked into a rare moment of silence. Since then, Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has warned Iran that its malevolence is unacceptable – and that the unsigned Iran deal of 2015 will no longer shield the Islamic Republic from American authority.
In Pyongyang, the demonic Kim Jong-un has shown the most fear of the cruise missiles. The DPRK’s scramble for a sixth nuclear weapon test, the repeated firing of the first-stages of ICBMs, the live fire exercise of long-range artillery, the threats to launch WMD, all these point to profound panic in the regime.
Trump’s deployment of major warships, including the unstoppable USS Michigan SSGN, has not only rocked Pyongyang but also Beijing. For now, there are reports that the PRC is mobilizing significant combat elements to be ready in the event of a Kim collapse.
U.S. national security positives also extend to the reports of mass flight of ISIS cutthroats from Mosul and Raqqa. The Trump administration has a long campaign ahead to solve the jihadist threat to the homeland; however Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s delusion of a territorial caliphate has been bombed onto the ash heap of history.
The Trump administration’s demonstrated plans for growth, energy and security are certain strengths that both can maintain the Republican Party control of Congress in 2018 and can establish a foundation for Trump’s re-election in 2020.
What is also striking is that none of the trio requires a single Democratic vote in the next two years. The first 100 days, like the next 553 to the midterms, are entirely in the hands of the chest-thumpers of the GOP.
Perhaps only longtime Republicans will appreciate the jest that the blame-shifting tool is not available.