Go­ing out with a whim­per

Barack Obama’s term ends as Don­ald Trump’s roars into sight

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Don­ald Lam­bro Don­ald Lam­bro is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and con­trib­u­tor to The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency is go­ing out with a whim­per and Don­ald Trump is com­ing in with a roar of eco­nomic ap­proval. Af­ter eight un­der­per­form­ing years of slug­gish eco­nomic growth and fright­en­ing, roller-coaster stock mar­kets, Wall Street sent a bullish mes­sage this week that the ane­mic econ­omy is about to end, years of busi­ness un­cer­tainty are over, and Amer­i­can pros­per­ity is be­ing re­born.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age and Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex shot up Wed­nes­day to their strong­est gains since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, hit­ting record highs.

His­toric gains were made across the na­tion’s mar­kets, in­clud­ing tech­nol­ogy, in­dus­tri­als, air­lines, rail­roads, the truck­ing in­dus­try, real es­tate com­pa­nies, and re­tail firms as well.

The mar­kets were al­ready ris­ing in fits and starts as the re­sult of Mr. Trump’s elec­tion. But as the pres­i­dent-elect has be­gun nom­i­nat­ing mem­bers of his Cabi­net and pre­par­ing for a new govern­ment to take over, a re­newed con­fi­dence has seized Wall Street, and over­seas mar­kets as well, that Amer­ica was open for busi­ness again, and the place to in­vest in the global econ­omy.

That was not only the mes­sage com­ing from the new in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, but also from Capi­tol Hill that will be putting to­gether the eco­nomic leg­is­la­tion needed to get Amer­ica mov­ing again.

Early Wed­nes­day morn­ing, House Speaker Paul Ryan went on CNBC’s busi­ness chan­nel to re­veal an ag­gres­sive pro-growth, pro-in­vest­ment, pro-jobs, tax re­form leg­is­la­tion that Congress will take up next year.

It’s a plan frustrated Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have been work­ing on for the past three to four years, only this time there will be some­one in the White House ready to sign it into law next year.

Af­ter eight years of eco­nomic lethargy un­der Pres­i­dent Obama’s fierce anti-tax cut, anti-growth and anti-wealth cre­ation poli­cies, the Democrats got what they deserved in Novem­ber: a po­lit­i­cal shel­lack­ing.

Although for­mer Demo­cratic pres­i­dents have shown that lower tax rates un­lock cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and lead to much stronger eco­nomic growth — John F. Kennedy ran on an across-the-board tax cuts and Bill Clin­ton cut cap­i­tal gains tax rates — their party still wor­ships at the al­tar of higher taxes.

I will never for­get a po­lit­i­cal gath­er­ing spon­sored by the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee in Wash­ing­ton dur­ing the 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign where the party’s can­di­dates pitched their agen­das to the party faith­ful.

One of them was Gov. Bill Richard­son of New Mex­ico who talked about how he had cut taxes in his state to build up its econ­omy and bet­ter com­pete with his neigh­bor­ing states where tax rates were much lower.

Mr. Richard­son was hissed by the Democrats who packed the room, and some booed him, just at the thought of tax cuts, no mat­ter how sen­si­ble.

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, was cheered, when it was his turn to ad­dress the gath­er­ing, sell­ing his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, and to de­vote nearly a tril­lion dol­lars on in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, just a Franklin D. Roo­sevelt had done dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion.

In the end, Mr. Obama’s “shovel ready” jobs agenda didn’t work much bet­ter than FDR’s make work pro­grams.

The De­pres­sion lasted 10 years un­til the war. The 2008 re­ces­sion lin­gered for years, with the econ­omy un­able to grow above 2 per­cent over the past eight years.

Ap­par­ently, lib­eral Democrats haven’t learned any­thing from the sorry eco­nomic record Mr. Obama is leav­ing be­hind.

House Democrats, who are glut­tons for pun­ish­ment, have reap­pointed Nancy Pelosi to another term as their leader, af­ter her party’s hu­mil­i­at­ing losses in the past three elec­tions. A quick scan of her re­sume shows she’s never ut­tered a dis­cour­ag­ing word about the Obama econ­omy.

In the Se­nate, Democrats have voted to pro­mote New York Sen. Charles Schumer to re­place re­tir­ing Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Mr. Schumer has been one of Mr. Obama’s stal­wart de­fend­ers as a down-the-line be­liever that rais­ing taxes is the cure to all of our eco­nomic ills.

Mean­time, while Mr. Trump con­tin­ues to put the fin­ish­ing touches on his White House staff and Cabi­net nom­i­nees, Repub­li­can lead­ers are fine-tun­ing the rest of their re­form agenda.

From here on out, the hard work of re­pair­ing the dam­age that Mr. Obama has in­flicted on our econ­omy will take place in Congress. And it is en­cour­ag­ing to hear, as Speaker Ryan said this week, that he has been talk­ing to Mr. Trump al­most ev­ery day lately. Co­or­di­nat­ing their work, set­ting pri­or­i­ties, and send­ing a mes­sage that both branches of govern­ment are mov­ing to­ward com­mon goals.

Speaker Ryan says that Oba­macare will be first on their to-do list, and he spent a fair amount of time de­tail­ing what needs to be done to throw out what’s bad in the so-called “Af­ford­able Care Act,” and why there needs to be a pe­riod of tran­si­tion to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble as changes are im­ple­mented over a pe­riod of years.

Sweep­ing tax re­forms will prob­a­bly be taken up by next spring, along with bud­get over­hauls in de­fense spend­ing and much else.

Some is­sues may take a lot longer to work out, and, as al­ways in the demo­cratic process, oth­ers may die for lack of a ma­jor­ity vote.

For ex­am­ple, don’t ex­pect any ma­jor leg­isla­tive changes on im­mi­gra­tion re­form any time soon, if it hap­pens at all.


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