Judd Gregg: Some pretty good tidings

Greg Nash

If one follows the national media, it is reasonable to presume that the sky is falling; that President Trump is crazy or worse; and that the Republican Congress is a backwater of unrepentant misanthropes.

But if you take away the hyperbole, the juvenile reactive language and the occasional reckless policy foray, this last year has not been all that bad from a conservative standpoint.

It could, of course, have been a great deal better if not for the erratic nature of the president and the Republican rank and file in Congress. Still, there is considerable good news under their heap of self-inflicted turmoil.

{mosads}As we wrap up the year, let us note the following good news for people who want our nation to be governed in a manner that encourages individuals to succeed, our security to be strengthened and our culture to be revitalized.


First, there is the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.  

He brings to the court the thoughtful and compelling conservative judicial views that many of us believed may have been lost with the unfortunate passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

It is also worth emphasizing that Justice Gorsuch’s appointment was accomplished because of the guile of Senate Republicans, specifically Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

Second is the manning of the cabinet by some of the most talented and purposeful people to serve in recent memory.

These are people who know how to lead complex organizations and will deliver effective governance even in the absence of legislative progress — or, for that matter, coherent presidential guidance.

Under President Obama, over 23,000 regulations were instituted. The vast majority of these rules were written by people who distrust Americans to lead their own lives and build their own businesses without direction from the non-elected elite in Washington.  

These regulations have often inflicted a heavy and counter-productive burden on America’s economy. Collectively, they are one reason we saw such anemic economic growth during the Obama years.

The process of rolling back or at least muting the negative economic effect of this Obama regulatory tsunami has begun, largely because of the strength of the cabinet members who have assumed leadership of the various federal agencies.

Trump deserves credit for bringing these effective individuals into the government. They are returning some semblance of balance to the regulatory landscape. 

This, again, is good news.

Third, the passage of long overdue corporate tax reform is another reason to lift your spirits — especially if you believe in reenergizing our market economy and making it more viable in the face of global competition.  

The credit for this goes in large part to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who has for years carried the torch of growth through tax reform. 

One wishes Republicans had done as good a job on the individual tax side. That said, significant benefits will come from the corporate changes, which are vibrant, and will have a pervasive, positive impact, including generating broad economic activity on Main Street America.

Fourth, because of regulatory relief and corporate tax reform, it is likely that the years of one to two percent economic growth under President Obama, which were deemed to be the path of the future, will be assigned to the trash heap of economic liberalism where they belong.  

Conservatives should look on it as considerable glad tidings that the nation is well on the road to legitimate economic growth, in the ballpark of three percent annually.

This rate of growth will mean jobs, increased wages and more opportunity for many Americans. It is good news.

There are still many fires burning in the foothills of Washington. They include difficult debates over trade, immigration, national defense, the debt and deficits. There is reason to be concerned about the unpredictability of international events and the risk of potential crises.

There is also the fact that, for reasons that escape those who subscribe to logic, the president continues to step on his good deeds with tweets that are tinged with bad tidings.

We can only ask — probably without much likelihood of success — that in this season of hope he will be visited by the ghosts of good presidents past who will give him some useful guidance about getting out of one’s own way.

In any event, as the nation and our people head into a new year there is always the anticipation of better times. 

This positive anticipation is one of the inherent qualities of our resilient and extraordinary people.   

With that spirit, conservatives can look forward, taking solace that some progress has occurred this year, and resolve on New Year’s Eve to do more and do it better in 2018.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Tags Donald Trump Economic growth Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan Regulation Supreme Court

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