Making America Great Again

by Kevin D. Freeman on January 13, 2020

In my 2014 book, Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack, we included a chapter on what America should do to protect our economy. There was an eight-step plan to “restore American greatness.” At the time, we were clearly losing the economic war as noted in this Blog.

Here is a recap of the 8 steps we identified:

  1. Recognize the global war we are in. [How can you win if you don’t know you are fighting? We have numerous advantages but have failed to focus on them.]
  2. Take reasonable precautions. [Essentially, shore up glaring weaknesses.]
  3. Get money moving without money printing. [This one speaks directly to the tax code. American corporations have trillions of dollars earned but trapped overseas. A good chunk of this money would come home with intelligent tax policy. And, on a net basis, it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime but would start our economy moving forward.]
  4. Achieve energy independence. [Every barrel of oil we produce is one we don’t have to buy from our enemies.]
  5. Reduce regulation. [We have strangled innovators. We need to make it easier, not harder for entrepreneurs.]
  6. A workable tax code. [We should not be 32nd in the world. Period.]
  7. Teach what America is all about. [Too much of our education system seems dedicated to denigrating the American experiment. We should at least balance that with a focus on the good America has done and can do in the world.]
  8. Return to our spiritual roots. [Quoting Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” If we know that our liberty is from God and not the state, we will fight to keep it as a divine gift. If we believe it from the state and not from God, then we may accept the state removing our liberty. ]

Guess what? President Trump used the phrase “Make America Great Again.” Sounds reasonably close to “restoring American greatness.” But as we go through our eight steps, it’s pretty obvious the Trump Administration has been following what we suggested, whether knowingly or unknowingly. He really does have a remarkable record in this regard over the past three years.

Regarding step #1, President Trump is the first President of my lifetime to recognize that we are already in an economic war with at least China. That’s huge. It should have been obvious. But it took Trump to acknowledge it at the Federal level.

Regarding step #2, it’s likewise obvious that we have begun to take some reasonable precautions. Case in point, we now have an Executive Order regarding the risks of EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse). We have covered these risks extensively in this Blog and in our books. Now the good news. The current National Defense Authorization Act has finally addressed the EMP concern as well! From the Washington Examiner (January 6, 2020):

Long met with eye-rolling, the growing threat of an EMP attack on the nation’s electric grid and military bases by Iran or other foes has suddenly gone mainstream following Trump’s March executive order to assess the risks of a man-made or natural EMP hit.

The latest evidence was in the just-passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which adopted Trump’s action and ordered the National Guard to draw up a plan to thwart disaster from an EMP.

And several states are moving even faster. Wyoming just produced its blueprint to respond to an EMP assault that could knock out electricity, water services, hospitals, ATMs, cellular phones, and even vehicles for months.

“These are big and very important results,” said Peter Pry, a longtime champion of EMP preparation and adviser to the White House and military. “Things are taking off. This is a significant change, in a positive way,” he told us.

Of course, EMP is just one area where we need reasonable precautions. But we are seeing some progress in other areas as well such as addressing Chinese incursion in our markets, hacking, and dollar threats. We have a ways to go but progress is clearly underway.

Regarding step #3, President Trump did a tremendous repatriation that has brought over $1 trillion back to the United States. This is exactly what we were hoping to see. Here is a comment from Bloomberg News less than a month ago (December 19, 2019):

“Corporations have brought back more than $1 trillion of overseas profits to the U.S. since Congress overhauled the international tax system and prodded companies to repatriate offshore funds, a report showed Thursday.”

That is a powerful boost to our economy.

Regarding step #4, our wildest hopes have been exceeded. We now exporting oil and gas, with domestic production coming much closer to covering our energy needs. This is huge. It allows us the strongest position we have had in the Middle East for decades as we are less dependent on others. It is true that we have been a net exporter of petroleum in recent months. But it is also true that we remain somewhat (albeit substantially less) reliant on foreign oil. Fortunately, most of our imports come from Canada. And, as the world’s largest oil producer, we are much better positioned to handle shocks like Iran’s attack on Saudi oil fields. And that is the main objective of energy independence. There are multiple Trump policies that have benefitted domestic oil production.

Regarding step #5, this is another area where the Trump teams has exceeded our expectations. The regulatory state has been rolled back as never before. We wrote extensively in this blog on how bad it had become. Now, dramatically so, things are improving. That is in complete contrast to the reg-happy Obama administration. In 2016 alone, new Obama-era regulations were put in place with the expectation they would drain $2 trillion from our economy per year. Now consider this from Epoch Times earlier this month (January 1, 2020):

“The Trump administration’s efforts to relieve American businesses of regulatory burden that can stifle economic growth have led to a year of record-breaking deregulation, while experts say there is more to be done. While the total number of pages of the Federal Register (pdf)—the ledger that lists government regulations—swelled to 72,564 pages by Dec. 31, the number of rules hit historic lows.

According to Clyde Wayne Crews, a regulation expert and policy vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Federal Register published 2,964 final rules. ‘This is the lowest count since records started being kept in the mid-1970s,” he wrote in Forbes‘It is a notable achievement that all three of the lowest-ever annual rule counts belong to Trump. This an even more significant development given that some of Trump’s ‘rules’ are rules written to get rid of or replace other rules,’ he noted.'”

Regarding step #6, the Trump team did enact tax reform and lowered the corporate tax to make us more competitive. It also put money in middle class pockets. It helped wage growth. These are huge wins. And they are no doubt part of the economic strength we have enjoyed. But there is more that should be done. The remaining code is far too complex. Overall, we took a good step in the right direction, but a better tax code is sorely needed.

Regarding step #7, we have not made nearly enough progress. Many young people almost revere socialism and hate the founders. This is very sad. The problem is that our education system is dominated by leftists. From Campus Reform on January 10, 2020:

“Over a third of young Americans do not believe that the United States is the greatest country in the world. In a recent Pew Research poll, 47 percent of Democrat and Democrat-leaning Americans between the ages of 19-29 prefer other countries over the U.S, while 19 percent of Republicans within the same age group agree. The poll also showed that 36 percent of this age group say other countries are greater than the U.S. The survey was conducted as part of a larger study by the Pew Research Center in September about partisanship as ‘the dividing line in the American public’s political attitudes.’”

We have discussed the need for education reform. It is essential to preserving our liberty.

Regarding step #8, President Trump has made some positive strides in promoting religious liberty. From The Heritage Foundation in October of last year:

“Freedom of conscience is one of the most fundamental rights individuals have in the United States, guaranteed by the First Amendment. Understanding this, the Trump Administration has prioritized religious liberty as one of its paramount issues. In May of last year, President Trump signed an executive order creating the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, with the goal of ensuring that faith-based and community organizations, which form the bedrock of our society, have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government. This hasn’t just been lip service. Throughout the federal government, agencies have enacted policies and litigation strategies to protect religious freedom. Join us for a discussion with three key administration officials from the Department of Justice, Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services, as they discuss what their agencies are doing to champion religious liberty.”

This has been a “day one” agenda item for the President who said:

It seems obvious that the eight steps we outlined have been taken seriously (although we can’t take the credit for anything more than identifying and pushing for them). We believe America is stronger as a result.

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While I was drafting this blog, the Conservative Action Project released a memo signed by well over 100 conservative leaders (including me). I am reproducing it here because it really does bring home the advances of the previous three years.

THANK YOU PRESIDENT TRUMP

 

 

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