Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration I thought that the true test of the Trump administration will be on how much it could deliver. If President Trump could just deliver on a third of his promises, it would be a successful presidency. Batting .333 is good in any league. I hoped that commentators would begin to focus on what the Trump administration actually does, and not what Donald Trump had done in his past or what they fear he will do in the future.
Little did I realize how hard it would be to find out what the Trump administration has actually accomplished. The President’s constant battles with the mainstream media, unprecedented obstruction on the part of the Democrat opposition, and the never-ending Mueller probe of Russian collusion and anything else it can dig up have obscured the real achievements of the last 18 months.
For example, a few months ago surveys showed that “consumer confidence” in this country had approached an all-time high. Consumer confidence is an economic indicator that indicates that rising incomes are encouraging people to spend and save. Nevertheless, the media outlets I follow hardly mentioned this good sign and certainly did not attribute it to the president or his policies.
I did read that lame duck Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut attributed the rising consumer confidence in his state to his own measures despite the fact that he has one of the lowest approval ratings of any governor in the country. Malloy could not bring himself to give President Trump the least bit of credit for the rise in consumer confidence even though the President’s approval rating is close to 50 percent.
The other day I watched a former director of the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) give an interview on the CNBC show “The Closing Bell.” He was asked his opinion of President Trump’s recent criticism of the Fed. He expressed puzzlement over the President’s remarks, and said that Fed officials should just ignore them. He was obviously not a Trump partisan.
Nevertheless, he did give the President a lot of credit for the current state of the economy which most commentators agree is booming. He argued that the tax reform legislation and deregulation measures pushed by the Trump administration were the two biggest drivers of the booming economy. In addition, he argued that the President was correct in his tough trade position with China which has continually refused to abide by prior trade agreements and rules.
Maybe the President and his administration do not deserve all the credit for the booming economy and the rise in consumer confidence, but any impartial person would have to admit that President Trump would have been given all the blame if things had gone in the opposite direction. In other words, if the stock market were to correct after reaching all- time highs this summer, President Trump will certainly be given all the blame.
We have to remember that just 18 months ago the political opposition and mainstream media were predicting doom for the country and the world. Only grudgingly have they been forced to admit some progress.
Earlier this summer U.S. Rep. James Himes, D-4th District, my representative in Congress, informed his constituents of the passage of a bill that he had sponsored to protect senior citizens from fraud and abuse. Himes is no friend of President Trump but he did note that the President signed this bill into law. He told his constituents:
You will be glad to hear that President Trump signed the Senior Safe Act into law this past May after it passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support. As states begin administering these important protections, be assured that I will continue looking for more ways to defend seniors from deceit and injustice.
Earlier in the year Himes also had to admit that there were many good features in the huge budget bill that the President approved with bipartisan support. Recently a bipartisan defense appropriation bill was also promoted and approved by the President.
Measures like the above are just the tip of the iceberg, but they and other accomplishments are largely going unreported. The national and local media complain the President Trump is attacking freedom of the press, but in actuality the press in this country has long ago enslaved itself to ideology and money.
Here is one final example of how the media have obscured some real achievements. A little noticed feature of the tax reform bill of 2017 eliminated the income tax credit for undocumented and illegal children, a measure that would save the Treasury billions. As usual, the media screamed that this measure was robbing the poorest of the poor to benefit the rich.
In reality, the income tax credit for illegal immigrant children had turned into a scam of massive proportions. People with earnings in this country but without Social Security numbers were still required to file tax returns. These tax returns listed numerous child dependents but many of these dependents did not even reside in the country. One return showed nine nieces and nephews with only one actually residing in the USA. The billions funneled out of the Treasury in this tax credit scheme did not necessarily go to poor children. Much of it might have ended up in the hands of drug lords or gangs.
You only have to do a YouTube search for “Illegal aliens claim Billions…” to see the extent of this problem that now appears to have been fixed.
Francis P. DeStefano, Ph.D., of Fairfield, is a writer, lecturer, historian and retired financial planner.