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Trump’s victory lap on economy deserved, but his policies fall short
The president’s first State of the Union included a single hit — on the economy — and a lot of policy misses
President Donald Trump’s victory lap on the economy Tuesday night during his first State of the Union address was deserved.
Give him credit that despite the Russia scandal hanging over his administration and the instability rendered by his often angry and inaccurate tweets, he is at the helm of the nation at a time of record low unemployment and record high stock market prices.
These are not insignificant indications that the state of the union is strong, and Trump took his moment to highlight them before the nation and voters.
“This, in fact, is our new American moment,” Trump declared. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”
However, the president can’t claim all of the credit. America’s economy is growing amid a global economic recovery that began before he won the election in November 2016. That didn’t stop Trump from touting his role in the economy for at least half his speech.
While we are still direly concerned about the impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on the national debt and deficit, and skeptical about whether the wealth generated by the giveaway will trickle down, it is clear that it is spurring considerable investment and, in a few notable cases, increased wages for employees.
Private investment in our nation is overdue and welcome, but America also needs public investment in infrastructure. Trump called on Congress to pass a bill creating $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending, leveraging federal dollars against state, local and private spending.
“We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land,” Trump said. “And we will do it with American heart, American hands and American grit.”
That sounds great, and in line with Trump’s campaign promises.
But after spending more than $1.5 trillion on tax cuts, little remains to fund our entitlement programs, military and other government agencies, let alone unbudgeted and unfunded infrastructure needs without pushing the national debt under Trump to the brink of terrifying. A funding source is needed for infrastructure.
Trump’s economic achievements have been mired by his domestic policy decisions that have shown a shocking lack of compassion.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Arvada, planned to bring Viviana Andazola Marquez to the State of the Union to highlight just such cruel policies. Marquez, a U.S. citizen who was raised in Colorado, had her family torn apart two months ago when her father was deported.
“He learned English, he was paying taxes — doing everything right,” Perlmutter said of Andazola Marquez’s dad, Melecio Andazola Morales.
Trump highlighted his plan for immigration reform on Tuesday night and, despite his claims, it was far from a middle-of-the-road compromise.
Nothing more needs to be said of his time spent attacking those who came to America in pursuit of a better life than his cheap shot at undocumented childhood arrivals, known as Dreamers, many of whom were in the audience Tuesday night.
“My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American dream. Because Americans are dreamers, too,” Trump said.
Trump’s immigration remarks made his opening call for Republicans and Democrats to “set aside our differences, to seek common ground and to summon the unity we need” ring hollow.Content originally published by the Denver Post on January 30, 2018.