Archives‎ > ‎

State of the Union Bolstered by Tax Reform - February 2018

posted Feb 23, 2018, 6:38 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review
By William Christ '18

Continuing the constitutional duty of informing Congress of the state of the union, President Trump demonstrated that his first year in office was a resounding success. From his inauguration on January 20, 2017, President Trump has accomplished policies on every conservative’ wish list. According to Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank located in Washington D.C., the Trump presidency has accomplished a greater percentage of conservative policies than Ronald Reagan did in 1981. The administration’s policies of cutting costly regulations, nominating conservative jurists to lifelong court tenures, increasing military spending, and enacting a foreign policy aimed at asserting the will of America and its allies have been immensely successful. Since its passage in late December, the Republican tax cut has bolstered the national economy, causing economic optimism to skyrocket.

Contrary to the apocalyptic rhetoric about the tax bill used by Democratic politicians, emails sent by leaders in higher education to students, and media pundits, the tax bill is becoming a source of victory for the Grand Old Party. Back in December, party elder and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the tax breaks would only help the rich while stating that the only benefits received by the middle class would be “crumbs” compared to the rich. Disgraced former Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz expressed a similar sentiment to that of Leader Pelosi when she said that a thousand dollars does not go very far for people. I think college students and people struggling from paycheck to paycheck would appreciate an extra thousand dollars in their pockets. Initially, the apocalyptic rhetoric of ensuing economic doom expressed by the Democrats like Pelosi and Wasserman Schultz was successful in eliminating popular support for Republicans’ tax law. According to several polls conducted before the law was passed in December, nearly a third of Americans had negative opinions of the law. However, as the Democratic rhetoric subsided and reports of investment by companies were published, Americans slowly began to favor the law.

Since the Republicans passed tax reform in a partisan fashion, several companies have promised greater investment in their workers, charity, or technological advancements. As of January 14, a hundred and forty companies have given raises to their workers as a result of the tax bill passed in the first year of the Trump administration. Companies like Bank of America, Hostess Brands, and Disney have given benefits to their workers which will economically improve their life through raises and stock options. With corporations across America eagerly helping their workers, the economic condition of many people will continue to improve in 2018. As a result of these companies giving thousand dollar “crumbs” to their workers, the American people have swung their support to the law and the Republican Party in manner unprecedented in the Trump Presidency. Polling indicating American voters’ party preference gave the Democratic Party a double-digit advantage over Republicans. However, in recent weeks the same polling has seen the Democratic advantage slip to just a mid-single digit lead, which represents a strong Republican improvement. The combination of both Republican improvement within polling on the generic ballot and President Trump’s increasing poll numbers should raise some alarm for Democrats. While there are nine months until midterm elections and the Republicans are in defense, the Democrats should recognize that some of the political opponents' policies are popular among segments of the American public. As a result of the Democratic Party’s partisan opposition to the tax law, Americans across the nation recognize the Party which economically advanced their lives.

During the State of the Union, this message was refined as Americans, sitting in their living rooms across the country, saw the Democratic Party refuse to acknowledge the benefits of the law. Concerning African American employment, the economic policies of the current administration has made a modest increase, which should be celebrated. Admittedly, President Obama decreased African American unemployment more significantly than President Trump, but having African American unemployment at an all-time low should have elicited bipartisan cheers. However, it was recognizable that only the Republican half of the chamber applauded while the Democratic Party, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, simply sat there. Throughout his speech, President Trump called for and articulated policies which should have evoked bipartisan support and Congressional unity, but widespread opposition came from the Democratic half of the chamber. The lack of bipartisan intent could be fatal to the Democratic members of Congress. Polling taken after the State of the Union indicated that three-fourths of those polled supported the speech, with a significant percentage believing that Trump acted in a bipartisan manner.

Admittedly, there are nine months until midterm elections and the political climate will change substantially by then. Furthermore, conservatives and liberals alike argue that the lack of incoming revenue as a result of the lower taxes will lead to an increased national debt. Moreover, critics of deregulation assert that the economic advantages of slashing regulations fail to outweigh the health and environmental benefits.

Despite the causes for alarm, America’s immediate economic outlook appears prosperous. The tax cuts have emboldened companies to invest in their workers while also allowing those same workers to keep a larger portion of their hard-earned money. As the tax cuts continue to fuel a continually growing economy, Americans of all economic backgrounds will be affected positively. If the economic changes improve the condition of millions of Americans living in poverty, then there should be hope for bipartisan support for the policies that improved the state of the union.