Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has at last rolled her Sisyphean boulder of impeachment to the top of Capitol Hill. There it teeters, awaiting a flick of Mitch McConnell’s finger to send it careening back down, squashing every 2020 Democrat hopeful in its path. The Speaker is like a bank robber, who, holding a gun to her head, barks at the teller, “Hand over the loot or I’ll shoot!” It would be mildly entertaining theater if we weren’t paying for it.
But the puerile tantrum of impeachment isn’t the topic of relevant conversation across the kitchen tables and coffee shops of New Hampshire this morning. What is? Phase I of the China Trade Deal President Trump just signed.
For the first time, people are looking around our country at once-abandoned factories emptied by the catastrophic trade deals of the last thirty years and beginning to see our future through a new lens – factories full again, bustling again, prosperous again. The Trump economy already has pushed the stock market to new highs and unemployment to new historic lows. Blue-collar wages are, for the first time in a long time, rising faster than management’s payroll. What will happen when the China deal, the Canada and Mexico deal (USMCA), the Japan trade deal and the South Korea trade deal kick in? This is what people are asking this morning – when will Congress focus on what the people care about and pass all these Trump benefits that are ready to make America rich again?
What did Obama tell us manufacturing jobs were never coming back to the USA. And with Democrats in control in Washington, he was right. Left to him and the Swamp, they never would have. But Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor, says the China deal is bringing over $250 billion of revenue back to America, of which $75 billion is in manufacturing, $50 billion is in energy, $40 billion is in agriculture, and $40 billion is in financial services. President Trump knows what he’s doing. Obama hadn’t a clue.
Is the China deal perfect? No. Asked if it was fair, Kudlow said: “it’s fairer.” But it’s only Phase I, and both the President and the Chinese negotiating team agreed yesterday that Phase I was the hardest hurdle to leap. There will be squabbles, but the deal has enforcement mechanisms, real ones, that allow us to snap tariffs back on China that cheats. China cannot survive that. Against all the naysayers, President Trump had the vision and the guts to prove that we can win.
It’s hard to over-praise President Trump for this achievement. The deal was dead in the water last May. Yesterday China and the USA signed it. How did this happen? It happened because of the President’s leadership skills and his enlightened choice of negotiators like Robert Lighthizer and Larry Kudlow. But it happened for another reason.
This is the first President in a long time who looks at America like a CEO surveying his corporation. He saw three things wrong – overly burdensome regulations, punitive taxation, and lopsided trade deals. He moved quickly to improve the first two, and the economy is booming. Then he moved mountains to negotiate trade deals with our largest economic competitors – and he treated them like competitors in business, not with the usual diplomatic kid gloves. For all the anguish about his blunt speech and rash tweets, President Trump succeeded where his predecessors failed.
If Congress will get moving and pass the trade deals – and USMCA is twice as big as trade with China – imagine what a Golden Age America can have! Kudlow estimates that despite the hit the US economy will take over Boeing, USMCA will add at least one half to three-quarters of a point to our GDP, and the China deal will add at least another half-point. In 2020, he says, the American economy will be transitioning back to Trump’s original goal of 3% annual growth.
The President is already planning Tax Cut 2.0 for his second term, so it’s vital for America’s prosperity that he wins – which he will. What we need to ensure is that Republicans increase their majority in the Senate and take back the House so that all these seedlings in the Garden of Liberty can send down deep roots and bring forth enduring fruit.
Bill O’Brien is a former Speaker of the NH House of Representatives and a candidate for the U.S. Senate