Reviving the economy after the Great Recession. This was done but the recovery has been unnecessarily slow with annual growth averaging just 2% of GDP ever since June 2009. In fact, stagnant middle-class and especially blue-collar incomes are the reason Donald Trump eked out a victory over Hillary Clinton.
A giant step towards national healthcare. Even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, its replacement will be much more universal than before. Unfortunately, however, the ACA increases access but does nothing to control the cost of healthcare (now 18% of GDP) which continues its steady rise. This is what has to change.
A global pact to combat climate change. Global warming is real but our response should be more circumspect. China has only pledged to reduce carbon emissions after 2030. India has 300 million people off the electric grid. It also has an abundant supply of coal. Heroic efforts by the developed world alone will have little effect on worldwide C02 levels.
A rash of new financial and environmental regulations. Both Dodd-Frank and new EPA regulations have contributed significantly to the economic slowdown which is why they are likely to be modified by the Trump Administration and Congress.
The Iran nuclear deal. The problem here is what will happen when the 10 – 15 year deal expires. Iran then will have a green light to develop nuclear weapons unless China and Russia agree to new sanctions which is unlikely.
American retreat from superpower status. Obama deposed a dictator in Libya but walked away from the aftermath. His premature decision to leave Iraq allowed ISIS to spring up. He let the civil war in Syria run out of control. A “reset” with Russia did nothing to prevent Putin from invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea.
“Family leave, child care, workplace flexibility, a decent wage – these are not frills – they are basic needs.”
“There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. And that is us. And that is not the list you want to be on by your lonesome.”
“We need you to tell Congress, don’t talk about how you support families: actually support families.”
The economic journalist, Robert Samuelson, pointed out in the Washington Post a few days ago, ”The Jobs Mystery”, that even though our unemployment rate has now dropped to 6.3%, there are still 9.8 million officially unemployed people, plus an additional 7 million who would like a job but are not looking. There are also 7.3 million part-time workers who would like longer hours. This gives a really quite shocking total of 24.1 million unemployed or underemployed workers.
Granted we had a bad recession which was not the President’s fault, but it ended in June 2009, a full five years ago. In the meantime his administration has done much to retard economic growth (passing ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank Act) and little, besides huge deficit spending, to boost it. He and the Democratic Party should be held responsible for this neglect and they probably will be.
One thing which would do a lot to boost economic growth is apparently contrary to liberal ideology and therefore off the discussion table. I am referring to fundamental, broad-based tax reform whereby individual tax rates would be lowered across the board, but in a revenue neutral manner, by closing or greatly shrinking the loopholes and deductions which primarily benefit the wealthy. The two-thirds of Americans who do not itemize their tax deductions would get a big boost in take home pay. Since they are primarily middle and lower income workers whose wages have been stagnant since the recession began, they will tend to spend this extra income, thereby giving the economy a big boost.
If the President were to sincerely ask the House Republican leadership to work with the Democratic Party to boost economic growth, something along this line could be acted upon. This is the way to really aid families. Why doesn’t he do it?