by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Beneath the surface, obscured by the glaring neon of the president’s exchanges with news media and with other forces determined to degrade our political culture further, is a steady record of conservative accomplishments. These are boosting the economy and paring government back a little closer to its proper size. They are also giving heartburn to anyone on the Left capable of peeling their eyes away from fantasies about a Trumpian conspiracy with Russia.
The headline achievements are still the appointment of a conservative justice to the Supreme Court and the passage of a tax reform bill that is plowing corporate money into investment that previously went to tax avoidance. But Trump is also wrestling trade concessions from China with protectionist rhetoric that we, we admit, opposed, and prizing open that vast market to an unprecedented extent for American automakers.
Meanwhile, on deregulation, Trump has achieved far more than most people realize, doing better than his campaign promise to eliminate two regulations for every new one regulation created. How much better depends on how you measure it, and ranges up to 20-to-1. The important thing is not the number, though, but the burden he is lifting from the economy without major sacrifices of health or safety.
Last year was reportedly the first on record to end with fewer federal regulations on the books than there were at the beginning of January. The repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan alone liberated $7.2 billion in annual costs for energy consumers.