Right On: A tale of two presidents: Trump’s first year

Image courtesy Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — With apologies to Charles Dickens, it was the worst of years; it was the best of years.

I refer of course to President Donald Trump’s first year in office. You either loved him or you hated him. Few were neutral.

For many of us, his thin-skinned tweets responding to the slightest perceived insult showed pettiness and a lack of political maturity. His often bombastic pronouncements even when partly true were tinged with braggadocio unbecoming a president. His outright lies were inexcusable.

All that and more were repeatedly condemned by the liberal media but not without spreading its own share of lies. Media lies were usually a result of failing to perform that most basic responsibility of a free press: independent fact-checking through multiple sources.

The liberal media pounced on any anti-Trump rumor from even the most unreliable sources. Worse, the media almost never retracted its own lies nor did it apologize when exposed. Here’s a recent example posted by Pulitzer Prize-winner Glenn Greenwald.

If you thought 2017 was the worst of years, 2018 isn’t likely to be much better.

While Trump’s antics drew attention and media fireworks, real progress was made in accomplishing a conservative agenda. Indeed, it was the best of years when compared with decades past.

Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and nominated four times as many judges to appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, withdrew the country from the Paris climate accord and rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns and others to provide employees with contraceptives.

Judges who read the law, not the political tea leaves, may be his most lasting impact.

On the economic front, Trump rescinded a number of regulations with marginal benefits that hamstring business and cost the economy billions of dollars per year in compliance costs. With eight years of regulatory overreach disappearing, our economy started powering ahead last spring.

The Obama administration created a runaway regulatory state, stifling economic growth in the process. The Federal Register publishes new and proposed rules and regulations. In 2016 it totaled 95,894 pages, the highest level in its history and 19 percent higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.

Add to this the fact that Obama’s administrators, required to perform cost-benefit analyses on proposed regulations, consistently and often egregiously overestimated benefits and underestimated costs. Career bureaucrats know little about business costs.

Unraveling Obama’s massive over-the-top regulations didn’t happen by accident. Within 10 days of taking office, Trump directed federal agencies to reduce regulatory burdens by eliminating two existing regulations for each new one issued.

Agencies are now expected to regulate only when explicitly authorized by law. The Trump administration is fully complying with laws requiring public comment prior to issuing rules and regulations, a breath of fresh air after Obama’s eight years.

Little known but at the center of deregulation is Neomi Rao, Trump’s chief at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. All proposed regulations must cross her desk before approval.

She’s the one ensuring two regulations are rescinded for every new one. I’m happy to report she’s exceeding her goal: the Federal Register page count was down 35 percent in 2017.

Every Obama rule and regulation was intended to address a perceived or possible problem. As regulations are rescinded, liberal advocates will proclaim the end of Western civilization is near at hand. And their media water carriers will provide headlines amplifying impending doom.

We’ll see how many rescinded regulations actually result in major problems. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the world to end.

Trump’s first year will most likely be remembered for the first major tax reform in more than 30 years. Workers across the country can look forward to bigger paychecks in coming weeks and the stock market continues to reach new highs.

Walmart and Target responded with 10 percent increases in starting pay. Walmart is handing out bonuses of up to $1,000 based on seniority.

Apple announced that it is bringing back most of its overseas cash and will pay a tax bill of $38 billion in the process. It also announced plans to build a new campus, add 20,000 U.S. jobs, invest $30 billion in new capital spending and give each of its 123,000 employees a $2,500 bonus.

Over 200 companies have announced similar actions albeit on a smaller scale and the ball is just starting to roll. Holiday sales boomed, consumer confidence is at a 17-year high and unemployment is at a 17-year low.

The media will complain loudly when some companies use tax relief to increase dividends and stock buybacks. But competition will force most companies to make productivity-increasing investments and to lower domestic prices while leveling the playing field vis-à-vis their international competitors.

Liberals find themselves in the unenviable position of being “economy deniers.” Echoing Groucho Marx, Democratic politicians are saying, “Who are you going to believe, me or the increase in your take-home pay?”

The economy grew at a 2.1 percent annual rate over Obama’s eight years. In 2016, liberal economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times endorsed the Congressional Budget Office’s even lower forecast of 1.5 percent growth as the standard by which Hillary Clinton’s then-expected presidency should be judged.

Growth has averaged well over 3 percent in Trump’s first three quarters, all before the recent tax reform. The best is yet to come.

Trump’s personality and style have made it the worst of years. But for conservatives who prize results, it was the best of years.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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58 Comments

  • dons8120 January 25, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Your story is a typical right wing fluff job. You say the economy is growing thanks to Trump, but if you look at the numbers it has been growing each year since 2009, yet you say Obama was bad for the economy. As Trump would say “fake news”. You state that Wal-mart is raising wages and giving out bonuses, true, but you leave out how many jobs were lost to all the Sam Clubs they closed, which pays better than your average Wal-mart. You state that we are going to have more money in our pay checks, true to a point, but this will eventually go away. These changes aren’t permanent for the regular workers, but it is permanent for corporations. Why didn’t the new tax law change equally for businesses and regular tax payers? The answer is that they don’t care about the voters except on election years. Its a smoke screen to make the appearance that they care for us, but in reality they only care about making their donors and themselves richer. And the comment about not requiring contraceptives to employees is only an issue for christian beliefs about abstinence until married, which is so outdated. Do you really think not providing contraceptives will keep people from having sex before they are married? Teach your kids about sex and stop letting the internet do it for you. There is a reason Utah has a porn problem, its because people are naturally curious and the LDS church forbids sex before marriage. Right wing Christians are a dying breed and will soon be gone. Most Christians are really good people, but some of you are straight up nut jobs. Unfortunately they are the ones running the churches in Utah.

    • John January 25, 2018 at 9:28 am

      More left wing talking points right off CNN.. You want trying to win left wing nutcase of the day award again?..You better get some treatment before you run out of crayons..Hey delusional donny, your idiot is really showing with that post.!

      • tcrider January 25, 2018 at 9:57 am

        johnboy, you need another hit of your chewing tobbaco and
        go eat some more taterfrits before you start waving your
        confederate toilet paper

        • John January 25, 2018 at 10:44 am

          why? does my laughing at you snowflakes disturb you? GOOD !! WAAAAH WAAAH WAAAH! sore loser..,.

      • dons8120 January 25, 2018 at 10:45 am

        John, this conversation is between the adults, you keep working on your grammar and one day we will invite you to the adult table.

        • John January 25, 2018 at 7:54 pm

          So what are you doing here?

  • Yvonne January 25, 2018 at 9:26 am

    This article pretty much echo my sentiments. Yes, it’s been the best year economically and passing effective bills in a VERY long Time. And Yes, it’s been the worst when it comes to unbridaled tongues and tweets along with the media bashing on both sides. I see most headlines and pass reading because they are all an effort to de-edify the president, or one of the political parties left and right. They are largely filled with emotional rhetoric instead of legit information. Rarely are they helpful informative articles. Trump is an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth, but I am so grateful for his accomplishments and what he has passed this past year. While I am not a fan of his mouth, and childish tactics, I am a fan of his accomplishments.

    • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 10:04 am

      ^ This.

      I appreciate others being willing to admit successes while holding the office to a higher standard of conduct.

      Thank you.

  • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Howard,

    Once again you post a source that is inconsistent with your own claims. This is a trend with you. You state:

    “The liberal media pounced on any anti-Trump rumor from even the most unreliable sources. Worse, the media almost never retracted its own lies nor did it apologize when exposed. Here’s a recent example posted by Pulitzer Prize-winner Glenn Greenwald.”

    Yes, multiple organizations in the media have made reporting errors. But your claim about “almost never retracting” is laughable given your source story states:

    “Many hours after their story got exposed as false, the journalist who originally presented it, congressional reporter Manu Raju, finally posted a tweet noting the correction. CNN’s P.R. department then claimed that “multiple sources” had provided CNN with the false date. And Raju went on CNN, in muted tones, to note the correction”

    CNN’s own correction states:
    “CNN’s initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about Wikileaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources to CNN, was incorrect,” CNN said in a statement. “We have updated our story to include the correct date, and present the proper context for the timing of email.”

    Sloppy reporting? Yes. There have been moments media put the cart in front of the horse but the most common response has been correction or retraction. In fact, multiple employees have been publicly censured in the process.

    That is what folks with integrity do. Do you ever retract or admit the mistakes in your pieces, Howard? I have yet to see it. Now might be s good time to either admit you were wrong in such a failed allegation. In the past you responded by providing link that either failed to support your conclusions or actually undermined it. They often exposed your fundamental lack of education in the topics you discussed. As a columnist in media maybe its time to behave in a consistent way to the standards you hold others to. Just don’t be shocked when you are holding others feet to the fire that your flaws end up scorched as well.

    • Howard Sierer January 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

      CNN started a fire in a crowded theater and hours later admitted it, long after the news had been spread across the liberal media. You even quote the fact that the correction was made in “muted tones” long after its headlines had spread and been tweeted around the globe. The apology was noted by few if any of these fellow travelers.

      Here’s part of the same article you claim refutes Greenwald’s point and mine:

      “It’s hard to quantify exactly how many people were deceived — filled with false news and propaganda — by the CNN story. But thanks to Democratic-loyal journalists and operatives who decree every Trump-Russia claim to be true without seeing any evidence, it’s certainly safe to say that many hundreds of thousands of people, almost certainly millions, were exposed to these false claims.
      “Surely anyone who has any minimal concerns about journalistic accuracy — which would presumably include all the people who have spent the last year lamenting Fake News, propaganda, Twitter bots, and the like — would demand an accounting as to how a major U.S. media outlet ended up filling so many people’s brains with totally false news.”

      A “muted” apology long after starting a fire doesn’t cut the mustard.

      • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 10:51 am

        Then write your pieces accurately the first time. Its ironic that you make inaccurate claims while critiquing the exact same thing. You do see the unfortunate irony, correct? Instead of moving the goal post admit your claims were exaggerated and commit to doing better in the future.

        I am all for ethical reporting and know media had made mistakes this year; sometimes they have been egregious. But you should live up to the higher standard in your own pieces when calling that out.

      • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 11:19 am

        You’re doing just fine Howard. Keep up the factual journalism.
        You just have Kociela’s stooges raising some tantrums here.

      • John January 25, 2018 at 12:08 pm

        Howard, Great piece! bikeand fish has problems accepting the facts that don’t align with the mish mosh of fiction that is going on in her big head ! Keep em’ whining! Always fun to watch their heads explode..Just remember, if bikeandfish disagrees with you, you are on the right side..

        • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm

          Was Howard accurate in stating “media almost never retracted its own lies nor did it apologize when exposed.” No, his link to a “recent example” actually undermines his claim given they corrected their article within hours. Howard seems to agree with Griswald about it being underwhelming but nonetheless his claim about not correcting the mistake, per industry standards and ethics, is patently false.

          Folks are right to criticize such flawed reporting and its influence on the nation but even opinion columnist are supposed to represent facts to the best of their ability. Howard hasn’t multiple times. And instead of retracting or correcting such errors he stubbornly doubles down on the flaws. That not just ironic, given his claims here, but inconsistent with industry ethics.

          But I don’t expect you to respect that nuance given your own behavior on this forum, ie never admitting errors in the face of indisputable facts.

          • John January 25, 2018 at 5:33 pm

            BOO HOOO.. go cry where somebody gives a hoot ! You are so easy to trigger… you must be off your meds.. if your’e not maybe you should see s Dr easy to trigger…YES Howard was accurate.. but again that doesn’t fit what you want it to be.. waah waaah waaaah !

          • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 7:05 pm

            You are at least persistent in not understanding words and their definitions:

            Accurate: Adjective:
            (of information, measurements, statistics, etc.) correct in all details; exact.

            Keep digging your hole buddy.

          • John January 25, 2018 at 9:56 pm

            I’m not the one with my panties in a pucker all the time over stuff that didn’t happen…WAAH WAAAH WAAAH!! Need some lotion for all that chafing?

          • bikeandfish January 26, 2018 at 12:00 am

            You are kidding right?

            You spent an entire day throwing a tantrum about birther myths. Nothing screams irrational delusion like ignoring a hospital that has existed for 100 years.

            Don’t forget to yell Obama in all caps in your response.

          • John January 26, 2018 at 5:45 am

            waaaah waaaaah waaaaah! Nobody cares know-it all ! You need treatment..If you hold your breath long enough Trump won’t be president anymore….Keep chasing those unicorns…

          • bikeandfish January 26, 2018 at 1:01 pm

            Trying to piece together your insults:

            Am I suppose to draw the unicorns with my crayons?

            Are my puckered panties supposed to help me hold my breathe?

            Or are the panties the reason I’m chaffed?

            What medicine should I be using for treatment? And which of your euphemisms am I trying to cure again? There have been so many I’ve lost track.

            Thanks again for caring for imaginary health.

  • Steve January 25, 2018 at 10:07 am

    To greedy extremist conservatives, it’s all about the money. Howard Sierer proves it by writing about financial issues and ignoring the human cost of Republicanism. What a POS. BTW, I’m a democratic socialist and my stock portfolio made me a butt load last year. I just happen to care about what happens to poor people and minorities.

    • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Ugh, you do realize your ad hominem attacks and insults just perpetuate the cycle, right? Actually take the time to counter his ideas if you disagree with him. But calling him a “POS” is not only uncalled for but rather inconsistent with the core values of the progressive ideals you just associated yourself with. Howard can have sincere values different from yours but that doesn’t mean he is a “POS” who doesn’t care about the poor or minorities. What you just did is an example of left-leaning extremist rhetoric.

      • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

        Don’t waste your time with this moron. His logic rivals a plugged septic tank and displays lots of anger.
        Don’t really know how he made it through the birth canal without WD-40.

        • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 3:56 pm

          You’ve exhibit the same behaviors I criticized him for. I have no doubt you have sincere values and ideas beyond personal attacks; maybe share those.

          • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 6:07 pm

            …So much for being kind to a liberal.

          • bikeandfish January 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

            Kindness is only for those who agree with you? I disagree with many of your comments but actually kind in my reply and challenge.

            Not sure I fit the definition of a liberal.

        • John January 25, 2018 at 6:48 pm

          guns.. I don’t try any more, rest assured if they don’t agree with you about anything it means you are right and they just have their panties in a pucker because they aren’t getting their way…a bunch of spoiled disillusioned pre-schoolers….

  • John January 25, 2018 at 10:17 am

    oooh Howard, the left wing zombie know- it-alls are out again reciting what they read on cnn…liberal meat puppets will be liberal meat puppets.. listen to the crying.. sound like victory to me ! hahahaha!

    • Steve January 25, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      How old are you John? Your name calling and your stilted vocabulary indicate that you are of limited intellect.

      • John January 25, 2018 at 5:34 pm

        booo hoooo… need a coloring book?

  • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 10:40 am

    For me, my family, for my two sons serving in the military, for the two companies we own, for the two boards I serve on, for my friends and neighbors and my investments……
    Its been a great year.
    What’s the problem?

    • Steve January 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Gunboy, the problem is that you lack empathy and the ability to comprehend the suffering of others. As long as you’re doing well, to hell with the rest of humanity. Your conservative dogma is vile, pathetic and disgusting.

      • Utahguns January 25, 2018 at 2:42 pm

        Since you ass-u-me to know some things about me, your comment is just a toxic spill from the caboose.
        I’ll just take it as from an individual who has no grasp of the obvious.
        …..Oh, that must make me a “deplorable” as well.
        Dilly, dilly !

        It must be miserable being you.

        • John January 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm

          In other words Steve is a bleeding heart liberal and thinks supporting him and his ilk are your responsibility..I hate socialism too. I didn’t work hard my whole life just to share it with Stevie, But I did many years in the military protecting Stevie’s right to try to be a freeloader. Too bad nobody wants to support him.. hahahahaha!

          • jaybird January 25, 2018 at 8:54 pm

            In other words the toilet keeps bringing up everyone crying but him. The screws are turning on Trump, getting tighter and tighter and his die hard cult followers keep crying foul, all knowing deep down, Trump is guilty as hell. Face the facts. Trump is and always has been a crook stupid enough to hang himself.

  • dodgers January 26, 2018 at 5:37 am

    2017 was a GREAT year for our country, without a doubt. And it looks like 2018 will be the same.
    Huge improvements and some gains in draining the swamp. HOPE & CHANGE has finally arrived.

  • commonsense January 26, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Great piece Howard. No sane person loves Trump’s style but no sane person can deny Trump’s results. The left suffered an enormous butt hurt in 2016 and won’t get over it but history will show Trump to be as good at governing as he was at business.

  • bikeandfish January 26, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Interesting numbers from the Commerce Department today. They state the economy grew 2.3% in 2017 with a 2.6% growth in the final quarter. Interesting as that would mean the first three quarters could not have averaged above 3%. Its not mathematically possible. In fact, when you look at BEA data you see the first quarter was below 2% while the 2nd and 3rd were above 3%. Another factual error on Howard’s part.

    That is better than 2016 but worse than 2010, 2014 and 2015. Apples to apples comparison don’t seem to reflect the partisan narrative. We’ll all be happy with a healthy economy but be consistent in credit when its due.

    What happens to a CEO whose annual numbers are roughly 50% lower than their own target? The magic number everyone uses is 3% and Trump bragged about achieving 4%-5% during the election.

    Will we see Howard correct his errors (first 3 quarters), to be consistent with the standards by which he criticized media in general? Inquiring minds.

    • Howard Sierer January 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Trump’s first three quarters were the second, third and fourth quarters of calendar 2017. Obama owns the first quarter. Using the 4th quarter’s preliminary 2.6 percent, the first three quarters averaged 2.97 percent. I’ll stand by my “over 3 percent” when 4th quarter revisions are provided in future months.

      • bikeandfish January 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm

        There is a good argument for starting Trump’s GDP growth in the 2nd quarter. Nonetheless your comments aren’t factual:

        1) Your statement was “growth has averaged well over 3 percent in Trump’s first three quarters”. Nice attempt at cherry-picking your quote to eliminate the “well over” qualifier. I don’t see people cherry pick their own quotes too often.

        2) You made your remarks when the BEA 4th quarter statistics were embargoed. Industry median Q4 estimates in late December were 3% (CNBC nailed theirs with 2.6%). The only way you get well above 3% for a 3-quarter average would be to assume the most optimistic ranges for Q4 in the 4.4% range. That would be a rather sloppy assumption with inherent reporting bias.

        3) even if the revisions climb by this years average (.4-.5%-ish) that puts the 4th quarter between 3-3.1%. That’s a guess, as they could decrease, but the gain would still only equate to a 3.1% average at the highest for 3 quarters. Not “well above 3%” either.

        I’m fine with the quarter system you set but find it ironic given Trump claimed credit for economic gains since the election. I mean he and his supporters have claimed the Wallstreet run since Nov 9th. So there are clearly some inconsistent standards at best and outright hypocrisy at worst.

        At I still wonder what would happen to a CEO that came in at 66-77% of his stated goals? Is that good business? Oversell and under deliver.

        Interesting that you still won’t admit the error. You doubled down actually. Seems inconsistent with your criticisms of the media, to which you belong.

  • mctrialsguy January 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Howard, I do not always agree with you, but you are right-on this time. I look forward to another great year for all and can’t wait to see what a great president can do in this next year, we are on a roll….finally!! Also, John & Utahguns…thank you for having the sense to see through what the liberal media spews out!!

    • John January 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      I’ll take reality over the MSM soap opera crap any day.. Lots of drama queens all looking at the distractions..

  • ladybugavenger January 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Black Obama deports lots of illegals back to Mexico and the crowd is silent.

    White Trump talks about deportation of illegalls back to Mexico and the crowd roars RACIST!

    This must prove white people are racists 😁

    Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall!

    • bikeandfish January 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      “crowd is silent”? Not really.

      Article headlines:

      “Dems slam new wave of Obama deportations” (The Hill, May 13, 2016)

      “More Deportations Follow Minor Crimes, Records Show” (New York Times, 2014)

      He was widely mocked as the “Deporter in Chief” by immigrant rights advocates.

      A good write up at Politifact after Trump made a similar egregious claim as you:

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/21/donald-trump/trump-right-deportation-numbers-wrong-talks-about-/

      So many Trump voters made false claims about Obama’s policy on illegal immigration. I wonder if y’all will backtrack and applaud him since deported more illegal immigrants than any other President in history?

      • ladybugavenger January 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

        Goes to show I wasn’t watching the news. If you dont watch the news, life is sunshine and rainbows. But did they call him a racist?

        • bikeandfish January 27, 2018 at 9:36 am

          Not that I am aware. I’ve highlighted why we call Trump a racist and how its not simple about immigration policy in the other thread.

          • ladybugavenger January 28, 2018 at 6:26 am

            Nancy Pelosi is calling Trump Racist and saying trump is Making America White again solely based on immigration. She’s not bringing up anything else.

          • bikeandfish January 28, 2018 at 10:19 am

            LBA,

            When you read my comments on the other thread you will see that it is his statements on immigration that are racist. Look at the examples I provided. You have said you don’t pay as much attention to news so I think its fair to highlight you are missing part of the story.

            Immigration policy is inherently racist. Trumps statements and rational for his plans are racist.

          • ladybugavenger January 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm

            I don’t see it as racism. Like I said, my husband is a racist (he’s native American, everyone leaves them out of the race) . He hates everyone. Believe me, Trump is not racist.

          • ladybugavenger January 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm

            My husband hates everyone because y’all talk about race. White, black, Mexicans, Asians, and native americans ,are left.

            My poor baby feels left out. Like everyone forgot about him. It’s very sad, really

          • ladybugavenger January 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

            And with all that, my husband is the most loving, kind, considerate, funny husband a woman could ever ask for. I’m one lucky ladybug!

            P.S. people will call him racist and then I walk up and im all white and then they just laugh at him Haha! Everyone loves my baby! Keep’n it real

          • ladybugavenger January 28, 2018 at 12:40 pm

            I’ll give you an example: if we are watching tv and Hitler’s picture comes on the tube. My husband will say to me, there’s your relatives. If someone is speaking German, he will say, there’s your family…..I just laugh, cuz what can I say, my maiden name is frick’n German!

          • bikeandfish January 28, 2018 at 1:20 pm

            ugh, meant *immigration policy isn’t inherently racist.

            Sorry for mistake

  • John January 26, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    What’s your point Drama Queen ?

    • ladybugavenger January 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Did they call obama a racist?

      • John January 27, 2018 at 9:28 am

        Has nothing to do with this piece, so what’s your point, DRAMA QUEEN?

      • John January 27, 2018 at 9:48 am

        Sorry LBA.. your’e not the drama queen, she knows who she is.. Obama was the most racially divisive president in recent history.. Trump is not a racist, his real record proves that…If anyone called obama a racist , he earned it..

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