Right On: 2017 in review: Hits and misses

Image courtesy Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — You win some, you lose some, but you have to suit up for them all. Words of wisdom from my college basketball coach father-in-law.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the year’s controversial topics and how my opinions stacked up.

Bear’s Ears

I accused Obama of gross overreach in designating 2,112 square miles of southeastern Utah as a national monument when the Antiquities Act requires that such designations “shall be confined to the smallest area.”

Never one to be constrained by legal niceties, Obama also ignored laws that required environmental review and public comment.

Nonetheless, I recommended that Trump leave Bears Ears as designated and instead focus on amending the Antiquities Act to require Congressional approval of future national monuments. He didn’t listen and with everything else on Congress’ plate, I’m not sure it will get around to fixing the act.

Executive orders

I was on target in pointing out that Obama’s extensive – and often unlawful – use of executive orders handed Trump a loaded gun.

Trump has used it regularly. His most controversial order temporarily barred refugees from seven terror-prone countries. Liberals protested and two liberal judges declared the order unconstitutional.

Trump’s second try at a refugee order was validated by a 7-2 Supreme Court vote. Sorry liberals, left wing judges don’t make foreign policy.

But I asked the question, are we safer? I’m sad to say I was right on this one: We’re not. Terrorists struck the country four times this fall. All were committed by persons here legally for years.


Thanks to former Sen. Harry Reid, senate Democrats did away with the filibuster as a tool for the minority party to stall most presidential nominations.

Sen. Mitch McConnell one-upped him by doing away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees as well and ushered Neil Gorsuch onto the court.

We’re in a new era where the majority party does largely what it pleases. That is until the pendulum swings back – and it always does – whereupon many previous accomplishments will be undone by the new majority.

Fasten your seat belts.

Lake Powell pipeline

Government machinery is rolling along toward approving the Lake Powell pipeline, my opposition notwithstanding.

Who can argue against putting the final decision up to Washington County voters?

The answer: Only those with a vested interest in real estate development and who fear a “no” vote.


As an ardent supporter of legal immigration, I wondered whether Republicans would fail illegal immigrants called “Dreamers.” Dreamers were brought here as children and know no other country.

Unlike Obama, Trump has put the onus on Congress where it belongs. He says he will defer deporting Dreamers as illegal aliens until March giving Congress time to act.

My opinion was that dysfunctional Republicans might fail the Dreamers. If Republicans do manage to get their act together, it will likely be at the last minute.

Trump — a party of one

It took tax reform to bring Trump and congressional Republicans together. Why am I not surprised?

Trump continues to play to his base with incessant and often ill-considered tweets. His tweets drive would-be allies to distraction in Congress and across the country.

Trump may have been the only Republican who could have beaten Hillary Clinton but despite some significant achievements, he’s squandering his chance for greater accomplishments.

If he continues and the economy isn’t still booming in 2020, he’ll join the hapless Jimmy Carter as a one-term president.

The FBI and the Clinton campaign

What goes around comes around for both Hillary Clinton and the FBI. One observer noted that in 2016 it was hard to tell where the Clinton campaign ended and the FBI began.

Far more damning evidence has come to light about Hillary’s self-dealing in the Russian Uranium One affair and the Fusion GPS dossier than exists for Trump-Russian collusion.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s credibility continues to shrink as revelations about his team’s biases and connections to both Uranium One and Fusion GPS come to light.

This story will continue to unfold in the coming year. I’ll stand by my opinions.

Tax cuts

Republicans reformed income taxes but ignored almost all my advice about deductions.

Republicans retained both the second home mortgage interest deduction and the professional sports stadium bond interest deduction. They limited but did not eliminate deductions for state and local taxes. I argued against all three as subsidies for the wealthy.

Compared to the Obama years, boom times started this year with Trump’s aggressive deregulation unleashing business investments. With tax reform, growth prospects are even better in the coming year.

Republicans better hope so. Their 2018 election prospects now ride almost exclusively on the economy. As an old proverb reminds us, there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip.

As to be expected, I won some and lost some in 2017. For better or worse, I’ll continue to suit up for them all in 2018.

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: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • statusquo December 28, 2017 at 7:22 am

    This is the problem with our country. A recap of 2017 is nothing but politics. Could there possibly be anything better to report on than politics? Even my favorite sports magazines have fallen into the trap of feeling they need to be concerned about global warming and such. I say eat, drink and be merry.

  • commonsense December 28, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    In my view, productive America is feeling a resurgence of hope and energy. It’s not just the economy which is the best in generations but it’s jobs. Everyone has a job who is willing to work and they will keep more of their hard earned money. This is so empowering to families.

    Yes, recent terrorists are citizens but under current immigration enforcement, they probably wouldn’t be. I think the country is safer. Police are supported and sacturary of criminals is under attack.

    Making America great again doesn’t sit well with the global socialists among us. They will never like Trump and will resist everything he proposes. The magnitude of the resistance by the left is reminiscent of the Confederacy against Lincoln, so much emotion when your power is eroding.

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