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Andy Puzder’s WSJ op-ed questions whether President Obama should take credit for the Trump Bump. In his op-ed, Puzder wrote “In 2010 the Obama White House forecast gross domestic product growth would ‘accelerate in 2011 to 3.8%’ and ‘exceed 4% per year in 2012-2014,’ consistent with the 4.3% growth rate in the other 10 recoveries since World War II. That never happened. Actual post-recession growth averaged an anemic 2.1%. And Mr. Obama’s last year in office saw measly 1.5% GDP growth—hardly the springboard to our current expansion.”

While Mr. Puzder’s GDP figures tell the story that economic growth during the Obama administration was anemic, that’s only part of the story. Besides tepid economic growth during the Obama administration, another hallmark of the administration’s economic record was wage stagnation. It’s difficult to argue that the wage increases that we’re seeing now are because of President Obama’s policies. Simply put, wages didn’t start increasing until after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed and long after the Trump administration cut regulations.

Further, the fact that the administration said that GDP “growth would ‘accelerate in 2011 to 3.8%’ and ‘exceed 4% per year in 2012-2014′” indicates that these figures were either made up or that the forecasters were utterly incompetent. At this point, I’m leaning towards the figures were made up.

Austan Goolsbee has called Mr. Trump’s growth goals unrealistic. In May Larry Summers declared that accepting the Trump administration’s forecast of 3% GDP growth was like believing “in tooth fairies.”

Call me foolish but I think that 3% GDP has nothing to do with tooth fairies. It just requires the right policies. This is what happens when the right policies are put in place:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working full time increased by 2.4 million in 2017, compared with only 1.6 million in 2016. In other words, the overall number of jobs added was lower in 2017, but only because hundreds of thousands of people left part-time for full-time jobs.

Wages are up, too. The CEOs that are announcing these wage increases are attributing them directly to the Trump tax cuts. How can the Obama administration take credit to wage increases that happened because of a tax bill that President Obama hates?

Finally, there’s this information:

Both 2016 and 2017 set some year-end records. In 2016, BLS recorded the highest number of people working part time at year’s end since it began recording the data in 1968. In 2017, it recorded the highest number of people working full time at year’s end since 1968 and the fewest working part-time since 2011.

The good news is that President Trump’s policies are working beautifully. He’s unleashed the economy’s animal spirits. Don’t take my word on that. Just ask Art Laffer:

Spoken like a true cookie cutter Democrat, last Friday night, newly minted U.S. Senator Tina Smith said that she’s opposed to building the wall, saying that “the wall is just a dumb idea”, adding that “most people don’t think it’s a good idea.” It’s good to know that Democrats think it’s smart to set national security policy based on public opinion rather than on what works.

I’d love hearing Democrats explain why they’re opposed to the wall after people read this article about El Paso. In the article, it says “Tell that to the residents of El Paso, Texas. Federal data show a far-less imposing wall than the one Trump envisions — a two-story corrugated metal fence first erected under the Bush administration — already has dramatically curtailed both illegal border crossings and crime in Texas’ sixth-largest city, which borders the high-crime Mexican city of Juarez. In fact, the number of deportable illegal immigrants located by the US Border Patrol plummeted by more than 89 percent over the five-year period during which the controversial new fence was built, according to Homeland Security data reviewed by me. When the project first started in 2006, illegal crossings totaled 122,261, but by 2010, when the 131-mile fence was completed from one end of El Paso out into the New Mexico desert, immigrant crossings shrank to just 12,251.”

In other words, a wall has already significantly reduced illegal border crossings in El Paso. That isn’t the only benefit of building the wall:

And crime abated with the reduced human traffic from Juarez, considered one of the most dangerous places in the world due to drug-cartel violence, helping El Paso become one of the safest large cities in America.

Let’s summarize. The wall in El Paso dramatically reduced illegal border crossings and it helped reduce drug-related crime, too. Let’s hear Democrats explain their opposition to something that dramatically reduces illegal border crossings and drug-related crimes.

Before 2010, federal data show the border city was mired in violent crime and drug smuggling, thanks in large part to illicit activities spilling over from the Mexican side. Once the fence went up, however, things changed almost overnight. El Paso since then has consistently topped rankings for cities of 500,000 residents or more with low crime rates, based on FBI-collected statistics.

Democrats opposed to the wall need to explain why they’re opposed to stopping violent crime and drug smuggling.

Another core promise made by Trump to justify constructing a massive wall spanning from Texas to California is that it will slow the flow of drugs coming across the border from Mexico. “We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety,” Trump said last week while answering questions about the sweeping new GOP immigration bill. “We need the wall for stopping the drugs from pouring in.”
On that score, El Paso already has exceeded expectations.

Drug smuggling along that border entry point has also fallen dramatically. In fact, since the fence was completed, the volume of marijuana and cocaine coming through El Paso and seized by Border Patrol agents has been cut in half. The year before the wall was fully built in 2010, the volume of illegal drugs confiscated by the feds along the El Paso border hit 87,725 pounds. The year after, the amount of drug seizures plummeted to 43,783 pounds. Last year, they dropped even further to a total of 34,329, according to Border Patrol reports obtained by The Post.

Obama, Schumer and Feinstein all voted for building a wall in 2006:

I don’t doubt that Democrats will insist that things have changed since 2006. That’s true. Since then, large portions of the wall have been built. The FBI and ICE have had time to accumulate crime data. Since those sections of walls were built, illegal crossings have dropped, illegal drug confiscation has significantly increased and crime has dropped.

In other words, we now have proof that walls work. This isn’t theory anymore.

Sean Davis’s op-ed about the 10 undercovered stories of 2017 reminded me of the different approach taken towards ISIS. In a speech to the nation on Sept. 10, 2014, President Obama said “Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”

Actually, that’s what happens when the United States military isn’t unleashed. Early in his administration, President Trump gave the generals the authority to do whatever it took to demolish ISIS. As I write this post, ISIS is virtually eradicated. ISIS’s strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa have been destroyed. Here’s how Davis described the situation:

Islamic State was crushed in Raqqa and Mosul

A year ago, the Islamic State wasn’t just on the rise in the Middle East, it was firmly in charge, with wide swaths of the region under its control. But in October, U.S.-backed forces completed the total liberation of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s Syrian capital. That followed the liberation of Mosul, a major Iraqi city captured by the Islamic State in 2014. In less than a year, Trump and his national security team accomplished what the previous administration suggested was impossible.

Listen to President Obama’s excuse-filled statement about the war against ISIS:

Here’s the part to focus on:

This is going to be a long-term campaign. There are not quick fixes involved. We are still in the early stages. As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there will be periods of setback.

Actually, Mr. President, there was a quick fix. We just needed a real commander-in-chief who was serious about wiping out ISIS. Clearly, you didn’t fit that description. Further, it’s apparent that President Trump fits that description. It’s worth noting that President Trump has the advantage of having Gen. Jim Mattis as his Defense Secretary.

It’s likely that this is an underreported story because it would expose President Obama as the lackluster commander-in-chief that he was. The disgusting part is that I don’t have hope that we’ll learn from the Obama mistake. I don’t think we’ll learn from it because Obama’s supporters won’t admit that he’s a failure both on the national security front and the economic front.

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Rumor has it that ISIS preferred the Obama administration over the Trump administration. We don’t know that for certain because ISIS hasn’t issued a statement on the issue, mostly because ISIS is too decimated these days to do much of anything. ISIS is too busy dodging bombs to issue more than a monthly rah-rah statement. When the Obama administration was in office, ISIS had time to actually recruit terrorists and plan terrorist attacks. That isn’t happening during the Trump administration.

Seriously, this article lays out what’s happening. The article’s opening paragraphs start by saying “ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory it once held — with half of that terror group’s so-called ‘caliphate’ having been recaptured since President Trump took office less than a year ago, U.S. military officials said Tuesday. The massive gains come after years of “onerous” rules, when critics say the Obama administration ‘micromanaged’ the war and shunned a more intensive air strategy that could have ended the conflict much sooner.”

Predictably, the Obama administration attempted to push back. Predictably, it was feeble:

“This was a top priority from the early days of ISIS gaining the type of territorial safe haven in particular, there was recognition that safe havens for terrorist groups can mean terrorist plots that extend — not just into the region — but to Europe and conceivably into the United States,” said Joshua Geltzer, author of “US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View,” now a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School.

I don’t care if ISIS was a top priority for the Obama administration. It isn’t whether it’s a top priority. It’s whether the strategy employed is effective. Clearly, the Obama administration didn’t take things that seriously.

This report spells things out beautifully:

I’ll leave you with this parting thought:

Deptula thinks the ISIS fight would have ended much sooner if then-President Obama had given his military commander in the field more authority. He compared President Obama’s actions to President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. “Obama micromanaged the war,” Deptula said. “We could have accomplished our objectives through the use of overwhelming air power in three months not in three years.

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This week, President Obama tried taking credit for what Maria Bartiromo has titled “the Trump Boom.” The truth is that President Obama’s policies have nothing to do with the reinvigorated economy. In fact, businesses are saying the opposite. According to Ms. Bartiromo, “Corporate earnings have risen and corporate behavior has changed, measured in greater capital investment. Businesspeople tell me that a new approach to regulation is a big factor. During President Obama’s final year in office the Federal Register, which contains new and proposed rules and regulations, ran to 95,894 pages, according to a Competitive Enterprise Institute report.”

These businesses certainly know why they’re doing what they’re doing. What they’re saying with their actions and their words is that President Obama’s regulatory policies stifled growth, not entirely but significantly, by adding tons of regulatory compliance costs. When capital formation shrinks, job creation shrinks, too.

Others have noticed that there’s been a change and have adjusted accordingly:

For the first time in a long time the world is experiencing synchronized growth, which is why Goldman Sachs and Barclays among others have recently predicted 4% global growth in 2018. The entire world benefits when its largest economy is healthy, and the vibrancy overseas is reinforcing the U.S. resurgence.

This paragraph is especially enlightening:

Much has changed this year. Companies from Broadcom to Boeing have announced they’ll move overseas jobs back to the U.S. American companies hold nearly $3 trillion overseas and may soon be able to bring that money home without punitive taxation. Businesses have begun to open up the purse strings, which is why things like commercial airline activity are rising substantially as executives seek new opportunities. Companies are looking to invest in growth.

Investing in growth requires employees participating in the rewards. When corporations get into ‘merger and acquisition mode’, employees suffer. It’s easier for companies to merge with foreign corporations, then get taxed at lower rates. Democrats can whine about them doing that but it’s their own fault. It’s easier to work with corporations than trying to punish them. The government never wins in those match-ups.

Obama recently said that President Trump doesn’t have an answer for how he’ll get the economy growing. Either Obama is an economic illiterate or he’s intentionally lying. President Trump’s answer is to lower taxes and reduce regulations. That facts speak for themselves. Economic growth has virtually doubled under Trump’s watch. Consumer confidence is soaring. Companies are moving back from overseas. Contrary to what President Obama said, this isn’t a coincidence:

Finally, there’s this:

The Federal Register page count is down 32% this year. Mr. Trump says red tape becomes “beautiful” when it is eliminated, and people who manage businesses certainly agree.

I’m not alone in thinking that Trump’s policies are working. I’m predicting that President Obama’s policies will be discredited within another year.

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Katie Pavlich’s fact-filled article proves that the ‘Trump Recovery’ is beating the daylights out of Obamanomics. It isn’t even close.

Ms. Pavlich states her case by quoting people and statistics, starting with “Vice President Joe Biden today will kick off the Obama administration’s ‘Recovery Summer,’ a six-week-long push designed to highlight the jobs accompanying a surge in stimulus-funded projects to improve highways, parks, drinking water and other public works”, which Pavlich quoted from a Politico article. After that, she quoted former Obama advisor David Axelrod as saying “This summer will be the most active Recovery Act season yet, with thousands of highly-visible road, bridge, water and other infrastructure projects breaking ground across the country, giving the American people a first-hand look at the Recovery Act in their own backyards and making it crystal clear what the cost would have been of doing nothing.”

Then Pavlich brought out the heavy artillery:

But when summer 2017 rolled around with a new president in the Oval Office, Donald Trump, things actually started to change and the recovery summer Americans were promised finally showed up. This year, 138,000 manufacturing jobs have come roaring back after a loss of 34,000 in 2016. In November alone, 228,000 new jobs were created and unemployment is at a 17-year low. The GPD since Trump took office has gone from 1.2 percent in the first quarter to 3.3 percent in the third.

This video tells the truth:

“Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth,” National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)President and CEO Juanita Duggan says. “We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research.”

“The NFIB indicators clearly anticipate further upticks in economic growth, perhaps pushing up toward four percent GDP growth for the fourth quarter. This is a dramatically different picture than owners presented during the weak 2009-16 recovery,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg adds.

Finally, there’s this:

Many argue increases in stock market gains shouldn’t be used to gauge economic health on grounds they don’t help the middle class. This is a false claim. The stock market is more accessible than ever to everyday, middle-class Americans who are taking advantage of investment opportunities. Given the probability Social Security will be an empty wasteland upon retirement, despite paying into the program for decades, many Americans have made retirement savings a priority. Workers inside small and large businesses alike invest in 401k plans and individual retirement accounts. The sharp rise in the stock market has greatly benefited those with retirement accounts, where growth is dependent on the health of Wall Street. Many people currently retired rely completely on high investment returns as income. The stock market factor should not be discounted for political gain, but instead acknowledged as another beneficial factor for the middle class.

The history is clear. Obamanomics sucked. The Trump Recovery continues.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown’s economic illiteracy is frightening at the same time it isn’t surprising. Sen. Brown’s spirited exchange with Sen. Orrin Hatch revealed how little Sen. Brown understands about capitalism. What was particularly illuminating was when Sen. Brown said “I just think it would be nice, just tonight, to just acknowledge, well, this tax cut isn’t really for the middle class. It’s for the rich, and that whole thing about higher wages, well, it’s a good selling point, but we know companies don’t just give away higher wages. They just don’t give away higher wages just ’cause they have more money.”

Sen. Brown is either economically illiterate or he’s dishonest. Either way, it frightens me that he’s on the Finance Committee. It’s disturbing that he doesn’t understand what creates great economies. Brown has voted for some of the most counterproductive economic policies in recent history. Those policies have led to slow economic growth and stagnant wages. During the Obama administration, companies left the United States because of high tax rates and unreasonable regulatory burdens.

This isn’t opinion. Since Trump took office, consumer confidence has surged, unemployment has dropped, companies have started investing again and the workforce participation rate has improved. That’s because Trump has eased the regulatory burdens and promised competitive corporate tax rates.

At no time during the Obama administration did the economy grow at 3% per year for a full year. Right now, we’re on target to exceed 3% economic growth in Trump’s first year in office. If I’m forced to trust Trump’s policies or Obama’s policies, it isn’t much of a fight. This was fun to watch but it wasn’t much of a fight:

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This op-ed is this morning’s water cooler conversation in DC. That’s because Donna Brazile wrote it to criticize Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Ms. Brazile even took a swipe at President Obama, saying “My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt.” But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The op-ed continues, saying “The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt. ‘What?’ I screamed. ‘I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.’ That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016.”

That isn’t the worst of it. Here’s some additional important details:

On the phone Gary told me the DNC had needed a $2 million loan, which the campaign had arranged. “No! That can’t be true!” I said. “The party cannot take out a loan without the unanimous agreement of all of the officers. Gary, how did they do this without me knowing?” I asked. “I don’t know how Debbie relates to the officers,” Gary said. He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearing house. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the thirty-two states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

I can’t understand why Ms. Brazile is surprised. I published this post last October. According to an article in UK Daily Mail, “The Democratic National Committee is ‘clearing a path’ for Hillary Clinton to be its presidential nominee because its upper power echelons are populated with women, according to a female committee member who was in Las Vegas for Tuesday’s primary debate. Speaking on the condition that she isn’t identified, she told Daily Mail Online that the party is in the tank for Clinton, and the women who run the organization decided it ‘early on.'”

The woman that helped rig the Democratic Party’s nomination in favor of her friend is surprised that her friend is controlling the DNC? Isn’t that rich? Who’s the culprit? Is this woman the culprit?

If not her, who?

Her?

Personally, I’d choose ‘All of the above.’

It isn’t surprising that Nancy Pelosi is calling for an independent investigation to prevent Russian meddling in US elections.

In her statement, Ms. Pelosi said “Even with an accelerating Special Counsel investigation inside the Justice Department, and investigations inside the Republican Congress, we still need an outside, fully independent investigation to expose Russia’s meddling in our election and the involvement of Trump officials,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement Monday. “Defending the integrity of our democracy demands that Congress look forward to counter Russian aggression and prevent future meddling with our elections.”

This seems like stupid messaging. This morning, it was announced that Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates had been indicted. According to the indictment, some of the alleged illegal activity happened before Barack announced his candidacy for president.

Ms. Pelosi decision to call for this independent investigation steps all over the message that Manafort has been indicted. When there’s bad news coming out about your political adversary, exit the stage and let them endure the spotlight. Ms. Pelosi apparently didn’t figure it out that she should leave the stage.

Erick Erickson’s op-ed on the Manafort indictment is worth reading. In his op-ed, Erickson wrote “The Mueller team looked into the campaign, went down various rabbit holes, and wound up in Manafort’s tax returns circa 2012, well before Trump considered running for office. Therefore, they can claim, there is nothing there with the campaign.”

Judge Napolitano’s explanation might help shed light on the importance of the Manafort indictment:

At this point, there’s nothing found thus far that hints the Trump campaign worked with Putin’s administration to win the election. The thought that Putin tried meddling with the election is something that the overwhelming majority of Americans have already accepted. In terms of momentum, this isn’t a game-changer.

Notch another foreign policy victory for President Trump. This morning, Raqqa was liberated from ISIS. It seems like forever ago that people were being told that we couldn’t affect regime change in Syria without the threat of ISIS taking over the government. Overthrow, Democrats told us, meant deposing Assad, then watching while ISIS took over. Apparently, President Trump and Gen. Mattis didn’t get that memo.

According to the article, “The Syrian city of Raqqa was liberated from ISIS fighters Tuesday, a commander with U.S.-backed Syrian forces said. The loss deprived the terror group of the capital of its so-called caliphate, which has dwindled from a land mass spanning two countries to a sliver of space in Syria. The last group of Islamic State militants had been holed up Tuesday in a stadium in the Syrian city of Raqqa, their last stand in the fight over what was the terror group’s de facto capital as U.S. backed, Kurdish-led forces close in around them.”

It’s fun hearing that “the last black ISIS flag raised in the city had been taken down.”

This article summarizes things nicely:

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led international alliance, has been fighting ISIS inside Raqqa since June. SOHR said 3,250 people were killed in the five-month battle, including 1,130 civilians.

A witness said fighting appeared to be almost at an end with only sporadic bursts of gunfire. Militia fighters celebrated in the streets, chanted slogans from their vehicles and raised a flag inside Raqqa stadium. An SDF spokesman said the alliance would capture the last ISIS areas in the city within hours.

Notice that the SDF started their offensive in June of this year. President Trump’s strategy to empower generals on the ground paid dividends because they weren’t micromanaged from the Oval Office like they were during the Obama administration.

President Trump’s goal was defeating ISIS. President Obama’s goal was to do as little as possible because he wanted his legacy to be of an anti-war president. That meant sacrificing military victories to pay for political victories.

Thankfully, we’ve got a real commander-in-chief now.