Trump Channels Reagan: The ‘Era of Economic Surrender Is Over’

President Donald Trump wrote in an op-ed in USA Today on Saturday that the “era of economic surrender” is over and urged Congress to pass tax reform to “ignite America’s middle-class miracle once again.”

Trump, whose opinion piece was published on the 31st anniversary of Reagan’s signing of the historic Tax Reform Act of 1986 into law, wrote of how Reagan built a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to deliver tax cuts and simplify the tax code. Noting that “the economy boomed” and launched into “one of the largest peacetime economic expansions in history” under Reagan, Trump said “it is time” to do it again.

"The tax cuts and reforms of the 1980s show that when we empower the American people to pursue their dreams, they will not only achieve greatness and create prosperity beyond imagination ... they will build an entirely new world," Trump wrote.

"That era of economic surrender is now over," the president added. "It is time to ignite America's middle-class miracle once again."

Trump wrote that in the nine months since he assumed the presidency, he has been busy removing "intrusive, job-killing regulations at a record pace," leaving "lopsided" international trade deals "that hurt America" and implementing policies that "unleashed American energy." Pointing to the unemployment rate at a 16-year low, a 3 percent GDP growth in the year's second quarter, and a "soaring" stock market, the president said, "The optimism has returned — the sun is once again rising over America."

"But our economy cannot take off like it should unless we transform our outdated, complex and burdensome tax code, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do," the president wrote. "Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government's money — we are talking about your money, your hard work."

Trump recounted how "a lot has changed" since Reagan and the Congress implemented tax reform in the 1980s and "stretched the bounds of what we thought was possible for humankind."

"While our economic competitors slashed their taxes in hopes of replicating America's success, our leaders remained complacent or, in some cases, reversed course," Trump wrote, noting that the U.S. is now among the highest-tax nations in the world.

"We have watched our leaders allow other countries to erode our competitive edge, take our jobs, and drain our wealth. And, for the first time in our history, Americans have feared that their children will not grow up to be better off financially than they are," Trump continued. "Somehow, this has become 'normal' in the Land of the Free, but it should not be."

If Democrats choose to work with Republicans and if Congress moves to pass the Trump administration's tax plan, the president promised that the tax code will once again become "simple" and "fair" so Americans aren't trapped inside a "tax-compliance nightmare." A tax cut for middle-class families and U.S. businesses alike would allow families to "keep more of their hard-earned money" while restoring "our competitive edge so we can create better jobs and higher wages for American workers," Trump argued.

"Just imagine the possibilities," Trump wrote. "We have the benefit of hindsight as we look back at the three decades since our country's last major tax reform. We can see what worked and what did not. And most importantly, we can apply the lessons learned to the challenges of today."

(photo credit, homepage image: Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

Last Modified: October 22, 2017, 5:22 pm

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