By John Ruberry

Now that we have entered the first full day of President Donald Trump’s second year in office it’s a good time to ask this question.

Is Trump a conservative?

“Yes,” is my firm answer.

Fascinatingly, Trump doesn’t talk about conservatism much, nor did he as a candidate. Contrast the president with the dozens of Republicans elected to Congress since the Tea Party wave of 2010 who talked a tough game on issues such as ObamaCare, illegal immigration, and shrinking the government. But once in power, many of these GOPers backed away from strong conservative stances on those issues.

But here we have a president in Trump who didn’t campaign as a conservative but who is governing as one.

Trump’s first major move in office was to nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. So far Gorsuch has been a solid conservative voice on the nation’s highest court. While there have been some qualification issues on a few district court nominees, the president has nominated a solid group of conservative jurists on the district and appellate levels. As for the latter, Trump set a record for the most appellate nominees confirmed in a first year of office.

Our military, with the aid of allies, has had great success against the Islamic State, to the point where we can say that it’s likely that ISIS has been defeated. A strong national defense is the backbone of any conservative playbook.

After six months in office Barack Obama added 60,000 employees to the federal payroll. Under Trump the size of the federal workforce is shrinking.

Amazingly, Trump is exceeding even Ronald Reagan’s pace in slashing regulations.

And last month the Republican tax cut bill was signed into law–which has already fattened the wallets of Americans. Included in that bill was the elimination of the unpopular ObamaCare individual mandate, which may lead to the unraveling of the signature law of Trump’s predecessor.

The cut in regulations and taxes have spurred an unprecedented rally in the stock market since Trump’s election.

Yesterday, although by video hook-up, Trump became the first president to address the annual March for Life rally.

On his radio show last year Mark Levin called Trump “the most conservative president since Reagan.”

As he is on so many things, Levin is correct.

America has a conservative president again—one who didn’t campaign as one.

It’s an inconsistency I can live with happily.

Today there is a government shutdown–why? Because Trump is standing up for conservative policies.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update: Instalance, welcome all, take a peek round find out why Trump & the GOP will do fine in november as evidenced by a single chart here


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Romney in Illinois, 2012

I’m not a big Mitt fan but if there was ever a time for the National GOP and Donald Trump to run a play out of the Mitt Romney playbook it’s this week.

The DESTROY US ALL caucus is already screaming about how this tax bill means we’re all going to die (which was true, no matter the result) and I’ve already noted that there is a provision for people to donate money to reduce the public debt.

But that’s not the same as paying a legal tax rate so I think the GOP and Trump should give the left a chance to really put their money where their mouths are by doing what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts concerning taxes back in 2000.

When he reduced out tax rate from 5.85% to 5% the law allowed companies and individuals to pay the old tax rate and every year a few tax payers choose to do so. As the state puts it:

Taxpayers have the option to pay a higher tax rate on certain types of income. Taxpayers may pay 5.85% as opposed to 5.1% on the following types of income:

Form 1 or 1-NR/PY income after exemptions:
Form 1, Line 19 or

1-NR/PY, Line 23.
Schedule B interest and dividend income:
Form 1, Line 20 or

1-NR/PY, Line 24.
Schedule D net long-term capital gains: –
Schedule D, Line 20.

Since so many liberals are so upset over this tax bill I’d give them a similar out.

I would introduce a bill in the house allowing the old 35% tax rate to apply any corporation that wishes to pay it. Such a bill should fly though the house and the senate and would likely arrive on President Trump’s desk in time to sign with the 1st tax bill.

Such a law would be a great chance for Microsoft or Ben and Jerry’s or Amazon or any California and/or Hollywood corporation in terms of virtue signaling. With the check of a single box on their corporate tax returns they can make sure everyone knows just how much they really love america as opposed to those nasty conservatives. It’s virtue signaling at the absolute highest level possible.

And If I’m Donald Trump I’d make sure every single one of those corporations get a chance to do so every year or be called out every year if they don’t.

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The Senate passed the Trump tax reform bill last night. The House has to vote on it again due to some changes in the bill.

Nancy Pelosi calls it “Armageddon,” and Libs are breaking into hives over newly-found concerns over budget deficits.

Paul Ryan says Tax Reform Means Your Paycheck Will Grow. I’m all for that.

Conservatives realize that the U.S. has the very uncompetitive highest corporate taxes in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

Out of the 34 countries in the OECD, America ranks first with a 39.1 percent corporate tax rate, compared to an OECD average of 24.1 percent. The OECD figure is what’s called the statutory rate, meaning the base rate applied to corporate profits.

Drudge has a 

Followed by a less exultant side bar,

Christmas Comes Early for Trump With Tax Win…

Biggest overhaul in 30 years…

After elation, hangover may loom…

At the WSJ,
GOP Nears Tax Victory as Bill Passes in Senate. Measure will return to the House for a final vote Wednesday

Real Clear Markets has,

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of the Trump Tax Bill

The WaPo goes Interactive: Will your taxes go up or down under the GOP bill? Had I stayed in New Jersey, they would have gone up.

Stuart Varney praises it as “a return to politics of growth.”

The NYPost had one small headline halfway down the page.

The BBC asks,

Elsewhere (h/t Instapundit),

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Hardly “Armageddon.” But if it is, at least I’ll get some reading done.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

After all,
Wasn’t the world supposed to end last week because of net neutrality?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

The just-concluded Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. was punctuated by standing ovations. Among them: a few for the President, who spoke decisively but without pugnacity; for Bannon and Gorka, the red-meat guys; for Alveda King, bringing the crowd to its feet to join her in song.

And then there was the one for Steve Scalise.

Months after a gunman’s savage and politically-motivated attack left him near death, Congressman Scalise made his way to the Values Voter podium last Friday to the sound of appreciative cheers. He moved with the aid of crutches, the only visible sign of his injuries. Once at the podium, he spoke in the strong and steady voice of a man eager to get to work.

As House Majority Whip, he has the unenviable task of herding the GOP cats when it’s time for votes on the House floor. HIs position is probably what earned him an invitation to speak at Values Voter. He understands first things first, though. Before he spoke about policy, he spoke about gratitude.

After he was shot, while he was in the hospital, he and his family received countless prayers and good wishes, including messages from people who are not in political harmony with him. That touched him deeply. He understood that the messages were not merely routine.

“You knew that this was an attack on the values of our country….I cannot thank you enough for those prayers and that love.” This from a man who spent three and a half months in a hospital.

He was candid in his speech about the tough times past and to come, as he and his family face long-term challenges arising from his injuries. His candor made his enthusiastic demeanor all the more meaningful. “We have a great and mighty God,” he declared, “and I am a living example of the miracles he can produce.”

Then, and only then, he addressed specific policy initiatives. He said, “I came back with an even sharper focus” on family, friends and America.

He Considers the Pain-Capable Act a victory. That’s the measure to restrict abortions after 20 weeks, the point in pregnancy when science indicates that unborn children can feel pain. Passage of the measure was a near thing. “As Majority Whip, I had to put that coalition together. But we did.” Now, the bill is in the Senate, its prospects uncertain in view of the particular batch of Republicans now serving. “Tell your Senators to pass it,” Scales urged. The President “wants to sign this bill into law.”

The bill includes cutting federal funding to the nations’s largest abortion provider. That gives me pause, as voter who questioned (and still questions) the depth of the President’s roots on the life issues. Scalise has no doubts. “He wants to sign this.”

He’s determined to support the President’s tax reform proposals. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone give a snappier summary and smile while doing it: reduce personal rates; reduce business rates to encourage families to bring jobs back to this country; repeal the death tax, double the child tax credit (now there’s a pro-life initiative).

He did not dwell on the unhappy fate thus far of efforts to repeal Obamacare, beyond saying “let’s not give up fights. President Trump wants these on his desk.”

All this was said in a tone that most other speakers at Values Voters didn’t approach. He was passionate and determined without breathing fire. He didn’t sound as though we were all under siege; in fact he radiated hope, both political and personal.

HIs final words to the crowd, coming after all he has experienced these past months, rang with truth that brought the audience to its feet yet again: “It’s great to be alive.”

Ellen is a New Hampshire writer and pro-life activist. Read more by and about her at ellenkolb.com.

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The evidence has been documented numerous times that cutting taxes improves the economy in ways that replace “lost” revenues for the federal government. In other words, reduced tax burdens spark economic growth with over time yield a revenue-neutral stance. This is the part about the proposed GOP tax cuts that I like.

There are two big problems with it, though. We haven’t seen nearly the level of cuts necessary to balance the budget or attack the unfathomable debt problem the nation faces. It’s time to slash and burn in DC; we need to eliminated entire programs like Obamacare, agencies like the EPA, and even departments such as the Department of Education.

The second problems is that this isn’t really a tax “reform.” They’re calling it “reform” because it’s a powerful word that makes people feel good, but this is still the same progressive tax system that’s been failing miserably for decades. As Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review notes, there’s no right way to fix the progressive tax.

I’ve been exploring everything from a fair tax to a flat tax to a neutral tax. All have merits. All have flaws. Now is not the time to go over them or other plans in detail, but one thing is certain. We need to implement REAL reform if we’re going to make a true impact on how the national government operates. The system is broken and smarter people than me need to get together and explore the options.

Back to cuts. Standard operating procedure in Washington DC is to bifurcate taxing and spending. They try to convince us that they’re two different conversations that should be handled independently. This is illogical and an insult to our collective intelligence. If you’re deciding what car to buy, you don’t pick a car and do the math on the monthly payments later. If you’re income fluctuates, you don’t buy things based upon the best case scenario. This is personal economics 101, yet the federal government wants us to believe this logical thinking doesn’t apply to them.

Why do they bifurcate? It’s all a smokescreen. I’m not a conspiracy theorist who believes everything the government does has nefarious undertones, but this is very clear to anyone paying attention. They don’t want to talk about taxing and spending at the same time because it means revealing the truth about both. It’s easier for them to say, “we need this much revenue regardless of expenses” while simultaneously saying, “we need to spend this much regardless of revenues.”

To tackle tax reform before tackling spending isn’t just putting the cart before the horse. It’s detaching the cart from the horse and then questioning why it won’t move. We need to address them simultaneously. If that’s too complicated for DC, then they need to tackle spending first. Instead, we’re hearing about trillion dollar infrastructure plans that may no longer receive private funding relief, an expensive border wall that Mexico apparently isn’t going to pay for, and Obamacare “repeal” bills that don’t significantly reduce DC’s financial role. No, block grants don’t change the fact that DC still has to collect the money first.

If DC really wants to boost the economy, they need to start by cutting spending and regulations. The latter seems to be in motion; kudos to the President for keeping that promise. The former isn’t even close to happening. It needs to happen quickly. Otherwise, Republicans are the same big spenders as the Democrats, just focused on different issues.