It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone into a new year with hope from a political perspective… 16 years to be exact. The last time I expected good things to come out of Washington DC was 2001. Those dreams were crushed in part by a Bush administration that started off slowly. Then, 9/11 happened and all of the rules changed. Talk of war, loss of privacy, actual war, more government overreach, concern over a “President” John Kerry, a bad economy, and then the coup de grace of electing Barack Obama made the last 15 New Years politically concerning at best and absolutely abysmal recently.
Before I go into the things that I believe are very possible in 2017 that should give us all hope for a bright year, it’s important to understand what concerns me about it. The GOP has been marginally better than the Democrats over the last two decades and they squandered their majorities in both chambers of Congress the last two years. To add to my skepticism, I’ve never been excited about Donald Trump. That’s not to say that I wish Hillary Clinton won (God forbid!), but I was against him in the primaries and unimpressed through the general election. I still have major concerns, but three things supersede those concerns. First, I support many of his plans, particularly securing the border and renewing our relationship with Israel. Second, many of his cabinet picks have been impressive. Third, Mike Pence may be running more of the show than most previous Vice Presidents.
In short, Trump has a clean slate in my books. As long as he performs near the lofty expectations we all have for him, I will be the first to admit I was wrong. Until then, I will pray that I was wrong about him and hope for the best.
With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s look at the seven things Washington DC can do in 2017 that can truly make this the best year in a long, long time for America.
Immediately start addressing illegal immigration
You’ll notice that I didn’t say, “start building the wall.” Before anyone gets too uppity, we have to address this particular issue prudently. The wall will take a long time to build, to which most will say, “all the more reason to get started.” This is a massive project that must be done properly. More importantly, there are measures that we must take to prevent the blitzkrieg of border crossers that has already begun since Trump won.
Border security can be increased dramatically in weeks. By taking this first step, we will be able to then start building the wall. It’s imperative that we send a very clear message to those wanting to cross the Mexican border that we have men with guns waiting to apprehend them and send them back. If we start with the wall, we’ll only encourage them to rush to cross the border more quickly.
If the wall gets started in 2017, great! If it has to wait until next year, so be it. This is too important to rush, especially when tripling or quadrupling the manpower and resources at the border will be more effective in the short term.
Repeal Obamacare without compromise or delay
Kill this abomination. That doesn’t mean rush it, but a motivated Congress can analyze the situation and come up with a plan that will mitigate the damage of a repeal. However, that doesn’t mean that we should delay and it definitely doesn’t mean that we should embrace portions of it as Trump has suggested. Kill it all the way. Replace it with something better that doesn’t included taxes, penalties, or removal of choices. Allowing interstate commerce of insurance would go a long way towards making sure we get rid of it quickly with minimal damage.
Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
As I noted in another article:
When the most powerful nation in the world takes a step that they’ve never taken before by embracing the Jewish nation’s right to the capital of their ancestors, the place where King David ruled 1600 years before Islam was even formed, it will change the way the world has to deal with both Israel and America. Instantly, we’re put back into a position of strength that we haven’t seen in eight years.When the most powerful nation in the world takes a step that they’ve never taken before by embracing the Jewish nation’s right to the capital of their ancestors, the place where King David ruled 1600 years before Islam was even formed, it will change the way the world has to deal with both Israel and America. Instantly, we’re put back into a position of strength that we haven’t seen in eight years.
If Trump does this one thing in 2017, I’ll consider myself fully chastised for not supporting him before.
Take a conservative approach to trade
I get it. “America first.” It’s hard to argue with those who believe that exporting jobs is caused by poor trade policies because that’s the line of thinking the GOP has taken. In reality, free trade is by far more beneficial to the U.S. economy as well as workers than fair trade. What people must understand is that jobs will be lost over tariffs or forced domestication. It’s basic economics. If companies are forced to pay more for American workers, they have three options: cut profits, cut jobs, or raise prices. As Carrier demonstrated, they allowed Trump to “save” jobs for now, but are now forced to replace those jobs in the near future.
The two biggest reasons we lose jobs overseas is innovation and incredibly bad economic conditions for business operating in the United States. The first reason, innovation, is going to happen regardless of trade policy. Science, technology, and an ever-changing style of consumer demand means we’ll always watch some jobs change. That means that old jobs are lost and new jobs are created as a result. As for poor conditions for businesses, a conservative approach to the free market economy and free trade will enable American businesses to stay in America. They’re not just driven out by higher domestic wages. Higher wagers are often a net wash with overseas wages when shipping and logistical costs are included. It’s the tax and regulatory systems that drives businesses away. Kill the unnecessary regulations, reduce the taxes, and you’ll find more companies flying their patriotic flags high and proud.
Come up with a trillion dollar infrastructure plan that doesn’t cost a trillion dollars
We have infrastructure problems. Unlike many conservatives in my circles, I’m willing to acknowledge that the problem is as big as Trump paints it to be. However, with a national debt nearing $20 trillion and a budget deficit that could hit a trillion dollars in less than two years, adding another trillion dollar program is insane.
Trump’s team has been relatively obscure with their plans, but if they can truly use investments and private industry to undertake a trillion dollar infrastructure fix without having American taxpayers foot the majority of the bill, I’m all for it. In fact, it may be the road map to privatizing future projects that Libertarians and Federalists have been seeking for a long time. This could be an extremely good thing if they can pull it off.
Stop the wave of attacks on the 1st Amendment
Free speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. All of these are under attack. Those attacks need to stop. Trump, Congress, and most importantly the Supreme Court must do what they can in 2016 to reverse the direction this nation is heading. Between Barack Obama and his social justice warriors, we’ve seen more attacks on the 1st Amendment in the last eight years than in the years we’ve been a nation combined.Stop the wave of attacks on the 1st Amendment Free speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. All of these are under attack. Those attacks need to stop. Trump, Congress, and most importantly the Supreme Court must do what they can in 2016 to reverse the direction this nation is heading. Between Barack Obama and his social justice warriors, we’ve seen more attacks on the 1st Amendment in the last eight years than in the years we’ve been a nation combined.
Acknowledge our enemies, including Russia
No, I don’t think Russia hacked the election. Whether or not they hacked the Democrats’ email is debatable, but it changes nothing. Russia has been adversarial to us for years. The only thing different in 2016 is that the Democrats, who laughed the Russians off four years ago, are now screaming about them while the Republicans, who called them the greatest threat to America four years ago, are now saying it’s no big deal and we can all be friends thanks to the Trump/Putin bromance.
Here’s the reality: Russia is our enemy. They have recognized this for many years while partisan bickering prevented most in Washington DC from acknowledging it. Trump’s connections to Russia won’t be a concern as long as Congress is able to keep Russia in proper perspective. From Syria to Ukraine to BRICS to just about every action they take, they clearly demonstrate that they are not our friends. Trump will realize this at some point. Then, we can start classifying them with Iran, China, North Korea, and Cuba.
Remember, enemies can cooperate. The old adage of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer applies today. The challenge is in keeping our guard up while sharing many spaces with these countries.
Real hope and change
Things are looking up for the first time in a while. There are so many things that need to be accomplished, but never since Ronald Reagan has there been an opportunity to actually accomplish them. Don’t let liberals get you down. If these seven goals can be achieved, even some on the left will realize that 2017 was a great year when all is said and done.