The Question That Will Decide the Election

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In the 1980 presidential debate, Ronald Reagan secured his landslide by asking the American people: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Today, Congressional Republicans can turn the tide in a close midterm contest by posing a similar question: “Are you better off than you were two years ago?” By every standard, the answer should be yes: more economic growth, less unemployment, better border security, stronger military, higher paychecks, lower taxes across the board.

Republicans in both Houses of Congress deserve much of the credit, and this crucial question shifts attention from the competing scandal narratives and endless investigations that obsess the media. Republicans can win by moving away from polarizing personalities and emphasizing the steady progress that’s helped everyday Americans under the last two years of GOP control.

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  1. Thomas Hovsepian  •  Aug 31, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    "Republicans can win by moving away from polarizing personalities and emphasizing the steady progress that’s helped everyday Americans under the last two years of GOP control."
    Real wisdom in this statement. Thank you Michael for once again making the complex and perplexing clear and simple.

  2. Loren Spiekerman  •  Aug 31, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    I know that Trump supporters are hailing the presumably great economy. And no one can deny the economic stats. They are excellent. But at what price? Donald Trump, like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, not to mention Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover before them, all cut taxes and implemented pro business policies. Ronald Reagan is credited by the right with producing an economic miracle. But what is not mentioned is that he had the tailwind of Paul Volcker defeating inflation and bringing down interest rates and he tripled the national debt in his two terms in office. George W. Bush implemented huge tax cuts while pushing his ownership society. We ended up with a massive housing bubble and financial crisis. And then there was the booming 1920s. Again Republicans controlled all branches of government, and cut taxes and implemented pro business policies. And we all know how that story ended- with the Great Depression.

    The reality is Donald Trump inherited a healthy, growing economy from Barack Obama. He juiced this already positive economy with massive fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts and increased spending. Now we are looking at budget deficits north of a trillion dollars as far as the eye can see. The CBO has projected that the vibrant growth we are seeing today is going to decline over time. So in the end, we will end up with the same economic growth that we started with (if that), and a massive increase in the national debt.

    Finally, inequality is the economic issue of our time. And Trump's tax cuts are only going to make the inequality problem worse. And again, if you look at history, inequality peaked in 1929 and 2000. And it's only gotten worse since. What does that say about our economic future? Enjoy the moment my conservative friends. It ain't going to end well. And it won't be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton's fault when the sky comes falling down.

  3. Jim Bird  •  Sep 1, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Hey Spiderman,

    “Trump inherited a vibrant growing economy from Obama…” that started the next morning after Trump won the election. The odds on that happening are 22 trillion to 1 – probably a few trillion higher. You truly have a dizzying intellect there Spidey!

  4. Steven Brown  •  Sep 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Maybe for Republicans. Not so much for teachers, government workers and all those who do NOT work in traditional manufacturing jobs. And there is no mention of the debt. When Obama was president Republicans attributed the whole debt to Obama even though most of it was accumulated during Republican administrations. Can we now refer to the 22 trillion dollar debt as Donald's debt?

    • Rizzo  •  Sep 2, 2018 at 8:38 am

      The debt is a problem. But debt is created by spending more than you take in.
      The federal government collected record amounts of both individual income taxes and payroll taxes through the first ten months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

      Through July, the federal government collected approximately $1,312,691,000,000 in individual income taxes.

      At the same time, it collected $976,278,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes.

      Trump policies are starting to help on the collection side… That is what is meant by "growing your way out of debt". However, now it's time for congress to cut back on all the spending.
      They need to reduce and stop spending on things that are not legitimate functions of government.

    • Jim Bird  •  Sep 2, 2018 at 11:11 am

      So, since Obama more than doubled the debt from ALL previous Presidents COMBINED, this is a GOP problem? The incredulity of the Left is so bizarre! I guess they simply have zero ability to observe and add and subtract.

  5. Donna Kaiyala Carlaw  •  Sep 2, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Good advice.

    Also, Trump's campaigning is helping Republicans it seems. Even though he is said to be a polarizing force, he seems to be good for the GOP, and therefore for the country, IMO. We will know in November.

    Be well, Michael.

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