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News Analysis: Trump Can Sell an Improved Economy, but Not Himself

“Every major address like this is an opportunity for reset, but that is unlikely in this case and even more unlikely still given that it’s an election year,” said Lanhee J. Chen, a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford who advised Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. “The current narrative, both for those who oppose the president and those who support him, has been established over the better part of two years — during a campaign and one year in office. It’s hard to see that changing dramatically.”Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for President George W […]

News Analysis: Trump Can Sell an Improved Economy, but Not Himself

NYT

View original here: News Analysis: Trump Can Sell an Improved Economy, but Not Himself

Strong Economies Lift Presidents. Trump Seems an Exception.

SectionsSEARCHSkip to contentSkip to site indexSubscribeLog In SubscribeLog InAdvertisementStrong Economies Lift Presidents. Trump Seems an Exception.His approval ratings reflect political weakness despite good news on several fronts.ImagePresident Trump’s approval ratings are in the upper 30s.CreditManuel Balce Ceneta/Associated PressBy Nate Cohn Jan. 8, 2018The stock market has surged. Unemployment is at 4.1 percent. ISIS has largely been vanquished from Iraq and Syria.But despite it all, Donald J. Trump’s approval ratings are mired in the upper 30s. No president has had worse ratings at this stage of his term since modern polling began more than three-quarters of a century ago.With President Trump starting the new year with a blizzard of tweets and fresh controversy seemingly every day, there are still debates about whether he is as weak as he looks. After all, he managed to win the presidency with terrible favorability ratings a little over a year ago. Analysts have understandably been cautious about assuming that his weak ratings will doom him or his party again.But it seems clear that Mr. Trump’s approval ratings betray significant political weakness.Setting aside the question of how much credit first-year presidents deserve for a strong economy — they have less influence than you might think — President Trump’s ratings should be much better […]

As Trump Appeals to Farmers, Some of His Policies Don’t

“What we often see communicated about rural America is that there are these isolated pockets of despair that are beyond hope or recovery,” Ray Starling, the special assistant to the president for agriculture, agricultural trade and food assistance on the National Economic Council, said in a briefing Friday. The report makes clear that “that’s not what we believe.”Yet some of the president’s economic policies could actually harm the farm industry. New analyses of the tax law by economists at the Department of Agriculture suggest it could actually lower farm output in the years to come and effectively raise taxes on the lowest-earning farm households, while delivering large gains for the richest farmers.And the administration’s trade policies continue to be a concern for farmers, who benefit from access to other markets, including by exporting their products. Mr. Trump continues to threaten to withdraw from trade pacts if other countries do not grant the United States a better deal, a position that has put him at odds with much of the farm industry.“Trade has become an increasingly important and substantial part of the ag economy. So anything that causes a ripple in that can have not just little effects but significant effects,” said Dale Moore, the executive director for public policy at the Farm Bureau.Indeed, part of the White House report Monday is expected to discuss global markets’ importance to rural America.Agriculture has been the biggest beneficiary of pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have allowed the United States to export grains and meat. In April, when the president came to the brink of withdrawing the United States from the pact, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue helped to dissuade him by showing him a map of the part of the country that would be hardest hit — farming states that also helped to elect Mr. Trump.“It creates a lot of anxiety across all of agriculture, particularly the U.S. pulling out of Nafta,” said Kevin Kester, a rancher in California and the president-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.Continue reading the main storyFarmers and ranchers like Mr. Kester worry that they are losing ground to foreign competitors, as major markets like Japan, Europe and Mexico push ahead with their own trade pacts. […]

The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings

But in the administration and across the business community, there is a perception that years of increased environmental, financial and other regulatory oversight by the Obama administration dampened investment and job creation — and that Mr. Trump’s more hands-off approach has unleashed the “animal spirits” of companies that had hoarded cash after the recession of 2008.Some businesses will essentially be able to get away with shortcuts that they could not have under a continuation of Obama-era policies. The coal industry, for instance, will not have to worry about a regulation, overturned by Congress and Mr. […]

State of the Art: What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami

NYT

View original here: State of the Art: What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami

How Republicans Rallied Together to Deliver a Tax Plan

There were crucial steps that ensured passage, including a deficit bargain struck between Senators Patrick J. Toomey and Bob Corker in September, pressure from Mr. Trump on a controversial push to tweak retirement savings in the bill and, in the Senate, an early and crucial endorsement from John McCain of Arizona, the Republican wild card whose late defection killed the health care bill.“There was never a moment where I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re going to fail at this,’” Mr. Toomey said in an interview. “There were many moments I thought, ‘This is still an open question.’”What there never was, in the minds of Republican leaders, was doubt the bill would pass — not even in the scattered moments over the past several weeks when individual senators held it up to demand changes.“At the end of the day,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview, “I didn’t have a single person say, ‘If you don’t do this, I’m going to vote no.’”PhotoSenator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, in October in Washington.Credit Tom Brenner/The New York TimesThe House approved the final version of the bill on Tuesday afternoon over the opposition of 12 Republicans and every Democrat who cast a vote. Because of a procedural issue, the House will have to vote again on Wednesday, but the bill is expected to land on Mr. Trump’s desk within days.On the House floor, Speaker Paul D. […]