There’s no doubt about it. The American media is obsessed with President Trump. Despite the fact that most 24-hour news outlets spend about 23.5 hours talking about Trump, there are things he has done that they haven’t covered.
Going through these examples, it’s not hard to see why the country is so divided. There are always two sides to each “accomplishment.” With that in mind, let’s go through 15 things Trump has done that the media hasn’t covered.
15. The Unemployment Rate
Supporters of President Trump and even Trump himself will point out that while he has had very little to do with unemployment numbers, they and the rest of the economy is doing extremely well. The thing about the economy is, it has multiple moving parts and is an absolute behemoth. Because of that, it takes a lot of time for an economy this size to make substantive changes.
Trump is taking credit for something largely created by his predecessor, Barack Obama. However, Trump can get credit for a lot of the so-called “enthusiasm” in the economy, namely in Wall Street (See #14). But he can’t take full — or some would say any — credit for something that was started years before he took office.
This graph will show the unemployment rate hit a low 4.3% in July. During the campaign Trump and other conservatives said the unemployment rate was the result of “cooked books” and that it didn’t include the amount of people who simply stopped receiving unemployment benefits. Trump had a semi-famous quote during the campaign, saying:
“Don’t believe these phony numbers, The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35 [per cent]. In fact, I even heard recently 42 per cent.”
Funny that now that Trump is president, the numbers are real “again”. The media isn’t covering Trump’s role in the unemployment numbers and to some that’s a sign they’re biased. Some say there’s a “Trump effect” that has buoyed short-term hiring — because of the promise of tax cuts and deregulation. But as with everything Trump, you never know what the actual deal is.
14. The Stock Market
Part of the overall economy, like employment numbers, is the stock market. It’s different from the unemployment rate as it can change drastically and quickly. While there are examples of the stock market having long term growth/patterns, it is still a very fickle and panicky contraption.
Now, Trump has promised both an overhaul of the tax code by lowering the amount of tax brackets from seven to three and then lowering taxes dramatically. Ironically, the one thing that the stock market typically hates is uncertainty. It’s safe to say the the Trump presidency has been the one of the most random and uncertain ever.
Liberal talk show host Bill Maher recently explained this perfect, saying:
“I thought the stock market hated volatility and uncertainty, but I underestimated their greed, because they still want their tax cut.”
That tax cut would apply to individuals and businesses and provide a lot more investment money for both the rich and corporations. Anything positive like that will only improve the stock market. Some of the regulations that were put in place after the stock market crashed and almost took down the entire Western world’s economy in the process, which always helps the numbers improve.
President Trump has been called an isolationist by many. He ran as the anti-establishment and the anti-globalization candidate, but he would (and did) call for an “America First” policy. That’s the main reason he won the campaign, as many voters had lost their jobs from factories closing in their towns and leaving for other countries near or far.
While the left talked about social justice issues and focused on Trump’s personality, he was visiting states in the upper Midwest and the “Rust Belt.” He organized rallies, where he guaranteed that companies that tried to outsource their manufacturing jobs would be penalized so hard that they’d be forced to stop. Trump won many of those states, like Wisconsin and Michigan — two typically deep “blue” states when it comes to presidential elections — by slim margins.
There was a list of companies going around online. These promised to “reinvest” into the United States economy — by building new factories and hiring thousands of workers. The media wasn’t talking about them. Considering that Trump never hesitates to call out companies that outsource on his Twitter feed, he deserves credit for this.
12. Budget Surplus
If there is ever a misnomer when it comes to the United States Federal Government, it’s budget surplus. The government has been running a major deficit since George W. Bush decided to slash taxes for the richest Americans back in 2001.
His predecessor, Bill Clinton, had created a budget surplus of his own and a major point of the campaigns of both W. Bush and his opponent, former Vice President Al Gore, was what the government should do with that money. Gore, ever the “boring” goody goody said that it should be placed in a “lock box”, something he was made fun of for ad nauseam.
W. Bush, ever his father’s son, went the conservative route and said if there’s a surplus people are being overcharged with their taxes, so cut those taxes. And boy did he. Since then, the government hasn’t had a surplus… until April of 2017!
Now a few disclaimers, as April is typically a surplus month because it’s tax season and the amount of tax receipts the IRS receives gives the government a ton of money to spend. There was also the fact that corporations paid their taxes in April, after a change from them typically paying in March.
So, the government had a lot of the money that they’d make for the entire year from both people and corporations. But, regardless of the fact that Trump hasn’t implemented his tax plan yet, there was still a budget surplus under his watc. He’s the President overseeing a surplus, while tapping his fingers together and saying, “excellent”.
11. Consumer Confidence
About 75 per cent of the American economy is based on consumer spending. That’s surprising considering the current state of retail in this country. While retail is yet to figure out how to take advantage of, or at least stop the bleeding from, the internet it’s still a major component in the American economy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just a tad over six per cent of the American workforce works in the “retail trade.” That’s down from over ten per cent a little over ten years prior, but when you have a country of over 320 million people, that’s a lot of people.
A big part of retail spending comes from consumer confidence, a metric that assesses how ordinary consumers feel about the strength of the economy. That metric hit 125.6 this March: it’s highest point since the Clinton Administration.
While that amount is based on the subjective opinion of people, who can obviously be misguided, it’s still a great number. Under Obama, that number never got above 113. Sure, it dropped 5 points in April, but it’s back up above 121 and is trending upward. These are the same people giving Trump low approval ratings.
While many will point to healthcare for how Trump is unable to get legislation through, that really hasn’t been the case overall. People like to point to the first 100 days of a new president to analyze how effective they’ve been in establishing their platform.
The 100th day occurs at the end of April and it was reported that Trump signed more legislation in that time than any President since Harry Truman. Truman signed 55 bills in his first 100 days after he was elected in 1948 — even though he was actually President since 1945 when FDR died in office.
The next highest after Trump — who signed 28 bills into law in the first 100 days — is President John F. Kennedy, who signed 26. The lowest in that time frame was George W. Bush, who signed only seven. The most ever was FDR, who signed 76 bills in his first 100 days — attempting to save the country from the clutches of the Depression.
While his detractors will say that none of these bills were important, it’s still surprising to hear that Trump had been so busy considering he’s already been called a lame duck. A lot of what he did was essentially undo about as much of his predecessor’s work as possible.
9. Supreme Court
Since the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001, the Executive Branch of government has expanded it’s role and power in an attempt to give the President unilateral power when it comes to fighting the war on terror, or even saving the economy. Most of that power comes from so-called “executive orders.”
Trump used those orders to pass or change more legislation than almost any President since the 1940’s. However, as this all shows, these things can be undone and thus carry a lot less weight than perhaps the most important role a president has — besides commander in chief — and that’s the ability to pick a Supreme Court Justice.
Now, the media did cover the fact that Trump elevated Neil Gorsuch to the Court, but they didn’t cover it as an accomplishment. Rather, it was something that needed to be undone.
There was a lot of anger about that selection since the vacancy that needed filling actually came under his predecessor, Barack Obama. Justice Antonin Scalia died almost a year prior in February of 2016.
Now, there is a standing courtesy that if an opening comes in the last year of a president’s term, they must wait until their successor takes office. Obama attempted to buck that trend by nominating Merrick Garland, but the Republican-controlled Senate ignored the nomination until Trump took over.
It was unheard of because technically President Obama still had the power to nominate a Justice. Gorsuch is a decent selection and not the zany pick many feared Trump would nominate (like Judge Judy).
8. You Down with TPP?
Globalization has erased borders, especially when it comes to trade, and has created a sort of race to the bottom when it comes to which country can offer the cheapest labor. Because of that, the United States has regions like the “Rust Belt”— an ironic nod to the fact that entire towns are filled with abandoned buildings that used to be homes to factories and good paying jobs.
Trump ran against trade agreements that perpetuated this trend. The Trans-Pacific-Partnership, became a symbol of everything that’s wrong with globalization — including but not limited to those who actually got Trump elected. Hillary Clinton was for the TPP before she turned against it.
That hurt her chances, big time, especially considering then current President Obama was described as working “fervently” for the partnership. Once Trump took office one of the first things he did was sign an executive order that officially withdrew the United States from the TPP, even if it still needed to pass a Congress that had members who called the chances of the TPP passing “bleak”.
7. Border Security
If there’s any one community that treats Trump like Voldemort and is so afraid of him that they refuse to even speak his name, it’s the immigrant community (both legal and illegal).The number of illegal border crossing from Mexico to the US dropped over 40 percent in February (from the previous month), Trump’s first full month in office.
Like many points on this list, the numbers were trending that way even before Trump took office. Yet, it has still been labeled the “Trump Effect” by different sources. Even CNN used the term and they’re probably the most outspoken network about Trump.
Now, Trump is struggling to get his wall built; Mexico flat out refused to pay for it and Trump is now threatening to shut down the government that his party controls if funding for the wall isn’t included in the upcoming funding bill. The reality is that he may not even need one because immigrants are so afraid of being raided by Trump.
6. $100 million Dollars to Flint Michigan
The city of Flint, Michigan dealt (and is still dealing) with unemployment. In a financial bind, the city opted for a cheaper way to provide water to its residents.
For years, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department provided tap water sourced from Lake Huron and the Detroit River. But then they found a cheaper solution by simply getting water from the Flint River. To save even more, officials didn’t apply corrosion inhibitors to drinkable water. Those inhibitors protect the aging pipes that provide water to the city.
The pipes eventually broke down. This allowed lead to seep into the city’s water supply, reaching dangerous levels high. This resulted in a crisis that required federal assistance. In Flint, elevated levels of lead in children reached 5 per cent in 2015. A year later, President Obama pledged $100 million dollars to the embattled town.
However, that money took time to reach its target. Because of that delay, the investment technically came from the Trump government. So, he gets a large pat on the back even though this is yet another example of Trump taking credit for things Obama did.
5. Reigning in the EPA?
If you’re on the libertarian side of the aisle you’ll applaud Trump for this. The man he appointed to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, ironically sued the agency multiple times in the past. He had even called for it to be disbanded.
This is Trump’s way of making good on his campaign promise that he would “eliminate the EPA.” He accused it of overstepping its boundaries and making it hard for businesses to thrive with all the smothering regulations — i.e. making it hard to dump their chemicals into the rivers.
Even though Trump’s party, the Republicans control Congress anyway and they’re against the EPA as well, President Trump also signed an executive order that, while vague, helped limit the EPA. The order stated that all heads of branch departments — i.e. Pruitt — should “eliminate all unnecessary agencies and reorganize those that remain to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.”
While the order did give branch directors six months to accomplish this goal, Pruitt got started right away as apparently (at least according to CNN) “reigning in” the EPA was one of Trump’s top priorities when he got into office. Again, depending on where you lay on the political spectrum, this is either an amazing move for small businesses or something quite horrific for public safety and the future of the planet.
One of the larger stories of 2016 was the Dakota Access Pipeline protests by numerous Sioux tribes at the Standing Rock Reservation. The protests drew worldwide attention. They argued the pipeline threatened their environmental and economic wellbeing. They also claimed it destroyed sites of “great historic, religious and cultural significance.”
Despite those legitimate gripes and their very real fear the pipeline would eventually leak — especially near Lake Oahe, which is their main source of water — Trump approved the pipeline. While the pipeline benefits each state it runs through — from Northern North Dakota all the way to Illinois — it also may not have been necessary. The United States is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world.
It makes sense the party that chanted “drill, baby, drill!” at rallies would find no fault with building an oil pipeline that has already spilled multiple times, in and around water sacred to a group of people the United States government has let down time and again. But hey, it’ll save people a fraction of a cent at the pump, so… Worth it?
3. The Housing Market
Back in 2011, a little under three years after the housing market collapsed and almost brought the world economy to its knees, houses were on the market for an average of 84 days. Since last month however, houses only remain on the market for an average of 45 days.
Like most everything on this list, it’s hard to give complete credit to anyone for something that has so many moving parts. For example, zero per cent interest rates helped spur a lot of home purchases. That started years ago, of course, but it’s reached peak levels this year.
Also, housing prices spiked in February — a month after Trump took office — by 5.8 per cent. That was the sharpest rise in prices in almost three years. In Minneapolis, the median price of a home is now $225,000, a 20 per cent surge since the housing implosion in 2008.
Realtors across the country are calling this a “housing boom.” Since this took place under Trump, his followers give him credit for it.
2. Manufacturing Boost
The “Rust Belt” exists because of the flight of manufacturing from the United States — since the late 60’s or early 70’s when globalization started. The Manufacturing Index (MI) is based on a set of surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms, that asks questions about confidence, hiring, profit and loss, etc.
After Trump was elected, the MI reached a level that it hadn’t in almost 35 years. Because it’s based on optimism, a lot like the stock market, it’s easy to see why the index reached that level: Trump signed an executive order reducing regulations on manufacturers.
The Donald ran on an “America First” platform, promising things difficult to accomplish. Things like betraying Republican principles by interfering with the inner workings or decisions of a corporation or company.
Before and after the election, Trump was calling out companies for outsourcing their manufacturing work. It bought him a lot of working class votes — even from unions members who typically vote Democrat. While Trump has gotten some firms to keep their jobs in America, outsourcing is still a real thing.
Some find Trump’s promises hollow, considering he and his family have consistently used foreign manufacturing for the products they sell. And yet, the manufacturing sector is still buying what Trump is selling… For now.
1. Cutting Regulations
Since he took office, Trump has altered or repealed many regulations put in place by his predecessors. Some of the most important include the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act, a regulation put in place as a response to the financial crisis of 2008.
Conservatives loathe regulations so they applauded that move. But that applause turned into outright amazement when Trump signed an executive order that stated that for every new regulation the government creates, two must be removed in its place. That means that eventually the American government could have only one regulation!
Conservatives believe that capitalism makes a lot of government (and regulations) redundant as the “invisible hand” of the “market” will create its own rules and regulations. They believe people’s safety is inherent in a company’s business model; they don’t want to kill their customers — it’s bad for business.
However, history and current reality has shown that while in theory that makes a ton of sense, it never pans out in real life because greed supersedes all else. There are countless examples of this, like the tobacco industry or the companies that know that their coal ash is leaking into drinking water.
Either way, it’s been the most important move Trump made in his young presidency. And, since odds in Vegas have Trump out of office by the end of the year, it could be the most important of his entire administration.