Trump Recounts Cuts in Taxes, Regulations in First ‘State of the Union’ Speech

Published February 5, 2018

At the first State of the Union address of his presidency, President Donald Trump reviewed his administration’s 2017 accomplishments, including a historic tax relief bill and significant regulatory reform, in addition to citing numerous Americans for acts of courage, heroism, and kindness toward others.

At the speech, Trump said his administration has worked to restore all Americans’ faith and optimism.

“Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People, and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams,” Trump said. “That night, our new administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.”

“Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission to make America great again for all Americans,” Trump said.

Sticking to His Guns

Tim Huelskamp, president of The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says the speech demonstrated Trump’s commitment to advancing free-market reforms.

“The Trump administration does not want to stand still; they want to keep moving,” Huelskamp said. “For the last 12 months, members of Congress relentlessly attacked the Trump administration, presuming that he would back off his free-market conservative ideas, but Donald Trump articulated, ‘No, this is what I ran on.'”

Huelskamp says he approves of Trump’s focus on promoting prosperity and reforming regulations.

“I liked the victory lap, specifically on the economic growth packages,” Huelskamp said. “We didn’t ask for those, and it was good to see those. It was good for him to highlight his reduced regulations. There were a lot of good points and things we’ve been supportive of over the last 12 months.”

Praises Regulatory Record

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says regulatory reform has been a highlight of the Trump administration.

“He called for ‘two regulations out and one regulation in,” Crews said. “The administration claims success there, and they did that. They got rid of 67, while adding a fraction of that. They added three significant ones.

“The efforts of the administration to at least freeze regulation, and their attempts to roll back some of what’s been on the books, have been very important and useful to economic recovery,” Crews said.

Hopes for State-Led Plan

Huelskamp says he hopes the infrastructure plan Trump called for in the State of the Union speech will allow states to lead, instead of being commanded by the national government.

“My hope would be that when one is introduced and/or passed that it would certainly focus on where Heartland is focused, and that’s leaving the decisions to state and local governments,” Huelskamp said. “I would hope that would be developed by state and local authorities rather than someone in Washington. My hope would also be that it would not have a tax increase. … There are folks out there pushing for tax increases.”

Crews says Trump’s work on streamlining the project approval process in 2017 may be a clue to what his plan for infrastructure will look like.

“What Trump has done in the past year on infrastructure is to say to the private sector that what we want to do is speed up permitting, rather than having these things go sequentially, one-by-one,” Crews said. “By improving permits, it’s going to start the clocks all at the same time.

“Those kinds of things show economic recovery,” Crews said. “He was able to showcase and highlight that. That was one of the big points he said where we could have bipartisanship … to get reforms done.”