By Investor’s Business Daily
2016 Elections: Anyone who’d hoped to get a sense from the Republican National Convention about how Donald Trump would get the economy moving again after eight years of Obama-led stagnation has so far been sorely disappointed. The topic has barely been mentioned.
Trump and the convention organizers cleverly labeled each night of the convention. Tuesday’s was supposed to be about “Making America Work Again.” You’d think Trump would have plenty of say about this, and would be able to line up an array of top-flight speakers who could explain what’ wrong with the economy and how he’s going to go about fixing it.
There’s plenty of material to work with. Under President Obama, wages have flatlined, economic optimism is still under water, the poverty rate is up, and millions have given up looking for work and have become newly dependent on federal programs.
Now Obama is arguing that this is the best we can expect out of the U.S. economy — forecasting GDP growth barely above 2% a year as far as the eye can see. You can bet that his fellow Democrats will devote enormous time and resources at their convention next week describing how they plan to redistribute this pie — by making college free, raising the minimum wage, handing out more government goodies and getting the “top 1%” to pay for it all. You can also be sure that they will paint Trump and the GOP as cold, heartless bastards who are just looking out for their wealthy friends.
So what is Trump’s counter to this? What’s his plan to grow the economy faster than a measly 2%? To help businesses feel that it’s safe and affordable to add to their workforce? To fix the tax code? To revive the economy’s hibernating prosperity? Nobody has said anything yet.
Instead, as IBD pointed out, for the most part the only business people on the stage during the convention’s first two nights have been either those who had nothing to say at all, or who owe everything to Trump himself.
In fact, it wasn’t until the last speaker on Tuesday night when anyone meaningfully brought up the struggles of running a small business against an increasingly imperious central government. Kimberlin Brown, a former soap opera star and now a small-business owner, talked about how “out-of-control unreasonable government regulations … needlessly add costs to doing business and tie us up in red tape” and made the case that it will take someone like Trump to get the country out of the doldrums.
There are a few more business leaders scheduled to talk at during the GOP convention’s final two days. But if the contentless trend continues, it will be a huge lost opportunity for Republicans to articulate a vision for robust economic growth at a time when millions are tuning in.
The GOP should be talking about how strong growth is possible, but only by lifting the shackles of government. The party should be explaining why tax reform is vital to unleashing the economy’s potential, and bring businesses and jobs back to the U.S. And they should be making the case for why voters, if they want to see a return to prosperity, must reject the big-government promises that Democrats will be making next week and up to the November elections.
Plenty of speakers in Cleveland have talked about the stakes of this election. But so far they haven’t given voters a clear reason to choose Republican economic policies over the Democrats’.