by Investor’s Business Daily
Six months into his first term, President Trump’s headline achievements are often overshadowed by the media’s daily assault on the White House. I hear the misgivings of my tech industry colleagues, but let’s face facts: By objective measures, Trump is fulfilling his famous campaign promise to “Make America Great Again.”
In fact, I see eight signs that we are on the right track:
The stock market continues to break records. The record-high Nasdaq is up 18% this year. The S&P 500′s Tech Sector index hit a record high not seen since its bubble in 2000. And the Dow Jones industrial average continues to enjoy new highs.
The job market is heating up. The unemployment rate fell from 4.8% in October to 4.4% in June. This year, the civilian labor force participation rate hit 160 million Americans, a record never once reached in eight years under President Obama. And Trump set this record without harmful record deficits or the Federal Reserve pumping trillions of dollars into the economy.
See Donald Trump’s Latest Job Approval Ratings
Wages are rising. For the first time in seven years, the working class saw a jump in pay. According to Department of Labor data released on July 19, average pay for the lowest-income Americans went up 3.4% over 2016. We see the effects of this increasingly strong labor force here at the Consumer Technology Association. We win multiple awards as a great place to work and we pay competitive salaries, but in recent months we have had to pay more to lure the best people to work for us.
Businesses are investing more in the U.S. Draconian federal rules are on the way out. Businesses are booming, thanks to the stock market and potential for tax reform. And the president’s push for U.S. investment is being taken seriously, prompting many American and even some foreign companies to announce major U.S. investments.
Our foreign positioning has improved. Our allies are realizing that Uncle Sam has limits to his generosity. Despite some political bluster, President Trump has kept our commitment to NATO while raising pressure on other countries to keep their commitments to the alliance.
And our relationship with key countries continues to improve. Through personal diplomacy, hard work and a strong team, Trump has developed relationships with leaders around the world in an effort to strengthen ties and avoid conflict.
Trade policy and trade agreements can improve. Dropping out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seems isolationist and contrary to our interests. Indeed, TPP signatories are already flirting with China, which is seeking to fill the void the U.S. left after withdrawing from the deal.
But for now, we can focus on the positive by fine-tuning specific problem areas of international trade that have long flummoxed negotiators. The NAFTA renegotiation will likely include many TPP provisions, like those on digital trade and the internet economy. If it moves forward, NAFTA could then be extended to other previous TPP partners.
And although no free trade agreement with Great Britain could be finalized until after their exit from the EU, the early interest in such an agreement signals potential wider benefits. Tech deals with the EU that would halt their fines and restrictions on our greatest tech companies should become a priority — and a deal with our closest friend Great Britain will be a signature achievement from Trump.
Americans are safer and more secure. Other than a nuclear North Korea, a problem kicked down the road by the last few presidents, Americans today enjoy a safer world and stronger economy. The Mideast is no longer boiling over, ISIS is dying, Asia is stabilizing and Europe is expecting less money from us.
America is fostering innovative new technologies. The Trump administration is preparing for the future by focusing on new technologies, such as self-driving vehicles, drones, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. And his team is thinking about how to use these technologies to encourage U.S. manufacturing and infrastructure. The administration’s decision to use biometric screenings to track U.S. visitors using visas is another step that will ensure American safety through the use of technology.
However, several challenges remain: Trump has not yet fulfilled his potential as a dealmaker with Congress. The Treasury is slated to run out of funds by the first half of October, and significant legislative achievements, especially with the Democratic resistance movement on one side and the Freedom Caucus on the other, will be difficult.
Trump’s newsworthy tweets and a leaky White House, as well as his tough positions on immigration, the border wall, and threats to companies and other countries, may be too much fodder for the media to resist. But get past the bravado, the drama and the trivialities – the fact is that under President Trump, Americans are safer and more prosperous than at any time in the past decade.
The path to greatness is long, but we’re heading in the right direction under President Trump.
Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling books, “Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses” and “The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream”. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro