Pence: Things are going great, and steadily greater, in America

REUTERS/Shizuo Kambayashi
Vice President Mike Pence shown addressing members of the U.S. military at Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, last month.

When giving a report to the nation about how things are going, there are speakers who worry about giving too one-sided a view — for fear, perhaps, of losing their credibility, or perhaps even because they believe in a kind of intellectual honesty that requires the acknowledgement of inconvenient facts and of the complexity of major policy changes.

Vice President Mike Pence is in the other category.

At the Minneapolis Convention Center Wednesday morning, Pence told a Minneapolis audience that things are going great in America and are going steadily greater since Donald Trump took office. Pretty much in every way.

I’m kind of the other type. And I don’t always have the best attitude toward the view of reality put forward by the Trump-Pence-ians. But to make up for my bad attitude, I’m just going to transcribe my notes, with a minimum of further snark, and pass along what Pence told the few hundred Minnesotans who came to hear him.

Pence said he was delighted to be with “men and women who voted for a president who passed tax cuts that put America first.”

‘Promises made, promises kept’

He said the story of the past two years, from the campaign to the Trump presidency so far could be summarized thus: “Promises made, promises kept.”

He showered praise on the three Republican members of Congress from Minnesota, Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis and especially Erik Paulsen, whom he described as “standing shoulder to shoulder with President Trump to make good on all his promises.”

He described Minnesota as “home to many American patriots who have fought for the country,” and thanked them for their service. He said that President Trump, who promised to rebuild the military, has made the “largest investment in national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan,” including “the biggest pay raise for the troops in nearly 10 years.” Pence also favors giving veterans access to “world class health care,” which, he said, “they earned.”

He said that police, whom he called “the thin blue line of law enforcement” are entitled to respect.

He said Trump “promised to secure our borders,” has “signed funding for 100 miles of border walls” and will “get the whole thing built.”

He said drug addiction was bad, especially to opioids, and promised that “we will make this the generation that ends” the problem.

In the aftermath of the Florida school shootings, the president promised to strengthen school safety, and, according to Pence, he has done so.

‘Restoring growth and prosperity’

He said President Trump’s economic policies are “restoring growth and prosperity” to America.

He joked that the administration had failed to keep its promise to repeal two federal regulations for every one it adopted. The punch line was his claim that instead, “We have repealed 22 federal regulations for every new federal regulation they’ve put on the books.”

He praised Trump for “withdrawing the United State from the job-killing Paris climate agreement.”

He called the administration’s one big legislative achievement “the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history,” and credited such policies with the creation of “3 million new jobs including 22,000 in the Twin Cities area alone.” He projected that when all of the Trump tax cuts are fully phased in, workers will see “raises of more than 4,500 in Minnesota.”

‘Growth is back; confidence is back’

In summary, he said, “Growth is back; confidence is back; and under Donald trump, America is back.”

He bragged that “we also cut out the cornerstone of Obamacare,” which I gather was a reference to the “individual mandate.”

He mocked Nancy Pelosi for calling the tax cut benefits for middle- and lower-class Americans “crumbs.”

The real strength of this country is not found in the Capitol but “in the hearts and the faith and the work ethic of the American people.”

He saluted Minnesota, which he said “has long been and is today America’s “Star of the North.”

I gather he was referring to prayer when he said that “If you’re inclined, from time to time, to bend the head and bow the knee,” that that will only help the administration. And he closed with this promise:

“We will make America great again.”

The audience seemed to like the speech.

Comments (30)

  1. Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 03/29/2018 - 09:35 am.

    Pence praising Paulsen

    How will that play in Paulsen’s district? Hard to say you are independent of the the president when being described as standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/29/2018 - 09:54 am.

      Praise For What?

      Did Pence point out that Emmer, Lewis, and Paulsen voted to reduce the ability to deduct state and local taxes? How’d that go over with the crowd?

      On the other hand, give credit to Pence for appearing in something of a public forum, not just phoning it in like Paulsen.

      • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/29/2018 - 01:05 pm.

        I’m pretty certain

        It wasn’t a public forum.

        • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 03/29/2018 - 04:32 pm.

          Someone will have video and it was reported in print

          My thinking is that Paulsen likely wishes he was not standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the president.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/29/2018 - 05:54 pm.

        SALT

        I keep wondering if you are paying that much in state and local taxes that this tax cut affects you, aren’t you making a lot of money so the other parts of the cut far out weigh that loss?

        • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 03/30/2018 - 09:28 am.

          Good question

          It might depend upon the source of your income, amount of deductible medical expenses, amount of charitable donations, and a bunch of other factors. I am interested in an answer to your question, but am not the person who can answer it. I do suspect that like most things, the answer is “it depends.”

  2. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/29/2018 - 11:08 am.

    Thank you for that calm recitation of what was said.

    Pence is right. The American economy is full throttle; employers are opening up thousands of new jobs. Even high tax, high regulation states that have seen employers leave, like Minnesota, are enjoying some growth.

    Congress has attempted to throttle Trump’s border protection plans, but I remain confident he will find ways to dance around their smokescreen and get the much needed wall built; it is what he was elected to do.

    I, along with most Americans, am pleased to hear how effectively our front line troops in ICE have begun sending illegal immigrants back home. Most especially, they have had great success in states where leftists are attempting to shield even those convicted of violent crimes from deportation.

    I’m just anxious to see Trump seat another Constitutional conservative on SCOTUS. It will be all he needs to secure his legacy as a great American leader.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/29/2018 - 11:51 am.

      A note

      ICE agents are not members of the military (troops), even if they act like they are.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 03/29/2018 - 12:33 pm.

      “Most” Americans think Trump is a failure.

      Of course “most” Americans know that this is Obama’s economy too.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/29/2018 - 04:10 pm.

        Oh, right…the Obama tax cuts and overhaul.

        Wait, What?

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/29/2018 - 04:23 pm.

        No one

        Especially of they are in business, thinks this Obama’s economy any more. It has been unleashed from his poilicies.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/29/2018 - 05:15 pm.

          FRED

          Suggest that you go there and take a look at the data.
          Various economic activity graphs show no change around 2016 — just a continuation of the same patterns.
          https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1
          The only discontinuity is the dip at the 2008 recession, which predates Obama.

          • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/29/2018 - 05:47 pm.

            K

            Gdp yes we know, virtually every other indicator better, not just the stock market. Gdp estimates for half of 2018 predicted to be much higher than any in over 10 years.finally starting to see some wage increases for first time in forever.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 03/29/2018 - 01:47 pm.

      Speak for yourself

      “I, along with most Americans, am pleased to hear how effectively our front line troops in ICE have begun sending illegal immigrants back home.”

      Citation needed for such an outrageous claim.

    • Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 03/29/2018 - 01:52 pm.

      Pence had both feet on the brakes while Obama

      was in office. So did all the other conservatives. Yet they could not prevent the US economy from growing moderately over the eight years Obama was in office. Imagine what could have happened if they actually supported the people for once….

      This is merely a continuation of Obama’s growing economy, but now there is a major twist. Massive deficits for the indefinite future–which means continuously increasing taxes to pay the now-increasing interest rates on new debt issued to replace old debt (old debt = lower interest rates, new debt = higher interest rates). None of that increase in taxes is included in the budget projections because those projections stop at ten years. Then add in the additional costs of more wars, and things become “interesting”.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/29/2018 - 04:20 pm.

        Obama

        Tied as much dead weight to the economy as he could thus he finishes with the lowest growth rate in presidential history. The world partially recovered from a world wide recession, obama cant take credit for it.

        • Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 03/30/2018 - 11:09 am.

          Nice try, but the right tied all their “dead weight” to

          the US economy and almost destroyed it. Remember the GWB+Cheney “Great Recession”? Or is that something “too hard” to discuss? LOL !!!

          Employment was *negative* over their eight years in control of the US economy (Jan 2002 – Dec 2009), as those are their economic policy years. Remember, the right also had control of Congress most of those same years. Who says employment was bad? The US govt official employment statistics (BLS.gov) show employment at 130,852,000 in Jan 2002, but at 129,781,000 in Dec 2009. Eight years, NEGATIVE EMPLOYMENT GROWTH. First time in history there was negative employment over a presidential term. More importantly, where did all the “new workers” get counted? There were 16-million new workers (2-million/yr) for 8 yrs–so where did they go? This is *basic* economics, and you have not accounted for the errors pointed out.

          Jan 2002: 8,182,000 *counted* unemployed
          Dec 2009: 15,098,000 *counted* unemployed

          Now for the real fun:
          *counted* unemployed 2002: 8,182,000
          *counted* employed…..2002: 130,852,000
          Total workforce 2002…………: 139,034,000

          *counted* unemployed 2009: 15 098,000
          *counted* employed…..2009: 129,781,000
          Total workforce 2009…………: 144,879,000

          Over 8 yrs, the US workforce should add 16-million additional workers (2-million/yr).
          It only added 5-million TOTAL, with UNEMPLOYED growing by a *counted* almost 7-million.
          Where are the “missing” 11-million US workers? Forget the “discouraged worker” info from BLS because that did not start until 2008–and is less than 1-million in Dec 2009. The BLS figures show the “discouraged worker” count GROWING from when it began in Jan 2008 through Dec 2010, then essentially continuously getting smaller every month. Now down to 373k.

          The US workforce should be about 155-million in Dec 2009. It is only *almost* 145-million. Explain the 10+million worker shortfall. Remember: I have included the “unemployed” both times (the unemployed ARE part of the workforce. They are just “not employed at the moment”, which is Dec 2009).

          • Submitted by Howard Miller on 04/01/2018 - 10:09 pm.

            without deep diving in labor stats …

            continued automation of work
            “Walmart” jobs replace higher pay jobs that disappeared
            aging population
            health care problems unaddressed
            gross income inequality, where those who own got most of the economic gains

  3. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 03/29/2018 - 11:11 am.

    Rebuttal??

    OK. Now where is the claim by claim rebuttal, with actual statistics, etc., that we expect from you.?Snarky is good if it serves a purpose.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/29/2018 - 11:15 am.

    English teachers

    …looking for a living example of the term “sycophant” need look no further than the Vice-President. At least in public speech, he appears to share the same delusions as the Current Occupant. It’s a common condition among Vice-Presidents, for better or worse, that they become cheerleaders for the President.

    Being in thrall to the Current Occupant might make a transition easier for the country – not better, but at least easier – should the Mueller investigation show that the Current Occupant was elected, in part, through the dedicated efforts of the Russian government in collaboration with the Trump campaign. It may well be that there was “no collusion,” as the Current Occupant keeps saying, even when no one asks him that question, but should collusion be exposed, it’s an outcome that could/should lead to impeachment, at which point Republicans in the Senate might have to acquire a semblance of ethics, and perhaps a backbone. There’s a possibility, then, that Mr. Pence may get much better acquainted with the Oval Office.

    That would be a good time, at least as good as the present, to check in on his claims that this is apparently the best of all possible worlds.

  5. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/29/2018 - 12:13 pm.

    Delivering on all his promises?

    Revenue neutral tax reform where the primary beneficiary is the American middle class is the primary brneficiary.

    Bait and switch. Not revenue neutral, not reform but just tax cuts primarily benefiting large businesses and the billionaire class.

    Mexico wall paid for by Mexico.

    Flop. Mexico is paying nothing, costs are way above expectations, Congress isn’t finding it and immigrants we want have declined interest in coming here.

    I could go through all the promises and virtually none of has been done or done well.

    What the Trump has done us promote anger, fear and greed. Maybe what Pence is delivering on those things he say that were true as opposed to his lies.

  6. Submitted by Howard Miller on 03/29/2018 - 04:55 pm.

    red meat for carnivores on the political right

    Pence has a remarkable talent for saying stuff that seems other-worldly … like his vision isn’t in the room at all. Not sure how much reality Pence’s remarks are anchored to, but folks on the right will like it, folks like me on the left won’t pay much attention. Not until he replaces Mr. Trump as potus.

  7. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/30/2018 - 08:39 pm.

    Like Pence…

    I have nothing productive to add. But I think his won’t be alone without his wife present is hilarious. And this guy will be in charge when the other one goes. I guess no singular meetings with any women will making governing quite problematic. But I suppose that would just be a start of the problems with his governing. I wonder who would be his chief propagandist ?

  8. Submitted by PAUL KWIECINSKI on 04/01/2018 - 09:04 am.

    Access?

    Why shouldn’t every American have access to “world-class healthcare?”

  9. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/03/2018 - 08:50 am.

    Everything is so much better with a deep-reach command economy where the guy in power picks winners and losers in employees and corporations.

    Whooda thunk that random blusterings could lead to financial consequences.

    Nope, nothing authoritarian there to see.

    And certainly not a matter of concern who have 401ks

  10. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/03/2018 - 01:01 pm.

    Well then

    The stock market in in arrhythmia. That should have been obvious before it started it’s fluctuations. It’s a game played by the rich so they don’t mind. Their potential for more wealth comes when it drops, not so much when it goes steadily upwards.

    More and more, workers are contract, not permanent. That creates a system where the unemployment figures lie. As of course do employment figures. The point is these are not permanent workers but are considered permanent by Unemployment and Employment figures once the worker has signed with a Contract House (‘Employment’ Company). Most contract workers will sign up with several Contract Houses for those times where they find themselves unemployed once a project is finished in their current employment.

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