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Deroy Murdock: This key question could keep Congress Republican

September 13. 2018 11:13PM

“ARE YOU BETTER OFF now than you were two years ago?”

Republicans should ask voters this key question during the 2018 midterms. This would shift the debate from the childish and shrill Resistance to the mature and optimistic topic of results. By nearly any measure, Washington’s unified Republican government has improved things for every American.

The economy is roaring, thanks to Republican public policy. Obama’s “You didn’t build that,” anti-business hectoring has been replaced by gratitude. For each new federal regulation, 22 asphyxiating rules have been scrapped. And $1.5 trillion in GOP tax cuts have supplied widespread relief and concrete incentives to work and produce — despite unanimous Democratic opposition.

Two years ago, the economy was gasping. GDP growth for the second quarter of 2016 was 2.3 percent and a 1.9 percent average for that year’s first half. For 2018, the analogous figures are 4.2 percent and 3.2 percent. This quarter’s expansion is exactly twice Obama’s eight-year, 2.1 percent average. Democrats urged Americans to resign themselves to Obama’s sluggish “new normal.” Two years later, Democrats’ surrender to stagnation has succumbed to Republicans’ restoration of robustness.

Capital markets are soaring, at or near record highs. Two years ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,328. On Sept. 12, the Dow closed at 25,998 — a 42 percent increase. Similarly, the NASDAQ is up 53 percent, and the S&P 500 has climbed 34 percent.

Median household income was $60,309 in 2016. By 2017, as the Census Bureau data showed Wednesday, it reached a record $61,372 — up an inflation-adjusted 1.8 percent.

Unemployment in August 2016 was 4.9 percent. Last month, it fell to 3.9 percent. Joblessness also improved for adult women, blacks, Hispanics, teenagers, and those without high school diplomas.

Two years ago, 263,000 applied for initial jobless benefits. On Sept. 1, that figure plunged to 203,000 — the lowest since December 1969.

In August 2016, the National Federation of Independent Business’s Index of Small Business Optimism was 94.4. In August 2018, it hit a record 108.8, topping its previous, Reagan-era peak of 108 in July 1983.

Overseas, the GOP ditched Obama’s “lead from behind” policies of apology and appeasement. Two years later, Republican peace through strength advances American security.

On Sept. 10, 2016, North Korea exploded its second nuclear-test weapon in that year alone. The Hermit Kingdom also test-fired a ballistic missile that Aug. 24, at least the eighth such launch through that date in 2016. Two years later, Little Rocket Man’s atomic tests have stopped. His rockets neither fly across the Pacific, nor did they roll across Kim Il Sung Square during last Sunday’s 70th anniversary parade. Instead, Washington and Pyongyang are negotiating the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Kim’s former U.S. hostages are back home, as are the remains of many GIs killed in the Korean War.

Obama’s air-freight delivery of $400 million in laundered Swiss francs to an Iranian-government jet at Geneva’s airport foreshadowed his unfreezing of another $115 billion in financial assets claimed by Earth’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. Today, Iran struggles to finance radical-Islamic bloodshed, thanks to tough new sanctions.

Obama let most of America’s prosperous NATO allies free-ride atop the Pentagon budget. President Donald J. Trump’s tough-but-fair diplomacy finally has NATO members paying more for collective safety — ultimately their treaty commitment of 2 percent of GDP.

Democrats would rather discuss anything but this good news. They contend that President Trump is too mentally ill to govern. The GOP should look past the unhinged, growingly radical, increasingly violent Democratic Left. Instead, they should remind voters how Republicans have made America great again.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and an emeritus media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

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