White House

Trump challenges America to 'think big' (and he might just succeed)

President Trump details challenges he inherited, calls for tax and health care reform

 

In Tuesday night’s address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump appealed to our best. To our heroes. To our self-sacrificing warriors and police. To our innovators who cure diseases and create amazing technologies. To our love for our nation, our children and each other. He ended by reminding us that we bleed the same blood, salute the same flag and are made by the same God.

While his inaugural address was an appeal to his base, Trump received repeated applause and even standing ovations from many Democrats on Tuesday night – including Senator Bernie Sanders.

He set the course to fulfill his campaign promises, and he presented them in a way that sounded reasonable and worthy of bipartisan support.

Although many people are familiar with Trump's "The Art of the Deal," this was a speech right out of the inspirational talks he describes in his lesser-known book, "Think Big."

He challenged our nation to shift paradigms, much as he does in the book.  After starting strong by condemning hate crimes, he discussed the scourge of addiction, promising to block the flow of illegal drugs while helping those fighting addictions. He spoke of increased investment in our military and infrastructure.

Trump’s embrace of a merit-based immigration system is at long last a rational strategy Americans can embrace, as it will benefit our economy and block illegal immigrants who depend upon the taxes of hard-working Americans.

He offered a new immigration system similar to what Australia and Canada have in place today. This important shift is vital to the consumer technology industry – a vibrant sector of our economy that supports more than 15 million American jobs and relies on high-skilled immigrants to compete globally.

In addition to a strong workforce, business requires reliable infrastructure. Trump again voiced his support for rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure – a repeated promise on the campaign trail that should garner bipartisan support.

He recognized the value of both private and public money to fund these projects. His plan to reduce the corporate tax rate is welcomed by the business community, but his reforms should avoid a border adjustment tax – a regressive measure which will harm working class and low-income Americans—the very groups Trump seeks to aid and champion the most.

While he didn't mention dumping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the president remained critical of trade. And his message on economic nationalism was clear: Under the Trump administration, it is every country for itself. The role of the United States as a leader of the free world promoting global stability is over, or at least on hold.

As Trump continues to develop his ambitious trade agenda, he must consider issues critical to our globally dominant technology industry – such as removing barriers to trade – to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive.

And President Trump is seeking to “think big” and fundamentally change the direction of the United States. Strong parts of his message appealed to both parties.

However, the devil is in the details. Although he criticized his predecessor for doubling the debt, he presented many expensive proposals without explaining how they would be funded. His only mention of costs restated the obvious: Drug companies are overcharging Americans. In the weeks to come, we need him to expand his vision to include a plan for tax reform that doesn’t punish success and instead promotes growth.

President Trump took a big step toward uniting our country with Tuesday night’s address.

His recognition of U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owen’s sacrifice, and the heartfelt response of his widow, Carryn, was the emotional highlight of Tuesday’s speech.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who teared up seeing Owen’s widow sitting next to First Lady Melania Trump.

If President Trump continues to focus on the issues which unite us as Americans, he can be a truly great president of a truly great nation.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and a NYT best-selling author.