As President Trump looks ahead at the NATO summit in London, it might be helpful to look back — both for historical perspective and inspiration.
In stark contrast to the malaise which defined the 1970s under President Carter, President Reagan entirely changed America’s narrative with the language he used. He boldly and proudly proclaimed, “It’s morning in America” and “America’s best days are yet ahead.”
This optimistic language was delivered amidst high taxes, high unemployment, sky high inflation, and the overwhelming belief that this was as good as things could get in America. In actuality, nothing had changed statistically on Jan. 20, 1981, but the perception changed and that made all the difference in the world. That Reagan optimism, along with smart policies, launched a period of unprecedented economic growth in the United States, which became an example — and a blueprint — for the world in the 1980s.
Of course, the direction and the actions Reagan took were met with skepticism and doubt by his staunchest domestic critics. They mocked his economic policy as “trickle down economics” or “Reaganomics.” Internationally, when he outlined his economic plan, the leaders of other industrialized nations were unimpressed. But by 1983, at the G-7 Summit in Williamsburg, Virginia, no one was mocking anymore, and West Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl asked Reagan, “Tell us about the American miracle.” I wonder if a similar conversation will happen with President Trump at the NATO Summit in London. It should.
Like the Reagan economy, three years into the Trump presidency the American economy is booming. We are experiencing historic low unemployment across every demographic sector, rising wages, lower taxes, lessened regulations, energy independence, and a record-breaking stock market. President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” posture has engendered loyalty from the Rust Belt to the Heartland to the Border, and has put people back to work in record numbers.
Taking a page from the Reagan playbook, President Trump has tried to get government off the backs of the American people and allowed them to once again innovate, invest, expand, and excel by cutting tax rates and cutting red tape, eliminating government obstacles, and minimizing bureaucratic interference.
When President Reagan was asked about his economic miracle, he highlighted the essential element of economic success: freedom. By reducing government’s role in their lives, Americans had greater freedom to build the lives they wanted for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities. Reagan proved that the full bounty and blessings of liberty occur when less faith is put in the dictates and mandates of government and more faith is put in individuals’ ability to innovate, create, and achieve.
Enter the 2016 Brexit national referendum in the United Kingdom. Over 17 million voters decided in favor of national sovereignty, self-governance, and independence. It was not a vote of doubt or fear, but a vote of confidence and a declaration to the world that the people of the U.K. wanted to leave the European Union. It was unapologetically positive and an optimistic vote of pride. Yet the global narrative surrounding Brexit is overwhelmingly negative. It is full of predictions of economic catastrophe, warnings of fear of the unknown, and a one-sided point of view steeped in cynicism and doubt.
What if the narrative changed? Is it possible the outcome would also change? When learning to ski you are told you will hit what you focus on — so look downhill and never even look at the trees to the side! Is it possible the naysayers have spent too much time looking at the trees lining the pathway to Brexit rather than the wide open slope in front of them?
Recently, I was in London and couldn’t help but notice that the television constantly ran bold graphics in the colors of the E.U. flag that said “Brexit Crisis.” How would the conversation change if instead they showed the Union Jack and splashed the headline “Brexit Opportunity”? If the language changed would the perception change? Could the outcome change? In 1981 it did with Ronald Reagan and led to the largest economic peacetime expansion in U.S. history, which inspired the current economic boom in the U.S.
The U.K. should be ready to embrace a bright and prosperous future of success and sovereignty beginning on Jan. 31, 2020. I hope that President Trump brings Reagan’s economic blueprint of “the American miracle” with him to the NATO summit, along with a message of optimism, hope, and freedom. It can be “morning in the United Kingdom again.”
Peggy Grande (@Peggy_Grande) is the chair of World for Brexit and author of “The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final Years.” She was the executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1989 to 1999 and serves on the National Board of the Royal Commonwealth Society of the USA.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.