Donald Trump won’t be in the Oval Office until January, but the preliminary returns on his election are coming in. The mere possibility of change is fueling economic optimism.

That’s not shocking, given the economically harmful policies of the Obama administration. A Hillary Clinton administration was expected to be a continuation of those policies, or worse. But Trump’s election means a clean break is now likely, and investors are responding favorably.

Since Trump’s election, the Dow Jones industrial average rose above 19,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 traded over 2,200 for the first time. And the Nasdaq composite traded at record highs.

In an interview with CNBC, Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, credited those gains in part to “moving from an interest rate-driven market into an earnings-driven market.” But he stressed that “something most people are missing is we’re getting a more business-friendly administration.”

In an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt recently predicted, “Washington is going to be less consequential under Trump,” predicting an era of “regulatory rollback.”

Regulatory uncertainty has been the chief impediment to economic growth in recent years, Pruitt said, noting that Washington has been “dictating to the states, dictating to business, dictating to industry, sometimes outside of the Constitution and outside the congressional statute.”

That theme of regulatory rollback is being stressed by Trump. In a recent video message outlining his policy plans for the first 100 days of his administration, the president-elect said his transition team is working on a “list of executive actions we can take on Day One to restore our laws and bring back our jobs.”

That list includes Trump’s promise to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy — including shale energy and clean coal — creating many millions of high-paying jobs.” He also promised, “On regulation, I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated, it’s so important.”

The Obama administration’s financial regulations have decimated community banks and severely restricted entrepreneurs’ access to capital. Pruitt believes a rollback of those policies will benefit job creation. A business that can’t get a loan can’t create jobs.

Most of all, Pruitt argues that the capriciousness of federal regulators during the Obama era impeded job creation. He says the “greatest opportunity” presented by the new administration is to “provide certainty to the business industries across this county that they know what’s going to be expected of them, and we’re going to become less onerous out of Washington and more trusting of the states and trusting the business.”

Admittedly, not all of Trump’s priorities are as encouraging. There’s reason for concern regarding his polices’ potential impact on trade, and his focus on infrastructure spending could easily turn into a wasteful boondoggle.

But at this point there’s more reason for optimism than pessimism. If fulfilled, Trump’s promise of less regulation will translate into more U.S. job growth. For the first time in years, Americans have justified reason for hope.


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