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“The free market has been sorting it out,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence said last week, “and America’s been losing,”

Pence is a smart conservative, and he knows that the Trump administration will never make America great again with bribes and threats against every company that ponders exporting its jobs over the southern border to Mexico. Crony corporatism of that sort can secure wins here and there, but it won’t change the economy or make the working classes better off.

Protectionism won’t win the future, either. President-elect Trump’s pick for commerce secretary has long championed tariffs to protect domestic manufacturers. There are no doubt good intentions behind Trump’s trade instincts; he wants to help the forgotten man, the Rust Belt denizen with no college degree whose hopes of high, steady wages were dashed by economic forces beyond his or her control.

But there is an awful lot of low-hanging fruit for Trump to pick if he wants to help those voters, such as in the Midwest, who won him the White House. There are policies that would make America a place companies flock toward rather than leave. To his credit, Trump brought up the subject when he spoke this week in Indianapolis.

The American job market has been itching to get moving again for at least five years. But President Obama hobbled it with spools of extra red tape when the need was, rather, to cut those restraints and let the economy rip. Trump could make this happen quickly.

Without any help from Democrats, he and Republicans in Congress will immediately be able to scrap several rules, beginning with those that have been finalized since May. Trump can also abandon rules, such as punitive new overtime regulations, that are in the works or tied up the courts. Throwing them overboard and letting them sink unlamented from sight would make it clear that America is open for business again.

This could mean the end of several crushing regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s overtime rule, anti-fracking rules and at least one anti-coal measure. That’s just the beginning. Trump could instantly blunt some of the pain being caused by Obamacare regulations in advance of full repeal of the underlying and unloved law.

While lower labor costs abroad will always draw businesses away, lower energy costs at home can draw them back.

In spite of many of Obama’s efforts, America has become the world’s leader in combined oil and natural gas production. It is close to taking the top slot as the biggest oil producer on the planet.

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If manufacturers can be confident of low energy costs long term, they’ll set up shop here. If Trump issues permits for a few pipelines and reopens federal lands to drilling, he can create thousands of jobs without spending a dime, and make this country a more attractive place for foreign companies to manufacture their products.

Both Keystone and the North Dakota Access Pipelines promise to strengthen the energy sector, facilitating domestic sales and even exports of oil and natural gas.

And here’s a trade deal that fits into Trumpism: A bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade pact. This will expand our trade with the world’s fifth-largest economy as it retrieves its independence from Europe. Trump’s objections to NAFTA don’t apply to a U.S.-U.K. trade deal, as conservative British politician and Washington Examiner columnist Dan Hannan explained on our pages: “Our wage levels are similar, and we are hardly in competition when it comes to what is left of heavy industry. Does anyone seriously imagine steel mills relocating from Dearborn, Mich., to Corby, Northamptonshire?”

Finally, Trump can follow through on something long promised but never delivered — a revenue-neutral corporate tax reform that closes loopholes and brings rates below those of other countries. American-based multinationals are loath to repatriate profits they earn abroad and invest them at home because they face punishing double taxation at the world’s highest corporate rate.

Trump’s plan already includes amnesty for bringing this money back home. This vast reservoir of capital would, too, be an overnight game-changer for job creation.

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Throughout this election, we have decried Trump’s protectionist rhetoric as unwise and potentially damaging to the economy if put into effect. And we are not encouraged that his first big victory was a love affair financed by corporate welfare.

But, as the above catalog makes clear, there are enough policies to which Trump subscribes to make America boom again, to the point that he can abandon the bad ideas with which he appealed to disgruntled working-class voters. Obama has done so much to prevent the economy from springing forward that Trump’s first 100 days have the potential to be the most productive and positive for the economy of any presidency in recent memory.

If he can reduce the regulatory burden, lower energy costs and bring down America’s highest-in-the-world corporate tax rate, he won’t have to threaten or bribe the next Carrier. It will, rather, be eagerly bringing its plants from Mexico to the U.S. of its own accord.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

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