Sen. John Thune
Two years ago, when Republicans took control of the White House and Congress, we promised the American people that growing the economy was going to be our top priority, and we wasted no time getting to work.
We knew the American people were all too familiar with an economy that was completely stuck in neutral. It wasn’t working to its potential, and there were too many politicians in Washington who seemed content with the status quo.
Workers and businesses were facing too many obstacles. Families were seeing tighter budgets and flattening paychecks. Aside from the legislative complacency that got us there, much of the economic stagnation was the result of overly burdensome federal regulations and a tax code that was working against American taxpayers. So, it was time for a new approach.
We set our sights on cutting government red tape – the kinds of heavy-handed regulations that can affect people throughout the country, including South Dakota, but are dreamed up by inside-the-Beltway Washington bureaucrats. We used a congressional oversight tool (a record number of times, I might add) to roll back more than one dozen Obama-era regulations that were holding people and businesses back from potential growth and opportunity.
Those rollbacks, plus complementary actions by the Trump administration, which has been a true partner in this effort, have saved the American people at least $50 billion in regulatory costs in the last year and a half alone. That’s real relief that will help businesses free up time and money that can be used more efficiently and effectively to grow their operations and hire more workers.
Reforming our nation’s outdated tax code was another step toward getting the economy growing again. Our once-in-a-generation effort to modernize the tax code resulted in lower rates across the board. It doubled the child tax credit and nearly doubled the standard deduction. Americans have already seen some of this relief in their paychecks, and many of them will see more of it when they file their tax returns early next year.
We also lowered the corporate tax rate so it is now more in line with our global competitors and expanded business owners’ ability to recover costs from investments they make in their operations more quickly, which, again, frees up cash that can be reinvested in a business and its employees.
Today, the American people are seeing the results of the promises we made and, more importantly, the promises we kept.
According to recent estimates, the economy grew by 3.5 in the third quarter of 2018 alone. Not only does that far exceed the anemic economic growth the United States had grown accustomed to under the previous administration, but it’s also right in line with historic trends and puts us on pace for a strong yearly growth rate.
In the months after tax reform became law, nearly 2 million jobs have been created, wages and incomes are on the rise, and the unemployment rate is at a historic low, which means more Americans are earning a paycheck (and in many cases, a bigger one). In fact, the unemployment rate is so low that you’d have to go back to 1969, the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, to find similar figures.
For businesses, investments and optimism are on the rise and so is consumer confidence.
A growing economy is good for businesses, workers, and consumers, which is why it was so important to congressional Republicans to implement the pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda we’d promised to pursue.
There’s no limit to what the economy can do when the heavy hand of government is lifted and when it’s empowered with the tools it needs to grow and expand. Hopefully this is just the beginning.