Sen. John Thune
In 2016, when I asked South Dakotans for the opportunity to serve another term as their U.S. senator, I told them I wanted to pursue a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that put them and the rest of the American people first. At the time, the economy had been stuck in neutral for nearly a decade, and the previous administration seemed unwilling to get it back in gear. Fortunately, though, things have changed.
For the last 19 months, the Republican-led Congress has been working with the president and his administration to help turn the economy around. We’ve passed and the president has signed bill after bill, which has given businesses and taxpayers additional tools and opportunities to succeed and helped relieve the burden of unnecessary government red tape. As a result, the economy is now on a much stronger, more successful path.
Don’t take my word for it, though. The numbers speak for themselves.
From April through June of this year, the economy grew by more than 4 percent, which exceeded many expectations. What does 4 percent growth actually mean, though? Well, it means the Republican economic agenda is working. For perspective, some economists had written-off numbers like that, predicting a new normal of 1-2 percent annual growth – the kind of growth we saw during the entirety of the Obama administration. Republicans in Congress were unwilling to accept the status quo because we knew America could do better.
So far in 2018, growth is already above 3 percent, and the unemployment rate is at the lowest level in nearly two decades. According to the July jobs report, the number of Americans filing for unemployment stood at its lowest level since the year Neil Armstrong landed on the moon (that’s 1969 for those too young to remember). Wages, benefits, and disposable income are all on the rise. Small business optimism is at a record high, and consumer confidence is at a nearly 18-year high.
Since the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law late last year, more than 1.5 million American jobs have been created, South Dakota families have been able to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and businesses – large and small – now have a simpler tax code that does a better job of working for them rather than against them.
Before tax reform, the cards were stacked against larger American businesses because they were competing in a global market from a country with the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. How could anyone have effectively competed when your own country’s tax code put you at a significant disadvantage? Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Interestingly, faced with all of this positive economic news, the loud criticism from my Democrat colleagues has largely gone silent. It’s worth remembering that not only did they vote in lockstep against providing this tax relief to taxpayers, but Nancy Pelosi also once said tax reform would be like “Armageddon.” If low unemployment, strong economic growth, and more opportunities for American workers is Armageddon, how would she describe the previous administration’s economic policies?
I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and look forward to building off of this success to ensure we’re doing everything we can to help American businesses and taxpayers succeed. They’ve waited long enough.