Sen. John Thune
The Republican-led effort to reform and strengthen our nation’s tax code wasn’t a check-the-box exercise in Washington, D.C. Instead, after nearly a decade of economic stagnation, it was a commitment to the American people to help turn things around – to help grow the economy, create more good-paying jobs, and put the United States back in a more globally competitive position. In the six months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, the economic signs continue to point toward growth and opportunity, and I believe there’s only more to come.
While tax reform is a cornerstone of the pro-growth agenda that Republicans have pursued in the less than two years since the president took office, we have also used a congressional oversight process to roll back a record number of Obama-era regulations that were hamstringing economic growth. Collectively, these actions created a better environment in which businesses could grow and hire more workers, and the results speak for themselves.
In April, for the first time since the federal government began tracking the data, the number of job openings outnumbered the number of job seekers in the United States. Think about that for a moment. This means that Americans who are looking for a job are doing so in a market with a surplus of employment opportunities.
In May, the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in nearly two decades. Wages are growing at the fastest pace since July 2009, retail sales are on the rise, and according to CNBC, economic growth for the second quarter of 2018 is “on track to double 2017’s full-year pace.”
This is exactly the kind of good economic news the American people have been waiting to experience, and I’m glad we were able to help create an environment in which it could occur.
Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the law of the land, the tax code was working against American taxpayers and businesses, and, in turn, the entire economy. It was too large, too complicated, and it was being used to take too much money out of hardworking Americans’ paychecks. I’m not going to suggest that tax reform was a cure-all, but I can say with certainty that the code is now simpler in many respects, and with an across-the-board reduction in tax rates, Uncle Sam is taking less out of the family budget.
Strengthening the individual side of the tax code was important throughout the tax reform debate, but we also worked hard to ensure that it would be easier for businesses, large and small, to grow, expand, and be more competitive around the world. As a result, companies from coast to coast, including several in South Dakota, announced that they’re using their tax savings to invest in their employees, their customers, and their business.
What does a stronger economy mean for South Dakota families? It means more jobs – more than one million jobs have been created nationwide since tax reform became law. It means a bigger paycheck and better benefits. It means there’s more in the family budget for kids’ education, to fix a leaky roof, or to put new tires on the car. In short, it means a better, more secure life.The economy has experienced a lot of good news over the last six months, but our work is far from over. Together, with the administration and my colleagues in Congress, we can continue to deliver big things for South Dakota and the rest of the country, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.