U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, today discussed how American families, six months after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, are continuing to benefit from tax reform – from increased wages to better retirement benefits to bonuses and more.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, the good economic news keeps pouring in.
“CNBC reports that economic growth for the second quarter of 2018 is, and I quote, ‘on track to double 2017's full-year pace.’
“In April, for the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data, the number of job openings outnumbered the number of job seekers.
“In May, unemployment dropped to its lowest level in 18 years.
“Wages are growing at the fastest pace since July 2009.
“Retail sales are up significantly.
“And small business optimism has hit its second-highest level ever.
“A recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers reported that 77 percent of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform.
“72 percent plan to increase wages or benefits.
“And 86 percent report they plan to increase investments – which means new jobs and opportunities for workers.
“That’s a lot of numbers, but they all boil down to one thing: Life is getting better for American families.
“Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported, and I quote, ‘Economic confidence among lower-income Americans has taken a recent leap, the latest evidence that benefits of the economic expansion are reaching a broader swath of workers.’
“Mr. President, if there’s one thing that’s needed to help people achieve the American dream, it’s a thriving economy.
“What do people think about when they think about the American dream?
“They dream about starting a business from their kitchen table and growing it into a thriving enterprise.
“They dream about a secure job that will allow them to own a nice home, plus have extra to take the kids to the beach each year and save money for education, retirement, and those unexpected expenses.
“They dream about landing a job at their dream company and working their way up the ladder to the top.
“They dream about fulfilling work that they can turn into a fulfilling career.
“They dream about a secure retirement with extra money to treat the grandkids.
“But it’s pretty hard to accomplish any of those dreams if the economy is stagnant or struggling.
“It’s pretty hard to work your way up the ladder if your company is having to lay people off.
“It’s hard to buy a house or save for the kids’ college if you don’t have anything left over once you’ve paid your bills.
“Mr. President, during the last administration, the economy did not thrive.
“And as a result, American families struggled.
“And so when President Trump took office, Republicans and President Trump made reversing our economic decline a priority.
“Perhaps the two biggest drags on our economy during the Obama administration were burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code.
“And so we took immediate action to roll back burdensome Obama-administration regulations.
“And we got to work on reforming our outdated tax code.
“And six months ago this week, we passed historic tax reform.
“Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax code was not helping businesses grow and create jobs.
“In fact, it was doing the opposite.
“And that had real consequences for American workers.
“A small business owner struggling to afford the hefty annual tax bill for her business was highly unlikely to be able to hire a new worker or raise wages.
“A larger business struggling to stay competitive in the global marketplace while paying a substantially higher tax rate than its foreign competitors too often had limited funds to expand or increase investment in the United States.
“And so we took action to improve the playing field for American workers by improving the playing field for businesses as well.
“To accomplish that, we lowered tax rates across the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and ranches.
“We lowered our nation’s massive corporate tax rate, which up until January 1 was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.
“We expanded business owners’ ability to recover investments they make in their businesses, which frees up cash that they can reinvest in their operations and their workers.
“And we brought the U.S. international tax system into the 21st century so that American businesses are not operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign competitors.
“And now we’re seeing the results.
“Companies have announced higher wages.
“Better retirement benefits.
“As I mentioned above, 77 percent of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform.
“And 72 percent plan to increase wages or benefits.
“Meanwhile, at the end of May, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that a record-high percentage of small businesses had increased compensation for their employees.
“Then there are the 100-plus utility companies that are lowering rates as a result of tax reform.
“The companies boosting their education benefits to help employees get the skills they need for successful careers.
“The companies expanding parental leave benefits.
“The low unemployment rate.
“The pace of wage growth.
“In short, as I said above, life is getting better for American families.
“Opportunities are expanding.
“Paychecks are increasing.
“Benefits are growing.
“And that means more families are able to afford those car repairs or that down payment on a house.
“More families are able to set aside money for their kids’ education.
“More families are able to boost their retirement contributions.
“More families are looking forward to a secure future.
“Mr. President, I’m proud of the benefits that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is delivering for American families.
“And I’m going to keep working for policies that will expand opportunities for families even further.”