U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the state of the U.S. economy. From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, the economy had its strongest annual growth in 10 years, which was the result of pro-growth Republican policies like reforming the tax code and lifting burdensome regulations.
Thune’s speech (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, last week we learned that the economy grew at a rate of 3.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.
“That’s the strongest economic growth in well over 10 years.
“Economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2018 smashed market expectations.
“In January, the economy created more than 300,000 jobs.
“More than 5.3 million jobs have been created since President Trump was elected.
“Job openings hit a record high of 7.3 million in December – substantially exceeding the number of those looking for work.
“The Department of Labor reports that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of job seekers for 10 straight months.
“Unemployment is low.
“January marked the 11th straight month that unemployment has been at or below 4 percent.
“That’s the longest streak in nearly five decades.
“Wage growth has accelerated.
“Wages have now been growing at a rate of 3 percent or greater for six straight months.
“The last time wage growth reached this level was in 2009.
“Median household income is at an all-time high.
“U.S. manufacturing has rebounded.
“The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, and I quote, “America’s factories are hiring again. After years of job losses, U.S. manufacturing employment has risen for 18 straight months among those holding production or nonsupervisory jobs, the longest stretch of gains since the mid-1990s.”
“And the list goes on.
“Mr. President, the economic growth we’re experiencing is the direct result of Republican policies.
“Economic growth has accelerated over the past two years, thanks to the lifting of burdensome regulations and a historic reform of our tax code.
“Before we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, our tax code was acting as a drag on economic growth.
“Small businesses faced heavy tax burdens that frequently made it difficult for them to expand and create jobs – or even get their businesses off the ground in the first place.
“America’s global businesses faced the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, which put them at a competitive disadvantage on the international stage.
“And of course, all that had real consequences for American workers.
“A small business owner facing a huge tax bill was highly unlikely to be able to expand her business or hire a new employee.
“A larger business was going to find it hard to create jobs or improve benefits for employees while struggling to stay competitive against foreign businesses paying much less in taxes.
“And so we reformed our tax code to make it easier for businesses to grow, create jobs, and expand opportunities for American workers.
“And now we’re seeing the results.
“A record-high number of job openings.
“And importantly, the benefits of this growth are being experienced widely.
“The Wall Street Journal reports, and I quote, ‘Racial minorities, those with less education and people working in the lowest-paying jobs are getting bigger pay raises and, in many cases, experiencing the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for their groups. They are joining manufacturing workers, women in their prime working years, Americans with disabilities and those with criminal records, among others, in finding improved job prospects after years of disappointment.’
“Mr. President, the Obama administration was characterized by a weak recovery and years of economic stagnation.
“There were predictions that 2 percent growth would be the new normal.
“But Republican economic policies have turned the economy around.
“Now we need to focus on ways to extend the benefits of tax reform even further and secure the gains we’ve made for the long term.
“Unfortunately, our colleagues across the aisle are more focused on dismantling the policies that created the growth we’re experiencing.
“Apparently it doesn’t matter to them that workers are doing better after years of economic stagnation, or that jobs and opportunities are increasing.
“They’re set on dismantling tax reform and raising taxes to fund their socialist fantasies.
“They want to spend $93 trillion – more money than the GDP of the entire world – to put the government in charge of Americans’ health care, energy usage, and more.
“I wish I were joking.
“But Democrats’ turn toward socialist insanity is all too real.
“The kind of tax hikes that would be required to pay for Democrats’ proposals would cripple our economy and severely downgrade Americans’ standard of living – not to mention robbing Americans of their freedom to make their own decisions about various aspects of their lives.
“It’s mindboggling that more and more Democrats are embracing socialism … and the less free and less prosperous future it would bring.
“Let’s hope their socialist fantasies stay just that – fantasies.
“Because our economy might never recover from the reality of Democrats’ proposals.”