When the U.S. Labor Department released its latest jobs report on June 1, the New York Times ran an interesting headline: “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Job Numbers Are: The economy is in a sweet spot, with steady growth and broad improvement in the labor market.”
The New York Times usually slants the news against Republicans, but in this case they’re absolutely right. The unemployment rate stands at 3.8 percent, matching a 49-year low. For the first time since records started being kept, there are more job openings than people looking for work (6.7 million job openings vs. 6.3 million unemployed). The stock market is up about 38 percent since Election Day 2016, and average hourly wages are growing after a decade of stagnation. The “economy is in basically sound shape,” according to the Times, “displaying neither the slightest warning signs of recession nor any clear evidence of overheating and inflation risks.”
There was one glaring omission in the Times article, however. They don’t try to explain why the economy has been growing so spectacularly since Election Day 2016. They see the economic boom as the equivalent of a weather change, something that no person could influence. In reality, the economy is being fueled by smart, pro-growth policies enacted by President Trump and the Republican Congress.
The biggest policy change, of course, is the tax reform law that I voted for, that Congress passed without a single Democratic vote, and that President Trump signed into law in December. This historic law lowers the tax rates for low- and middle-income Idahoans; nearly doubles the standard deduction; expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000; and retains retirement savings options, such as 401(k)s and IRAs.
Within one month of President Trump signing the bill into law, hundreds of businesses (who collectively employ three million Americans) announced they were giving bonuses, giving pay raises, or making new investments as a direct result of the tax bill. Dozens of Idaho businesses have made similar announcements, including Melaleuca, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, and Washington Federal.
The tax reform law isn’t the only big policy change. In 2017, Congress used the long-dormant Congressional Review Act (CRA) 14 times to repeal last-minute Obama administration regulations, most of which would be detrimental to the economy. Through CRA, we were able to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule, which would have given federal bureaucrats and radical environmental groups control over land use and resource planning in Idaho and other Western states. I voted for every CRA bill that has been signed into law.
The Trump Administration has been doing its part too. With my support, they’ve reformed multiple Obama-Era regulations on land and water use that would have been especially detrimental to Idaho. These include the Obama-Era power grabs pertaining to national monuments, sage grouse, and the so-called “WOTUS Rule,” (which affected puddles, ditches, and other water sources that have no connection to interstate commerce).
As the New York Times points out, we are in arguably the strongest economy of our lifetimes. However, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels.
Government spending and borrowing is out of control. Obamacare is crippling our healthcare system and needs to needs to be fully repealed (although the Republican Congress, with my support, succeeded in killing the individual mandate penalty).
So long as I am in Congress, I will continue to advocate for the conservative, pro-growth policies that are fueling our economy and that will make our government work better and fairer for all Idahoans.