We received some exciting news about the economy last week: Gross domestic product (GDP) surged by 4.1 percent in the second quarter, putting us on track to hit the highest annual growth rate in 13 years.
When Donald Trump was running for president, he set a goal of hitting 4 percent growth. Liberal activists and the media mocked him. They were used to the low growth and low expectations of the Obama years, when the economy grew by about 2 percent annually. They were wrong, and it’s important to understand why. It wasn’t just pure luck. The reason the economy is surging is because of the pro-growth policies of Pres. Trump and the Republican Congress.
The biggest policy change, of course, is the tax reform law that I voted for and that Congress passed without a single Democratic vote. 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 Pres. 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).
The results are clear: Since Pres. Trump was elected, 3.4 million jobs have been created. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, matching a49-year low. The stock market is up about 37 percent since Election Day 2016, and average hourly wages are growing after a decade of stagnation.
Even the New York Times, which is usually slanted against Republicans, ran a story titled: “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Job Numbers Are.” “The economy is in a sweet spot,” according to the article, “…displaying neither the slightest warning signs of recession nor any clear evidence of overheating and inflation risks.”
Republican policies are working, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. Government spending and borrowing are out of control. Obamacare needs to be repealed (although Congress succeeded in killing the individual mandate penalty).
While Democrats want to raise taxes, increase regulations, and create a “single-payer” healthcare system, Republican policies are making a real difference. Until my last day in Congress, I will continue advocating for the pro-growth policies that are making America stronger and more prosperous.