Guest Columnist of the
Ceres (Calif.) Courier
Amidst all of the focus on the partial government shutdown and the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border, the fact that President Trump has now been in office for a full two years cannot be lost, and quite a two years it has been.
President Trump inherited an economy with low unemployment, but one where many Americans had been left behind with stagnant wages, manufacturing jobs off-shored, and a genuine lost hope for much of Middle America. Into this, the previous president declared that it would take a magic wand to bring those jobs back.
Twenty four months later, more than 500,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created out of a total of 4.8 million new jobs nationwide. The unemployment rate has been below four percent for eight out of the last 12 months. To understand the significance of this, prior to 2018, the unemployment rate had fallen below 4 percent only five times since 1970. That’s right, if you are 38 years old, the unemployment rate has been below four percent more in the past year than in the entire rest of your lifetime.
The ability to get a job has reached across racial boundaries. African-American, Asian and Hispanic unemployment reached the lowest rates on record in the past year, and real wages have been increasing as the amount workers are paid has exceeded the inflation rate in 2018 meaning people are getting ahead rather than just fighting to stay even.
One real outcome is that 4.6 million fewer Americans are dependent upon food stamps; not because standards have become more stringent, but because they are wealthier and more able to care for their own family’s needs.
This is the dignity and hope created by a job and the rising tide which lifts all boats in the Trump economy. It is the beginning of breaking the stranglehold of the dependency cycle which has ensnared generations in some communities in the despair of constant poverty.
Let’s be clear however, there are still problems to tackle as the labor participation rate for people ages 18 to 64 – while rising – is still too low compared to prior generations. But the trend is in the right direction as more jobs are available than workers in the workforce to fill them for the first time since the Labor Department started tracking job availability.
What’s more, people are now voluntarily leaving their jobs at a higher rate than when the president took office. While this would seem to be a negative, it actually demonstrates that people feel free to risk leaving a job they don’t like without having another one lined up due to confidence that they will be able to find a better one shortly.
This freedom to move jobs without fear of not finding a new one had been lost over the past decade, and the Trump economy has restored it.
So, what was this “magic wand” that failed former President Obama derided?
Rather than a wand, it actually was a pair of magic scissors:
• Scissors cutting regulations at a record pace which restricted economic growth only issuing new ones when absolutely necessary;
• Scissors cutting taxes for both individuals and business allowing for Americans to keep more of their hard earned dollars, but also encouraging business to expand their operations and bring hundreds of billions of dollars back to America for investment here.
• Scissors cutting bad trade deals which encouraged the off-shoring of American jobs. Trade deals built from a Cold War model designed to prop up struggling economies around the world through opening up our markets while leaving foreign ones closed to U.S. products. One of President Trump’s first actions was to exit the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he has continued by renegotiating NAFTA, the South Korean Free Trade Agreement, opening negotiations with Japan and the European Union while pressing China to engage in honest trade.
President Trump promised America that he would “Make America Great Again,” and in his first two years, he has jump started a restoration of our economy that benefits all of America and not just those who live on the two coasts.
Is there work still to be done? Absolutely. But at the quarter pole of his presidency, President Trump has accomplished what previous White House occupants have declared the impossible.
And in the midst of the current turmoil over the president’s attempt to unravel the open borders policy of his predecessor, this simply should not be missed.
America is working, Americans is more prosperous and Americans have renewed hope for our collective future.
That is the true Trump legacy, the renewed hope and vigor of a great people striving to make tomorrow better for their children benefitting from fewer government restraints, taxes and bad deals designed to transfer their opportunities overseas. While much remains to be done, the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency have been remarkably successful in restoring America’s heartland after decades of neglect.
Rick Manning is the president of Americans for Limited Government.