Election 2020

What to Tell Your Fence-Sitting Friends About Trump's Record on the Economy

AP Photo/John Bazemore

If your friends are squeamish about voting for President Donald Trump, I understand. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Trump in 2016 because of his temperament and because I didn’t trust his promises. Yet it seems Joe Biden’s character is worse, and Trump’s successes in his first term have brought me around, and I think they will convince your friends, too.

This is the fourth in a series of articles explaining the president’s policy successes and giving a full-throated defense for his reelection. The first focused on Trump’s foreign policy achievements, the second delved into his record on protecting the right to life, and the third explained his record on civil rights. This article will focus on Trump’s success on the economy.

While the economic recovery began under former President Barack Obama, Obama’s policies had stifled economic growth while Trump’s policies spurred it on.

President Trump started cutting through the sea of red tape that Obama left him. He signed an executive order stipulating that for every new regulation, his administration would cut two old ones.

Many studies have suggested the average American family pays more in hidden regulatory costs than in direct taxes. A 2017 report estimated that if regulatory costs trickled down, they would leave the average American family with a $1,409 bill, in addition to the taxes they already pay.

Regulations impact Americans’ lives in surprising ways. While onerous red tape makes it more difficult to start and operate a business, regulations have also decreased the water pressure in showers, dishwashers, and toilets. The Department of Energy under Secretary Rick Perry granted a petition to consider new standards to make dishwashers more effective, as they were decades ago.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute found that in 1978, the average dishwasher only took an hour to wash plates, cups, and silverware. By 2014, the average time had increased between 2 and 3 hours, despite advancements in technology. What had driven America backward? Regulations.

President Trump also revved up the economy through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

A whopping 82 percent of middle-class Americans saw a tax cut in 2018, with an average savings of more than $1,260. A full 90 percent of workers saw an increase in pay after the IRS adjusted withholding tables to reflect the new law. Last year, wages grew an average of 3.3 percent, the best in a decade. The Republican tax cuts accelerated job growth by nearly 25 percent and opportunity zones led investors to put their money into distressed communities. Finally, the Trump tax cuts doubled the child tax credit, saving working families an estimated $100 billion.

These aren’t just Republican talking points. The Tax Policy Center estimated that 82 percent of middle-income Americans will receive a tax cut for an average reduction of individual income taxes of $1,260 in 2018, increasing after-tax incomes by 1.7 percent. Lower-middle-class households saw the largest tax cut as a percentage of their income, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new withholding tables lower the amount of money employers withhold from workers’ paychecks, according to USA Today. According to the Treasury Department, 90 percent of Americans saw an increase in their take-home pay. The Bureau Of Labor Statistics reported a 3.3 percent average wage increase.

CNBC reported the wage growth for October and December 2018 was tied for the best since April 2009. The Bureau Of Economic Analysis reported that real GDP grew by 3.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018. The opportunity zones provision is helping struggling communities, and the child tax credit is tailored to help lower-income families.

Tragically, Democrats and their allies in the legacy media have pushed false talking points about the tax cuts. According to the RealClearPolitics average, only 36.3 percent of Americans approve of the cuts, while 40.8 percent disapprove of them, giving the Trump tax cuts a negative 4.5 percent. Only 17 percent of Americans think their taxes were cut, according to a Wall Street Journal poll last year.

Trump’s economic policies strengthened the economy, resulting in record-low unemployment before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

The pandemic ravaged the U.S. economy as states and localities across the country issued harsh lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Republicans and Democrats agreed that the government should offer aid amid the restrictions, but Democrats repeatedly used coronavirus aid packages to push their far-left pet projects.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) $3 trillion bill in May included a repeal of parts of the Trump tax cuts, a gambit to tie Trump’s hands on inspectors general, “environmental justice grants,” voting by mail for the 2020 election, LGBT training, a hate crimes bill, and extra unemployment benefits that would cost the economy 13.9 million jobs, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Pelosi’s March COVID-19 stimulus bill included provisions on violence against women, AIDS funding, LGBTQ+ financial literacy programs, onerous carbon emissions reporting for airlines, a $15/hour minimum wage, and sixty pages on elections, among other things.

Despite repeated Democratic obstruction, Republicans and Democrats eventually agreed on four stimulus bills and President Trump signed them. The president has made it clear he is willing to support another stimulus before the election, but Democrats blocked the effort.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter. The GDP is still lower than it was before the pandemic, but it has recovered to two-thirds of the pre-recession level.

“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “The President built the world’s best economy once and he’s rapidly doing it again, proving that cutting taxes and reducing regulations and red tape clear the way for American ingenuity and our entrepreneurial spirit to thrive.”

“We have regained more than half of the jobs lost to the global pandemic in less than six months, while it took more than two years to regain half of job losses from a recession while Joe Biden was in charge,” Murtaugh added, warning that Biden is “the candidate of lockdowns, inviting another economic shutdown which would devastate working people and cause even more health problems above and beyond what the coronavirus has caused.”

“For voters, the choice is simple: It’s a Trump boom versus a Biden depression,” Murtaugh added.

While that may be hyperbole, Biden’s radical environmental plan, his support for increased regulations across the board, and his desire to raise taxes would all harm the economy just as it recovers from the pandemic recession. Voters are right to trust Trump over Biden on the economy.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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