OPINION: Kanye, The American Dream And The Trump Economy

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Surya Gunasekara Economic and Tax Policy Adviser
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Kanye West is coming to Washington to visit President Donald Trump at the White House. Just let that sink in.

It’s no secret Kanye is a fan of President Trump. Recently, he was greeted with boos for performing a pro-Trump rift as the closing musical act on “Saturday Night Live.” Kanye says his support for President Trump stems from the ability “to do the impossible,” but hardly the first prominent African American suggest as much.

While in law school, former President Barrack Obama said that American’s commitment to “individual freedom and mobility” transcends race. Americans as a whole, he wrote, have such “unfounded optimism” their American Dream is to be Donald Trump. In a fateful twist of irony, Trump has done in two years what Obama could not achieve in eight — creating a climate of opportunity for minorities to achieve the American Dream.

Trump and Congressional Republicans have enacted significant tax cuts, repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate, reformed the banking system, and rolled-back a host of oppressive Obama-era regulations.  The outcomes speak for themselves: 4.2-percent GDP growth last quarter, wages are on the rise, and unemployment is at a 50-year low.

For minority communities, the booming economy has been nothing short of a miracle — the wand has been waived and jobs are coming back. African-American unemployment is 6.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is at 4.5 percent, and Asian-American unemployment is at an astonishing 2.7 percent. Cumulatively, these are some of the lowest unemployment numbers since race-based records began in the 1970s.

In a reboot of his 2012 “you didn’t build that” message to business owners, Mr. Obama has hit the campaign trail taking credit for Trump’s economy. With the mid-term elections on the horizon, it’s important for all minorities to take stock of the gains over the last two years and fully understand the platform Democrats are running on.

Mr. Obama said in a recent speech that Democrats are running on “good new ideas” like “reversing the most egregious corporate tax cuts,” “putting a price on carbon” and “Medicare for all.”  These are not “good new ideas,” they are doubling down on old failed ideas.

Perhaps one of the most significant provisions of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was the permanent reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.  According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation “[e]conomic evidence indicates that it is workers who bear the final burden of the corporate income tax, and that corporate income taxes are the most harmful for economic growth – raising this tax rate is not advisable.”

The only thing egregious about the TCJA’s corporate income tax cut was that it was not done sooner.

With respect to pricing carbon, well it’s not a new idea at all. In 2009, Nancy Pelosi passed a carbon cap-and-trade bill out of the U.S. House of Representatives, but Harry Reid just couldn’t get the votes for it in the U.S. Senate despite his comfortable majority. This legislative failure didn’t stop Mr. Obama from attempting to regulate the energy industry at every turn.

Thanks in part to President Trump’s regulatory rollback in the energy sector; the United States is now the world’s top producer of oil, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. This is more welcome news for minority communities. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that in this pro-development climate the oil and gas industry will create another 444 thousand jobs for minority workers by 2025.

As for Medicare for all, well that’s a $32 Trillion boondoggle that is unmoored from economic and political realities.   The fact remains all of these “new ideas” from Democrats would expand the size and scope of government – which has been shown to negatively impact economic growth – and return the United States to the old “new normal” of continual stagnation of the Obama years.

Kanye’s right, President Trump is doing the impossible and for the first time since the Great Recession, “unfounded optimism” has transcended race and faith in the American Dream has been restored.  Mr. Obama’s rhetoric may have provided hope in the past, but Trump’s actions delivered on the change.

Surya Gunasekara is an Asian-American economic and tax policy advisor. He previously served as tax counsel at the American Petroleum Institute and as chief of staff to Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.