SCHATZ: The Trump Economy Is Facing Democratic Headwinds
In 2018, Americans witnessed one positive economic headline after another: The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the year man first walked on the Moon in 1969. Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. The number of job openings is at its highest point since the Department of Labor began tracking them in 2000. Wages are growing at their fastest rate in nearly a decade. Blue-collar, “goods-producing” jobs are growing at their highest rate since 1984.
Spurred by tax cuts and deregulation, it’s safe to say America’s economy is booming. The flourishing economy has also boosted federal tax revenues, which hit a monthly record in October 2018. While deficits remain a legitimate concern, the headwind that most threatens the Trump economy is the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Should their agenda to raise taxes, nationalize healthcare, control the internet, and block America’s energy renaissance be adopted, Democrats will undo this era of American success.
Since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, there have been “750 examples of pay raises, bonuses, 401(k) match increases, expansions, benefit increases, and utility rate reductions.” The left-leaning Tax Policy Center reported that 91 percent of middle-income taxpayers received a tax cut. Presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously derided these benefits as “crumbs” and admitted that she wanted to undo much of the law when Democrats take control of the lower chamber. Several Democrats even pledged during the 2018 midterms that they would attempt to fully repeal the law, reversing all of the economic gains associated with it.
Exit polls found that healthcare was the top concern for voters in the 2018 midterm elections. As the Department of Health and Human Services attempts to fix Obamacare by boosting the number of affordable insurance plans available to all Americans, more than 120 Democratic House members have signed on to a single-payer healthcare bill that would impose one-size-fits-all socialized medicine with an astronomical price tag of $32 trillion over 10 years.
After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed antiquated, Depression-era “net neutrality” internet regulations in December 2017, high-profile House Democrats such as incoming Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (N.J.) made clear his party’s intention to reimpose draconian regulations and block FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to further expand internet access through private investment. During the two years that the world wide web toiled under Obama-era regulations, investment in internet infrastructure plummeted by 25 percent. Should Democrats get their way and reimpose net neutrality regulations, innovation will once again be stifled.
In 2018, the United Stated for the first time since 1973 has been the world’s top oil producer, besting Russia and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. also leads the world in the production of natural gas, nuclear power, geothermal energy, and biofuels. As America is experiencing historic energy dominance, House Democrats have focused on ways to trample on this success and force the country to pivot away from energy abundance.
Nancy Pelosi, who pushed a strict cap and trade bill through the House a decade ago, has said she will make energy and climate policy a primary focus in 2019 by resurrecting a select committee on the issue that existed when she was speaker before the 2010 midterms. More radical House freshmen such as Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have advocated for a “Green New Deal,” which would empower the federal government to force the United States to shift to a 100 percent renewable energy economy, upgrade the energy efficiency of every building in the nation, and “decarbonize” the economy — all in just 10 years and at a taxpayer cost more than $1 trillion, not to mention the catastrophic economic costs.
The unparalleled economic good news over the past two years has finally fulfilled the decade-long promise of a robust recovery. While much remains to be accomplished, taxpayers must be vigilant against politicians who are chomping at the bit to drag the country back to an economy defined by sluggishness, mediocrity, and failure.
Tom Schatz is the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonprofit group working to cut waste in government.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.