Huizenga op-ed: 3% Annual Growth Is Within Striking Distance Thanks to Tax and Regulatory Reform
3% Annual Growth Is Within Striking Distance Thanks to Tax and Regulatory Reform
The Zeeland Record
August 2nd 2018
Friday's chart topping announcement that the economy grew by 4.1% in the second quarter is significant and news that should be celebrated. It demonstrates that our economy is creating more opportunity and more jobs for hardworking families across Ottawa County and around the nation. Digging deeper into these numbers it also shows that many of the arguments being made by "Washington knows best crowd" are falling apart.
For years we heard liberal economists and the Obama Administration say that 2% was the "new normal" for economic growth and that 3% growth was a pipe dream. Yet over the last six months we have averaged 3.1% growth and 2.8% over the last year 12 months. By cutting taxes for individuals, small businesses, and large employers, more resources stayed in the hands of taxpayers and job creators so they could decide how to best use the money they earned instead of sending it to Washington. Again we were told by the liberal elite that this wouldn't help the economy. Wrong again.
On July 24th, Pfizer announced it was investing $465 million in Kalamazoo County to build a state of the art sterile injectable facility. This major project is expected to create 450 jobs with an average salary of $80,000. When the announcement was made that the new site would be built in Michigan, Pfizer stated it was a "result of the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."
On the small business side of the equation, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nation's leading small business association, recently reported that the number of small businesses increasing wages hit a record high. In fact, in its June jobs report, the NFIB found that 63% of small businesses it surveyed were looking to hire. With statistics like this it's no wonder that weekly jobless claims hit their lowest level since 1969.
While this is all tremendously positive news, policymakers cannot rest on our laurels. The focus must remain on creating an environment where the private sector can grow and that is precisely what I have been doing.
On July 17th, the House passed a bipartisan package of legislation known as the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act. This bipartisan package was made up of 32 pieces of legislation, including 3 bills I sponsored to strengthen capital formation, improve investment opportunities for West Michigan residents with 401Ks and IRAs, and boost small business job creation. These common sense reforms help lay the ground work for future growth by reducing costly and unnecessary red tape, supporting innovation, and making it easier for small and emerging companies to go public. Even with today's partisan divide, this bipartisan jobs package passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 406-4.
Another step I have taken to strengthen the economy and provide better opportunities for West Michigan is by working to close the skills gap. In addition to the latest jobs report detailing that 213,000 jobs were created, June's report also showed that an additional 601,000 Americans made the decision to rejoin the workforce. We need to make sure employees currently looking to better their employment prospects as well as those returning to the workforce have a skill set that matches the jobs currently available. Last week the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act to overhaul and modernize our nation’s career and technical education programs. This legislation will better equip job seekers with the skills needed for today’s economy and help more individuals in West Michigan climb the ladder of opportunity so they can provide a better life for themselves and their families. I am happy to report that President Trump signed this important bipartisan legislation into law earlier this week.
The doom and gloom predictions from the "Washington knows best" crowd have not come to pass. Instead, there is an opportunity to unleash economic growth and opportunity once declared all but extinct. I am encouraged by the breakthrough discussions with the European Union on trade however more must be done. The President is right to address the unfair trade practices being used by other nations but we must walk a fine line to reset trade priorities without hurting West Michigan manufacturers. That is the very issue I brought up with Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro last week. If the Administration can thread the needle on trade, and continue to work with Congress on tax and regulatory reform, I believe we will see economic growth eclipse the once "inconceivable" 3%.