Weekly Columns

The positive strides our economy has made over the past twelve months is perhaps the most underreported story of 2017. 

Over 1.7 million new jobs have been created since the start of the year—including 159,000 new manufacturing jobs. Unemployment has decreased to 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. Consumer confidence and investor optimism are both at 17-year highs, which has sent the stock market soaring to new heights. The Dow Jones increased by 5,000 points in one year. This has never happened in the index’s 121-year history.

This progress didn’t just happen in a vacuum.

President Trump and a Republican-led Congress have promoted a pro-growth agenda that has put the economy on the right path. Since the moment the new session of Congress began, we have been moving to undue the regulatory abuses of the previous administration that killed jobs, forced businesses overseas and cost our economy trillions of dollars. 

The constant flow of overreaching rules and regulations from President Obama’s administration continuously thwarted Main Street’s attempts to get our economy moving again. When agencies overregulate, our economic growth comes to a grinding halt. Overbearing, excessive regulations take farmers away from tending to their crops, slow the lines at manufacturing plants and sap resources from small business owners that could otherwise be put toward hiring more Americans.

Our move to eliminate and overturn regulations has been met with an overwhelming positive reaction for our economy. Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, 14 resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn Obama-era rules—many of which had very damaging effects on our economy. Along with that, the Trump administration has cancelled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions.

This new approach out of Washington is creating an economic environment that allows a recovery to take hold on Main Street. If fourth quarter gross domestic product growth hits the estimated growth rate of 3.8 percent, it will be the third consecutive quarter of over three percent growth.

Throughout the Obama years, many middle-class Arkansans struggled in an economy that was stuck in neutral. Our outdated, inefficient and ineffective tax code has played a large role in preventing a full economic recovery from taking hold.

The historic tax reform bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump is the push the recovery needs to get across the finish line.

First, it means hardworking Arkansans will keep more of their money in their own pockets. It nearly doubles the standard deduction, lowers rates and eliminates loopholes.

But it also will help our economy build on the gains achieved over the past year. By permanently reducing the corporate tax rate, currently the highest in the developed world, we will make American businesses more competitive and keep well-paying jobs here at home.

This type of strong economic recovery has been a long time coming. It has been held back for too long by poorly designed regulations and misguided policies, but Washington is finally getting out of the way. With comprehensive tax reform and regulatory relief on the books, we are in a position to really see the economy take off.