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Op-ed Placement

A Second Trump Term Can Bring Back Our Pre-Pandemic Economy

Originally Published in The Washington Examiner on 9/16/20.

The latest report from the Census Bureau on income and poverty shows that President Trump’s pro-growth economic agenda brought the pre-pandemic economy to soaring new heights. Not only did we see significant decreases in poverty, but median household income rose to a historic high in 2019 before states instituted sweeping lockdowns that put millions of people out of work and on to the government's payroll.

That meant more families with the financial freedom to put their kids through school, pay off the new car, and spring for a memorable vacation. That meant fewer families living paycheck to paycheck. Such incredible economic success is a direct result of the Trump administration’s unique combination of tax cuts and deregulation. If we are to continue our quick recovery from the economic windfall of COVID-19, we will need to continue supporting the Trump administration in its efforts to cut red tape.

One of the Trump administration’s best early successes, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, undoubtedly helped create our pre-pandemic prosperity. By cutting taxes on both businesses and individuals, Trump created an economic environment ripe for growth.

More recently, Trump issued a deferment of payroll taxes in response to the economic havoc of COVID-19, choosing to let people keep their money rather than maybe sending them a refund check. This has the added benefit of making it easier for hard-hit businesses to rehire workers and begin to pick up the pieces. We are fortunate that the Trump administration recognizes the power tax cuts have in times of economic strife.

One of the rallying cries of the 2016 Trump campaign was his promise to “drain the swamp” of red tape. To tackle the entrenched regulatory state, one of Trump’s first actions upon inauguration was signing Executive Order 13776, requiring agencies to repeal two existing rules for every new one created. The results of this order, a symbol of the administration’s underlying deregulatory agenda, have exceeded expectations. In July, the president announced that eight regulations have been eliminated for every new one implemented, helping save households an estimated $3,100 annually and spurring business growth. Once again, Trump knows that the business owners know better than bureaucrats when it comes to the economy.

Compare this to the Obama administration, when incomes fell and then lagged. Pundits love to blame all these economic woes on the Great Recession, yet the sluggish recovery from the 2008 recession was worsened by President Barack Obama’s tax-happy agenda and punitive regulatory state that put bureaucrats in charge of the private sector. As opposed to the Great Recession, the V-shaped recovery we have seen from the COVID-19 lockdowns shows that the best road to recovery and growth is through a hands-off approach like that of Trump.

It should come as no surprise that Joe Biden wants to return America to the good old days of anemic growth and suffocating regulations. Among other disastrous policies, Biden has made it abundantly clear that he intends to raise taxes and return to the heavy-handed regulatory approach of Obama. A great example of this is how his environmental policy is designed to kill energy jobs, regardless of how many times he flips on banning fracking. How will this play out in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where thousands of workers in the coal, oil, and gas industry can’t even be sure that Biden has their backs if he wins? As the economy continues to emerge from the coronavirus downturn, who do we want calling the shots? Trump, who paved the way for record gains for families, or Biden, who wants to return to the “new normal” of 2% GDP growth and government dependency?

Let’s make sure that families, not the government, once again have the financial freedom and security to make their own decisions. Spearheading our economic recovery starts with reelecting Trump and congressional Republicans this November.

Adam Brandon is the President of FreedomWorks.