Time to celebrate economic prosperity — and free-market economics 

If there was ever a time to celebrate America’s economy, now is that time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent. Even the broader measure of unemployment—which includes discouraged and part-time workers—is down to 7.5 percent, marking the lowest point since 2001. For those keeping track at home, that’s nearly two decades ago.

 And there’s more. In the Wall Street Journal’s words: “America’s biggest companies are reporting some of the strongest earnings growth since the recession, boosted by lowered tax rates and a robust U.S. economy that is fueling demand across industries.” In the three months through June, profits at S&P 500 companies jumped roughly 23.5 percent. Apple — the famous iPhone-maker — recently became the first U.S. company to be worth $1 trillion.

It’s no coincidence that business is booming under President Donald Trump, who is one of the most successful businessmen in American history. Since Inauguration Day, the Trump administration has made it a priority to cut high taxes, slash burdensome regulations and unleash the power of free enterprise.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — signed by the president last year — trimmed the corporate tax rate from an uncompetitive 35 percent to a much more competitive 21 percent, making the United States a more attractive place for big business to do business and expand payrolls. The National Association of Manufacturers reports that more than 70 percent of manufacturers intend to raise wages, add jobs and increase reinvestment. Big firms are pumping $300 billion back into the U.S. economy thanks to the repatriation relief built into the tax overhaul.

At the same time, the Trump administration is fulfilling its promise to hack away at the red tape stifling many employers. Since his inauguration, President Trump has eliminated at least two regulations for each new one added. Last year, the regulatory rollback translated to $8 billion in cost savings. This year, America’s employers will see even more — $10 billion.

Is it a coincidence that job creators like Apple are seeing record profits? When the federal government gets out of the way, private enterprise can do what it does best — make money and grow the economy.

Fortunately, job creators aren’t just resting on their laurels and sitting on their higher profits; they’re leveraging them to invest in people and products alike. Apple — our first $1 trillion company — used its tax savings to issue $2,500 bonuses. Moreover, the maker of iPhones announced $30 billion in new capital expenditures and the creation of 20,000 new jobs.

And don’t forget small business. The list of tax-cut beneficiaries includes hundreds of small businesses, which used their new and improved after-tax earnings to revamp the local communities they serve. Here in Pennsylvania, that list includes Hudson Facades in Linwood which is investing $3,000 in every factory worker’s 401(k) and will also increase base pay. And Guy Chemical Co. in Somerset, which is not only increasing employee’s bonuses and base pay, but also investing in new equipment.

Manufacturing contributes an estimated $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy and supports 566,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone, according to the NAM. Since tax reform was enacted, the manufacturing industry has added 152,000 jobs — double the number of jobs created over the same period last year. 

When small business succeeds, our community is better off. And the business community is succeeding because Washington, D.C. is getting out of the way.

To quote former President Ronald Reagan, it’s morning in America again.

Darlene J. Robbins is president of Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association, based in Pottsville.

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