- - Thursday, August 8, 2019

“The economy, stupid!”

— Clinton Strategist James Carville

In 1992, the economy was bad. James Carville’s quote on a sign in the campaign offices of Gov. Bill Clinton was a reminder to his staff. He wanted them to stay focused on the economy. It worked for the challenger as a recession was starting to sweep the nation. President George H.W. Bush’s inability to adequately react to concerns over the recession played a major part in his loss that November.

This week, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin said, “Democrats are not talking about the economy, because they have nothing to say.”

In 2019, the economy is great. The U.S. labor market has added more than 6.3 million new jobs since President Donald J. Trump was elected. In fact, there continue to be more jobs open in America than there are people looking for work. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since the end of 1969. And the unemployment rate for African-Americans, Hispanics, people with disabilities and military veterans is the lowest ever recorded for each category.

At the same time, wages are up. The Bu­reau of Eco­nomic Analy­sis recently pub­lished its an­nual re­vi­sions to per­sonal in­come data showing that em­ployee compensa­tion rose 4.5 percent in 2017 and 5 percent in 2018. The trend continued in 2019 as compensation rose 3.4 percent during the first six months.

Indicator after indicator point to a strong economy. Which explains why Democrats do not want to talk about the economy. They want the media and — in turn — the electorate to focus on other issues.

When was the last time you heard about the president’s tax cuts? And if you did, it was probably a bad story.

The facts, however, show a huge majority of Americans received a tax cut. According to the Tax Policy Center, 82 percent of middle-class earners received a tax cut averaging around $1,050. Despite Nancy Pelosi’s comments that the tax cuts were crumbs, a thousand dollars more in take-home pay is a big deal for most families in our country.

Facts show that middle-class taxpayers were the big winners in the tax-cut plan signed by Mr. Trump. Democrats, however, did a good job of selling a false narrative. Sadly, most Americans now believe that they did not receive a reduction in their tax bill.

Despite the negative rhetoric, the individual income tax cuts that increased take-home pay and the business tax cuts that encouraged employers to provide bonuses have helped to improve the nation’s economy. Throw in affirmative efforts to undo excessive regulations — particularly in energy — and you have a recipe for strong economic growth in the years to come.

In contrast, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, recently warned that an economic crisis will soon hit the United States. Maybe she has a crystal ball and can see into the future to a day when she or one of the other radical socialists is elected president. That would most certainly be a reason for concern.

Ms. Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, and the rest of the socialists running for president continue to embrace a system that is currently failing in Venezuela. Socialism promises prosperity but more often leads to poverty. The once prosperous country is now filled with despair. Sadly, more than 9 out of every 10 Venezuelans now live in poverty.

If the 2020 presidential election is about pocketbook issues, logic suggests that Mr. Trump should win in a landslide. That explains why Democrats don’t want to talk about the economy.

Unfortunately, most media outlets are complicit with the Democrats. Not only do they forcibly avoid talking about the strong economy, they consistently get the facts wrong.

Kasie Hunt’s recent statement on MSNBC is a prime example. Ms. Hunt teased a story saying, “Still to come, Joe Biden references his relationships with two former Republican colleagues at an event in New York City. The only problem? They were both segregationists.”

The other problem? The senators were actually Democrats. If Ms. Hunt and the research staff at MSNBC had looked at just about any search engine, they would have found out that the segregationists were not Republicans.

Most members of the mass media will follow the talking points — intentional or not — of the left. And the left understands that the president’s most effective tool for reelection is the economy.

Bottom line: The American economy is doing very well and wages are up, but we cannot rely on the media or anyone else to share this message with the general public. We need to share it ourselves. There is too much at stake in the 2020 election not to share the good news of a strong economy with anyone who will listen between now and next November.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

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