August is usually the slow season in politics and campaigns, but this August sees our country barreling from crisis to crisis. Abroad, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan continues to unfold as the seeds are sown for a resurgence of international terrorism. At home, the White House and the congressional majority are determined to push through a radical redefinition of American life in a $5 trillion “reconciliation” bill.
The legislative jargon takes on an ironic cast: This bill will generate discord and disarray in American life and communities, not reconciliation.
President Biden inherited a proven policy blueprint for creating American prosperity. Instead of the Biden administration’s attempt to “reimagine the economy” with a socialist-policy wish list, America must embrace the three pillars of economic success that have proven time and time again to generate real prosperity: low taxes, restrained regulation and targeted federal government spending.
For proof of these key principles, one need not look far. In the three years before the pandemic, the United States set its economic foundation firmly in these three pillars. The result was unprecedented economic growth. Most importantly, this growth extended to all Americans and lifted up our most vulnerable and oft-forgotten Americans.
The numbers are undeniable. Inequality fell by multiple measures while 6.6 million Americans were lifted from poverty. Poverty rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans reached record lows. The unemployment rate dropped to a historic 3.5 percent overall, including the highest employment rates in 50 years for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and blue-collar workers with no more than a high school diploma. At the end of 2019, a whopping three-quarters of those finding employment were joining the labor force from the sidelines. Critically, after years of stagnant wages, real wages increased 10 percent for blue-collar and middle-class workers. And despite having remained flat in the previous 15 years, real median income increased an incredible $6,000 between 2016 and 2019.
The pandemic dealt a blow to the American economy. It merited a targeted government response, but it did not change the fundamental importance of the economic principles that drive national flourishing. On the contrary, preserving the foundational principles that led us to prosperity also set us on the path for a rapid and lasting recovery. Now, Washington, D.C., simply needs to embrace that recovery. At this critical juncture in American history, we must abandon the attempts to use the pandemic as an excuse for the perpetual government expansion that undermines American values, American freedom, and American prosperity.
Yet, this latest reconciliation push threatens to do just that. From job-killing tax increases to the Green New Deal programs that will destroy American energy independence and raise energy prices for American families and small businesses, to the creation of new social welfare programs and spending that will exacerbate inflation and further erode the value of the working American’s salary, to mass amnesty, this bill is guaranteed to be a fundamental threat to the American dream.
In the name of infrastructure, Democrats in Congress want to spend trillions on corporate welfare to favored companies and industries.
In the name of equity, they want to repeal the tax cuts that led to record levels of economic success and employment for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and women.
In the name of climate change, they want to destroy millions of jobs in the United States so that we can return to a dependence on energy imports from dictatorships and limit economic development and real environmental progress around the world.
In the name of helping the American worker, they want to raise corporate taxes and international taxes that will incentivize companies to move their headquarters and jobs abroad.
This economic agenda is designed with one goal in mind – to remake America and the principles upon which our Nation was founded. These policies threaten American prosperity, small businesses, the economic health of every American family, and our standing in the world.
This is when we should be making it easier to do business in America, not harder. This is the time when we should be making it easier for businesses to hire. And this is the time when we should be rewarding hard work and economic risk-taking. Imposing new regulations, distorting the market with unnecessary spending, and raising taxes advances none of these goals.
This is not a partisan issue; it is about getting back to proven policies that advance the interests of the American people, not seeking to reorder our entire way of life based on the worldview of Washington, D.C., liberal elites.
• Brooke L. Rollins is President and Chief Executive Officer at the America First Policy Institute and previously served as an Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council under the Trump administration.