During last night's State of the Union Address, President Trump spent a significant amount of time touting the state of the US economy -- which was again buoyed by a far stronger-than-expected January jobs report. While running through the list of accomplishments, Trump credited his administration's significant reduction of federal regulation, as well as the pro-growth 2017 tax reform law -- against which every single Democrat in Congress cast votes. In the clip below, notice how quite a few Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, applaud several of the economic progress statistics. They clap now, but they've strenuously opposed the big-ticket policies that have helped drive the positive outcomes:
The tax law -- which I'll remind you is not even close to a primary driver of our very serious deficit and debt problem (Trump continues to ignore this reality) -- (1) cut taxes for nearly all American workers, (2) brought our corporate tax rate in line with other advanced economies, and (3) touched off a binge of hiring and bonuses. In one of the latest signals that a more favorable tax climate is encouraging meaningful investment, ExxonMobil made the following announcement just yesterday:
BREAKING: @ExxonMobil announces game-changing $10 billion investment in the United States, expected to support 9,000 jobs and generate up to $31 billion in economic activity. https://t.co/4Xul9IStg9 pic.twitter.com/mKzkPFi6a9— The NAM (@ShopFloorNAM) February 5, 2019
On Tuesday afternoon, ExxonMobil in partnership with Qatar Petroleum announced an incredible $10 billion investment in America’s energy infrastructure, a development plan that will transform the existing Golden Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Sabine Pass, Texas into a world-class LNG production and export terminal. ExxonMobil’s game-changing investment is a clear win for America’s economy, and will further position the United States as a global leader in the manufacturing and export of energy resources. The $10 billion infrastructure investment is expected to support 9,000 jobs over the five-year construction period, 200 permanent manufacturing jobs once completed, and generate up to $31 billion in U.S. economic gains...Last year, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods announced that the historic tax reform law, coupled with a surging economy and regulatory reforms, had enhanced the company’s plans to invest more than $50 billion in the United States over the next five years. Today’s investment makes clear that the pro-growth agenda manufacturers have been fighting so hard for is generating results for workers across the country.
The GOP-passed tax reform was quite unpopular during Congress' debate over passage, largely because Democrats' false talking points and fear-mongering were ubiquitous. When "Armageddon" didn't arrive, and positive results began to become undeniable, support for the law rose from 20 points underwater to approximately break-even. Democrats spent a great deal of energy loudly insisting that this law wouldn't help working class and middle-income Americans, employing highly misleading and cherry-picked stats to bolster their attacks. I'm not sure they ever really considered what would happen when reality delivered a different verdict. What we're seeing during tax season is another uptick in popular support for the law, as people experience the simplified process -- with a large majority taking advantage of the newly-doubled standard deduction. A strong economy and a noticeably lower tax burden for almost every American family? It's registering:
The upward creep in TCJA popularity seems real at this point.— Alan Cole (@AlanMCole) February 5, 2019
But for me the game was never about popularity in the short term. It's about how it will look when one attempts to reverse things.
For example, try to unwind that standard deduction expansion. I double dog dare you. pic.twitter.com/7Ui4OL8kLM
Two of the last three national surveys on the law show it above water by eight percentage points, including the new CNN poll showing a near-majority (49/41) in favor. A Republican strategist diagnoses the phenomenon of the policy's improved fortunes in the realm of voter perception: "Republicans delivered a massive, commonsense tax reform package during the last Congress in the face of a [major] disinformation campaign -- [so it's] no surprise that around tax season, people are re-discovering so many of the benefits." Republicans would help their cause by undertaking an intense messaging push over the next two months, urging voters to pay attention to streamlined filing options, asking them to take note of whether they're paying less in taxes (almost everyone is), and reminding people which party is responsible.
I'll leave you with a reminder that while the exploding national debt is a major crisis-in-waiting, it's over-spending, not tax reform, that is the problem. Post-tax cuts, federal revenues as a percentage of GDP are around the multi-decade average. We're spending way too much, and leading Democrats have proposed nearly doubling our existing spending in pursuit of a wildly unaffordable left-wing agenda.