"Our economic policy can be summed up in three simple, but beautiful words: jobs, jobs, jobs," he said at a rally in Greenville, N.C. in July. "We’ve created six million new jobs since Election Day. If I would've said that, no one would have believed it. If I would’ve said that, fake news would have said, ‘He’s exaggerating.'”
The first step in bringing jobs back was to get the economy moving after the years of stagnation under the anti-business policies of President Obama and the Democrats. Almost immediately after President Trump was elected, his pro-enterprise agenda led to confidence rising, investments booming, and growth returning to levels that the experts said we'd never see again.
Now that formula - lower taxes and less regulation - is pretty standard conservative policy. What's different about President Trump is that he is a populist. He is pro-worker in a way that we haven't seen before from a Republican president.
Establishment Republicans became slaves to a laissez-faire ideology that favored the financial sector and the coastal knowledge economy over manufacturing and the heartland. They adopted a pro-donor agenda of open borders and free trade at any price. They worshipped the Wall Street wheeler-dealers who said making things in America didn't matter. Let's import cheap labor. Who cares what happens to American workers and their communities when manufacturing moves to Mexico and China?
Well, President Trump does care. He said no to the one-sided trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), ripping them up or renegotiating them. He said no to open borders, building the wall, enforcing immigration laws, and pushing for a merit-based system. He prioritized manufacturing after years of neglect, even intervening with individual companies, to the pearl-clutching horror of the free-market zealots.
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But look at the results. Since 2016, there's been a massive turnaround. Last year's gain of 264,000 manufacturing jobs was the highest since 1997. Overall, the latest jobs report showed an increase of 164,000, bringing the labor force to almost 163 million -- a record high.
With President Trump, we've seen the lowest unemployment in 50 years and the lowest on record for African-American and Hispanic workers. But as I pointed out last week, even with our historically low unemployment, there are 6.1 million unemployed Americans still looking for work. Another 4 million Americans are in part-time jobs but want full-time positions, and a further, 1.5 million want and are available for work but have become disheartened and stopped looking. That's over 11 million Americans who could be doing full-time jobs but are not.
We see all this in the labor force participation rate -- it plummeted after the Great Recession. And while some progress has been made, there's still a long way to go before every working-age American who can work is actually working.
But here too, President Trump is doing something different and new, fighting for the American worker, with Ivanka Trump's massively under-appreciated workforce development initiative. It was launched with an executive order last July and a year on, the results have been spectacular.
Over 300 companies and associations have gotten involved, along with 37 governors to make change happen at the state level. But the real point is the outcome.
Remember that number -- 11 million Americans who aren't in full-time work but could be? Well, Ivanka has been able to persuade the private sector to create over 13 million new training opportunities for American workers and students, including, most significantly, 1.2 million from the National Association of Manufacturers.
When you put all this together -- the pro-growth tax cuts and deregulation, the specific help for workers to re-train, the tariffs that are encouraging manufacturing to come back to America, along with President Trump's tough approach on immigration -- not just controlling illegal immigration at the southern border but proposing a big shake-up of legal immigration to make it merit-based, it adds up to the most ambitious pro-worker policy agenda this country has ever seen.
The president promised "jobs jobs jobs" -- and that is exactly what he is delivering.
Adapted from Steve Hilton's monologue from "The Next Revolution" on Sept. 1, 2019.