Democratic warnings that President Trump would make life worse for minorities were discredited once again Friday, with the release of new unemployment statistics for December. In just under one year in office, the president and the Republican Congress have helped minorities make dramatic gains.
Since taking the reins from President Obama, President Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress have embraced free-market and pro-liberty economic policies. Now – after a year of reducing regulations, approving a tax cut, and encouraging stricter standards for numerous welfare programs at the state level – the economy is thriving. Working-age minorities are benefitting in ways they have rarely, if ever, have enjoyed in the modern era.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 6.8 percent in December – the lowest rate since recordkeeping began in 1972. That’s an astounding drop from the 8.3 percent black unemployment rate in October 2016, just before Donald Trump was elected president.
Hispanic unemployment was at a near-record low of 4.9 percent in December – down from 5.7 percent the month before the election of President Trump. Additionally, there were four months in 2017 in which the Hispanic seasonal unemployment fell below 5 percent – the only time that has occurred in a single year over the past 44 years.
Asian-Americans, the demographic group that typically has the lowest unemployment rate, enjoyed a 2.5 percent unemployment rate in December – the lowest figure since 2006.
The overall U.S. unemployment rate in December was 4.1 percent, matching the lowest level in 17 years – down from 4.9 percent in October 2016.
In addition to putting more Americans to work, President Trump’s economic and job-creation policies are creating once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunities.
The Trump-era economic gains are allowing more and more families to move off welfare rolls and enjoy self-sufficiency and the pride that comes with regular work.
Under the Obama administration, welfare programs were expanded dramatically. Many policies that have a proven record of keeping people from getting trapped in a cycle of poverty – such as work requirements and time limits for working-age able-bodied people collecting government assistance – were temporarily removed or watered down. This disproportionately affected blacks and Hispanics, especially in lower-income urban regions.
The economic gains made because of the Trump administration’s policies, coupled with states’ efforts to improve welfare programs, have had the opposite effect.
For instance, from October 2015 to October 2016, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expanded by 2.9 million people, to 74.7 million. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported, thanks in large part to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provisions, that Medicaid rolls increased by 37.8 percent from September 2013 to November 2016. But in what can only be described as a remarkable turnaround, preliminary Medicaid data for October 2017 (the most recent period available), show Medicaid enrollment fell by about 500,000.
Food stamp rolls also experienced a significant decrease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports total enrollment declined by 2.7 percent nationally from September 2016 to September 2017, with enrollment increasing in only six states.
Supporters of President Obama might attempt to argue that these incredible economic achievements should be credited to him, not to President Trump. But that would be wishful thinking without a basis in fact.
The truth is that although the economy has been slowly improving for several years, the rate at which the economy has experienced gains increased rapidly once President Trump was elected. It doesn’t take a genius or a mathematician to understand why.
Unlike the Obama administration, which added more than 20,000 new regulations over eight years, President Trump has slashed unneeded regulations, freeing up businesses to operate without the burden of an overbearing national government.
“Within the first 11 months, we canceled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions, more than any previous president, by far,” President Trump said in December. “And you see the results, when you look at the stock market, the results of companies, and when you see companies coming back into our country.”
The Trump administration says its cut in regulations will amount to a savings of $8.1 billion in net regulatory costs. Business can use a big chunk of those savings to create yet more jobs.
In addition to reducing regulatory burdens, President Trump approved the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines; announced plans to auction off oil and natural gas drilling leases to roughly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico; stopped President Obama’s war on the coal industry; and signed one of the largest tax cuts in American history, which has already led to major corporations such as AT&T, Boeing, and Southwest Airlines giving huge bonuses to hundreds of thousands of employees.
And on Thursday the Trump administration announced yet another move to create jobs and strengthen our economy – an expansion of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas to almost all U.S. coastal waters. This will also make our nation less dependent on imported oil and gas and reduce our trade deficit with other nations.
All these policies – along with promises from President Trump and congressional Republicans to do even more in the coming months – have catalyzed America’s previously sluggish economy. Minority groups are some of the nation’s biggest winners.