Have you heard the good news? Probably not.
While the mainstream media focuses on everything but Americans' top issue, the U.S. economy is experiencing an exceptional period of GDP and job growth.
Republicans' plans to restore the American Dream for millions of people are working. Cutting and simplifying middle-class taxes, reforming business taxes for companies of all sizes, and encouraging outsourced jobs and capital to return home, have produced positive results for those with a college education and without, young and old, male and female, black, white and Hispanic.
The news has been especially good for lower-income individuals, whose wages are rising at a faster rate than higher-income earners. One reason is that the struggling retail sector is rebounding, because confident consumers have more money to spend.
Another reason is that the manufacturing sector is staging a revival. Both sectors provide important opportunities to younger, less-educated and rural job-seekers. In fact, businesses' biggest problem these days is a lack of skilled applicants in a tighter labor market. Many are offering better wages and benefits.
In the 12-month period ending in June, workers received their biggest pay raise in a decade, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows them to keep a greater share. The typical Tennessee family will save more than $2,000 this year, due to lower tax rates and a larger standard deduction that will save them time, too.
Want to start your own business? Republicans understand how difficult the undertaking can be and created new incentives, such as a wider range of deductible expenses, a higher total limit, as well as deductibility for a significant portion of income. Surveys show record small business optimism and hiring plans.
The Federal Reserve is predicting more than 4 percent GDP growth this fiscal quarter, following more than 4 percent last quarter, meaning the growth rate in 2018 could reach 3 percent or more for the first time since 2005. The best number of all could be a recent Gallup poll showing Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the country at a 12-year high.
Call it "Making America Great Again." You could even call it "Hope and Change," but Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are in despair. A fast-growing economy is "Armageddon," $2,000 is "crumbs," and millions fewer requiring government assistance is a disaster. For liberals, progressives and socialists, you really have to wonder if jobs, rising wages and economic growth were ever the point.
High taxes, heavy regulations and out-of-control federal spending diminish the power of ordinary citizens to lead their own lives, as we witnessed during the prior administration, when food stamps became a substitute for manufacturing jobs our former president claimed were "never coming back." As it turns out, just like pessimism, optimism can be contagious.
Polls show more parents today believe in a brighter future for their children. Personally, I believe ordinary citizens are capable of extraordinary accomplishments and voted for tax cuts to help my constituents achieve their goals, perhaps a car, a home, a family, a college education, or the next world-changing invention. Rather than punishing success, I believe Tennesseans who work hard should reap the rewards.
Federal agencies need spending discipline, not more taxpayer money. As evidence, when Democrats raised taxes in 2013, the economic picture darkened, and the Congressional Budget Office estimated nearly $3 trillion in lost tax revenue. In contrast, the CBO now projects that, due to an accelerating economy, tax cuts will virtually pay for themselves. To maintain the momentum, I'm working to make tax cuts permanent and to stop the federal government's bad spending habits.
The improved economy may not generate headlines. The press is often more interested in the latest political soap opera. Off-camera, however, removed from Washington's daily drama, Americans are writing a thrilling comeback story.
U.S. Scott DesJarlais has represented Tennessee's 4th Congressional District since 2011.