Message to the Congress on the Economic Report of the President
To the Congress of the United States:
Four years ago, on the steps of the United States Capitol, I pledged to the citizens of this country to return our Nation to greatness, and to thereby enable, secure, and enhance the prosperity of all Americans. While this would require us to confront challenges and hardships, I knew that the American spirit, set free from overbearing taxation and regulation, would drive the country forward to unimaginable economic success. I was right. Over the course of this Administration, the American people demonstrated an indomitable will to prevail and drove our economy to record heights.
Since my first day in office, I have been steadfast in my commitment to put America First. The economic pillars of this movement—sweeping tax reform, extensive deregulatory actions, and fair and reciprocal trade agreements—promoted a robust middle class and led to the longest expansion and strongest recovery in history.
Before the coronavirus came to our country from China, our economy created more than 7 million jobs, nearly 12,000 factories returned to our shores, and wealth for Americans hit all-time highs. Inequality decreased as wage growth for blue-collar workers outpaced that of their managers, and earnings for those in the bottom 10 percent grew faster than earnings for the top 10 percent, reversing the trends of past Administrations. Since the start of my Administration, median household income grew by more than $6,000, lifting up people no matter their race, ethnicity, educational background, or age group. In 2019 alone, median household income rose $4,400—more in one year than in the entire 16 years through 2016. Even as more than 2 million people returned from the sidelines to enter the labor force, the unemployment rate plummeted to 3.5 percent in February 2020—the lowest level in more than half a century.
This past year, our Nation has faced trials the likes of which many have never experienced. Through these challenges, however, we have witnessed once again the resilience of the American people. In just 2 months this year, more than 23 million people saw their livelihoods threatened through no fault of their own, as the unemployment rate peaked at 14.7 percent. Since this spring, we have seen more than 12 million jobs return and gross domestic product increase by a record-shattering 33 percent in the third quarter alone, thanks to the largest and fastest economic policy response in history.
When the virus hit, my Administration launched the largest industrial mobilization since World War II. We have created the world's most innovative testing system, pioneered groundbreaking therapies and treatments, and, most importantly, we have developed and manufactured gold standard vaccines in record time. The pandemic may have begun in China, but we are ending it in America.
Thanks to the pro-growth policies of my Administration, our Nation's economy has exceeded expectations at every turn, and despite the economic shock due to the China Virus, our great American comeback is well underway.
The Renaissance of American Greatness: Rebuilding Our Country
For decades, political leaders and privileged elites worked to silence American workers and families even as opportunity—and with it hope—slipped from the shores of our great Nation. Almost 5 million manufacturing jobs and 60,000 factories fled our country following the establishment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China in 2000. Massive tax burdens and overregulation encouraged businesses to invest elsewhere. For decades, multinational corporations flooded our Nation with imported goods, stripping millions of American families of their livelihoods and their dignity. Decades of these damaging policies led to the prevalence of "Made in China," as China's leaders (and those from other countries) took advantage of establishment politicians who did not have the best interests of American workers at heart.
Before I took office, politicians and their adherence to a globalist doctrine converted our borders and national sovereignty into mere negotiable concepts to be traded away or simply ignored when in conflict with establishment interests. Anti-American ideology flooded into schools, universities, and media, while American wealth, intellectual property, and innovation rushed out of our country. Cities corroded by years of neglect and mismanagement became commonplace, each complete with an allotment of lawless streets that were devoid of prospect, educational choice, and liberty. International financial crises became matters not of "if" but of "when," yet the attention of those charged with governing turned elsewhere and the American people were forgotten.
Since taking office, rather than apologize for America, I have stood up for America. From day one of my Presidency, I have put America First, and I have fought for the American worker harder than anyone ever has. My Administration has adhered to the two simple rules of "Buy American" and "Hire American," we have built the most secure border in history, and I took the toughest-ever action to stand up to China.
I have worked every day to restore promise to our Nation through an economic agenda that lifts up all Americans. In just 3 years, my Administration's policies brought more than 6.6 million people out of poverty; created prosperity through record low unemployment rates for Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and those without a college degree; reduced homelessness among the general population and our veterans; and saved thousands of lives by stemming the tide of opioid-related deaths. We committed to breaking a cycle that for too long held children's education hostage on the basis of affluence and class background—denying children knowledge and unrealized potential. And my Administration returned economic freedom to the American people as we have cut nearly eight regulations for every new, significant rule—weakening the power of the regulatory state and stifling stealth taxation. The power of fracking has forged the path for American energy independence and delivered personal prosperity alongside national security, contributing to a 10 percent decline in the global price of oil. We also created the U.S. Space Force—the sixth branch of the military—and have given new meaning to "Peace through Strength" by expanding our capabilities and restoring American leadership in space.
We unleashed record prosperity at home, while also negotiating fair and reciprocal trade agreements. The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased wages for blue-collar workers, and the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement elevated American competitiveness with respect to our regional trading partners. We took the toughest, boldest, and strongest actions against China in American history, and the United States is now collecting billions of dollars in tariff revenue on imports of Chinese goods.
I took unprecedented action to reduce drug prices and ensure that Americans never pay more for life-saving medicines than consumers in other countries. And my Administration took action to end surprise medical billing. We also eliminated the harmful individual mandate from the so-called Affordable Care Act, as between 1.2 and 4.6 million Americans gained employment sponsored health coverage from 2018 to 2019. These actions, along with countless other taken by my Administration, have not only boosted economic growth and wage gains for all Americans, but they have also protected the American people from foreign competitors trying to take advantage of them.
A Great American Comeback Underway
The virus from China required us to close up the greatest economy in the history of the world. Understanding the risks our Nation faced, I took bold action to ban travel from China and then later Europe, saving countless American lives.
In a matter of days and weeks, the global economy ceased to exist as we knew it. Nations around the world locked down as uncertainty generated tremendous fear. In order to prepare our frontline responders in hospitals and health facilities across the United States, we prioritized the safety of the American people over the strength of our economy. In March of this year, we implemented an initial plan to slow the spread of the virus, in coordination with Governors across the Nation. During that time, my Administration facilitated the delivery of thousands of ventilators and millions of gloves, masks, and protective gear to States and territories, working to get Americans life-saving medical equipment.
We promised that no patient suffering from the virus would have to pay for their treatment out of pocket, and we provided billions of dollars to hospitals and healthcare providers so that uninsured patients would have access to critical care. By the end of March, the Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorizations to fast-track more than 20 diagnostic tests and life-saving treatments. Thanks to our efforts, the case fatality rate today is more than 85 percent lower than its April peak. Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed has harnessed the innovation of the private sector to develop and manufacture millions of doses of life-saving vaccines, decreasing the average development time from 3 years to less than 9 months. This record-shattering work has cleared the path for an end to this cruel pandemic, saving millions of lives around the world and trillions of dollars in health and other economic costs.
Through no fault of their own, Americans from all walks of life have been forced to confront the Invisible Enemy. To help the Nation through this difficult time, I championed and signed four pieces of legislation. These laws kept Americans connected to their jobs and reduced the economic harm to families and workers. In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—the largest piece of economic relief legislation in history—authorized direct payments to citizens, expanded unemployment insurance, and deferred loans for those who needed it most. When Congress later abdicated its duty to expand and extend this relief, for short-sided political gain, I signed four executive actions to continue providing for the families, students, and workers of our country. Additionally, my Administration worked hand-in-hand with the private sector, invoking the Defense Production Act and related authorities more than 100 times to surge production and distribution of ventilators, protective equipment, and other materials, including therapeutics and vaccines.
The Paycheck Protection Program, a core piece of the CARES Act, saved or supported more than 51 million American jobs by providing more than 5.2 million critical loans to small businesses. These loans were crucial lifelines to business owners and their employees that averted widespread bankruptcies. This effort alone meant that more than 80 percent of March and April layoffs were temporary, as over 80 percent of these businesses that received them are still open today. In addition, Economic Impact Payments sent to more than 159 million Americans surged liquidity to every corner of our Nation, and provided nearly three months of income to households in the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution. And our Farmers to Families Food Box Program delivered more than 90 million boxes to families, children, and businesses, protecting millions of Americans from food insecurity. For the last 4 years, I have fought for you, the American people, in all that I do. The Economic Report of the President that follows describes the policies that have made our country so successful and lays out steps we can take to continue the great American comeback in response to the China Virus. This year's Report is a testament to the resolve of the American people, who never falter in the face of adversity, and whose courage and relentless drive forge our destiny.
DONALD J. TRUMP
The White House,
NOTE: This message was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 15 as part of the Economic Report of the President.
Donald J. Trump, Message to the Congress on the Economic Report of the President Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347850