The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Adrian Smith
U.S. Congressman, Nebraska 

Good News for the Economy


December 20, 2017

This is the season of good news, and the economic potential we are currently seeing in our country is no exception.

The unemployment rate has fallen to a 17-year low, a signal of rising opportunity in America. The Trump administration’s commitment to rolling back much of the Obama administration’s red tape has loosened the regulatory stranglehold on the economy and set the stage for more extensive growth through tax reform.

As former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp used to say, “The tax code is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news.” After years of preparation, we are working hard to get tax reform across the finish line.

Revamping our broken, outdated tax code will help get the government off Americans’ backs and deliver relief for taxpayers of all income levels, while also giving businesses of all sizes the confidence they need to invest. For the many people who have been struggling to make ends meet or grow their businesses or find a job, tax reform is a long-awaited priority.

President Trump has referred to tax reform as “rocket fuel” for the economy, and the excitement is already taking hold. U.S. manufacturers’ economic optimism has reached the highest level in 20 years, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers. Of the hundreds of large and small manufacturers surveyed, 94.6 percent reported a positive economic outlook, 53.8 percent said they anticipate hiring more workers, and 48.8 percent said they plan to increase employee wages and benefits.

Manufacturers aren’t alone in their enthusiasm about our economy’s potential. U.S. small business confidence has also hit a nearly all-time high, coming in just under the highest reading which occurred in 1983 during the Reagan economy. The Index of Small Business Optimism, a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, has been conducted for 44 years. The percentage of small businesses planning to hire more workers increased by six points in the past month, while the percentage of owners who believe now is a good time to expand went up four points.

Both reports emphasized their respondents’ optimism depends on the passage of pro-growth tax reform. More than 100 economists sent an open letter to Congress at the end of November urging passage of tax reform for similar reasons. In their words, “Economic growth will accelerate if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes, leading to more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for the American people.”

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has also stressed the importance of tax reform to the agriculture economy. Among many benefits, including full and immediate expensing, is a provision I fought hard for to allow producers to continue to deduct in full property tax on agricultural land. This primary input in the business of feeding the world should be treated as a business expense in the tax code.

Moving into the final stages of tax reform, we face a crucial moment for the future of our country. There are many reasons to be optimistic about what’s to come. Despite our challenges, America is the greatest country in the world with an unmatched legacy of opportunity. Let’s ensure this opportunity grows.


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