OP-ED: The formula for ‘An America that Works’
Several economic indicators show us that our economy is growing. Unemployment is down, the stock market up, consumer confidence is at its highest level in over a decade, and businesses are starting to invest in their future again.
This is crucial. The fact is, the 1.6 percent GDP growth we’ve experienced over the past several years is simply unsustainable. If that trend continued, we would not be able to fund priorities such as bolstering our national security, taking care of our veterans or combatting the opioid epidemic.
However, we cannot rest on this short-term snapshot. There are challenges we need to address, including the continued growing economic divide. For too long, top-down policies from Washington have built a system that is based on protecting the status quo. We need to embrace a governing vision that advances the American Dream and puts jobs and economic growth above the partisanship that too often divides us.
That’s why I’ve outlined a bipartisan economic agenda called ‘An America that Works’ — a common sense jobs plan that can empower American businesses and supports the workers that make our economy move. The agenda seeks to get to the roots of our current economic challenges and provide forward-looking solutions to a host of issues, including education and job training, tax and regulatory reform, and American manufacturing. You can read the plan at http://fitzpatrick.house.gov/AnAmericaThatWorks
The Great Recession darkened job prospects for many Americans looking for work and added new pressure to others who found themselves needing new training or credentials mid-career. In total, the recession eliminated 5.6 million jobs and the “recovery” did not bring them back. Plotting a better course for education and training is crucial to establishing a real economic recovery and preparing the workforce of tomorrow.
That’s why I introduced the Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act designed to enhance training and educational opportunities through apprenticeships. America’s workforce development relies on apprenticeship programs, allowing workers to increase their skills while also earning a paycheck. By closing the skills-gap, we can fill good-paying jobs for working families and better serve those being left behind in today’s economy.
While a skilled workforce is vital, so is the ability for small businesses to grow, hire and thrive. That starts with addressing our outdated tax code and removing regulatory roadblocks.
The model is straightforward: simplify the ridiculously complex internal revenue code, eliminate the loopholes that allow corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share and lower the rates for middle class families and small businesses. As a CPA, a member of the Small Business Committee, and a concerned taxpayer, I’ve outlined these commonsense objectives: encourage growth, simplify the tax code itself, and increase service for taxpayers.
While we will hear more about tax reform in the coming months, Congress has already acted to significantly reduce the regulatory burdens hampering small businesses and entrepreneurs. By passing the REINS Act – which gives taxpayers a voice in the enactment major regulatory creation, and the Financial CHOICE Act – that will revive the vitality of community banks and end the Wall Street-over-Main Street mentality of our financial system, we’re advancing measures to return power to our local economies.
At the heart of those economies — including our own — is American manufacturing.
Consumers associate domestic production with increased safety and quality. Moreover, people in this community understand that when they buy American they’re not only buying quality products, they’re helping American businesses and American workers.
With that in mind, my Made in America Act would connect American consumers to American manufacturers like never before by creating a definitive, standardized definition of American-made goods. In doing so, we can provide consumers with reliable and easy-to-understand information about the origin of American-made products, incentivize manufacturers to meet benchmarks, and support the trend toward reshoring jobs from overseas.
I understand that real and lasting change can be difficult to achieve, but I’m committed to doing what we were sent to Washington, D.C. to do: stand up for hardworking families and unleash the power of the American economy. I think “An America That Works” is the playbook to accomplish that goal.