An Economic Resurgence
Part 1 of a 2 Part Op-ed by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1)
Our economy is strong and growing stronger with an economic environment spurring considerable job growth and desperately needed opportunities for American workers. Millions of new jobs have now been created since the last Presidential election.
The resurgence of our nation’s economy has brought those who had previously given up on finding work off the benches and back into the workforce with Latino unemployment falling to a record low of 4.6% and labor-force participation at an all time high for women, African-Americans and individuals without a college degree. Fewer Americans are relying on government programs and more are securing financial independence, finding the good-paying, high-quality jobs they need to support themselves and secure a brighter future for their family. With the reduction of unemployment and underemployment, the Department of Agriculture has reported that the number of SNAP participants has decreased by 2 million people since 2016, a testament to more Americans achieving financial independence.
Through the reduction of corporate taxes and the elimination of harmful, job killing red tape and regulations, confidence and investment are soaring to new heights with companies that were previously fleeing the United States returning with good paying manufacturing jobs that have boosted GDP to higher than expected numbers. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I have worked to strike down executive branch regulations that unnecessarily harm consumers, small banks and the economy through the utilization of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to vote down federal agency regulations that are causing damage both intentionally and unintentionally. Coupled with the Executive Branch’s executive orders, we are witnessing record low unemployment rates and businesses investing in their employees and our nation’s economy, bringing consumer confidence to hover near an 18-year high.
In fact, our economy is doing so well that right now there are more available jobs than people available to fill the positions. Now, more than ever, we need workers who have the skills to succeed in a 21st century economy. It is critical we ensure access to career and technical education so all Americans who wish to work can thrive in a high-skill marketplace. During my time in Congress, I secured passage of important legislation like the STEM Education Act, which provides federal funding towards STEM programs in our schools, and I remain committed to forwarding programs that better prepare students for the 21st century workplace.
No matter how much progress is ever made, there will always be important work still to do. One great area for further improvement is with America’s role in the global economy where opportunities to sell American goods are limitless and trade imbalances must be better addressed. Renegotiating NAFTA, pursuing advantageous bilateral trade deals, and effectively pushing back on highly problematic Chinese policies are all critical with this effort. Increasing GDP, boosting trade surpluses, and exporting American goods all while creating good paying American jobs help to strengthen our economy and security.
To further help Long Islanders, it is also vitally important that New York gets its fiscal house in order where state income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes are pushing people to move out of state. The inefficiencies, bloated budgets, energy and insurance costs, poorly designed regulations and lack of fiscal discipline and focus are resulting in some of the highest tax rates and least friendly business climates in the country.
In the midst of this economic excitement around the country, it is my priority to ensure that the hardworking men and women of Long Island are feeling the positive economic impact, that each and every day it is a little easier to provide for themselves and their families. With our markets hitting historic highs, retirement and college savings accounts are as well, making it a little easier for Long Islanders who invest with the hopes of providing a better life for themselves and their families. Of course, that also means encouraging businesses to grow local and stay local, and driving down our now record unemployment rate.
On Long Island, I’m leading the fight on behalf of our local workers, like our commercial and recreational fishermen and our entire shellfish industry, working to ensure that the regulations that guide their industry are fair and that the science that governs their quotas is sound, through reforming the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Furthermore, I’ve introduce legislation that would protect Long Island’s rich viticultural heritage, by cracking down on wines that falsely label themselves as being from Long Island. Additionally, we have a responsibility to support the next generation of Long Island farmers. That’s why I cosponsored the Support Young Farmers Act, which helps Long Island farmers by fostering market and economic growth and breaking down barriers that hinder the next generation of farmers’ ability to feed our nation, and have continued to work to ensure they have the workers they need to grow and run their business.
Our area is also known for pioneering the future of clean and green energy through the joint work of Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab. Their research and innovation is an integral part of our local economy, which is why I opposed budget cuts that would impact these institutions, and secured full funding for their continued scientific research.
We have made so much progress and our economy is back to prove it. Promoting an economic environment that encourages growth and good paying jobs is so important to Long Islanders struggling to keep up, and I am committed to continuing to deliver for them. It is critical that Long Islanders are able to attain the American dream, right here, in New York. I will continue to pursue solutions on a bipartisan basis that help grow our middle class and improve the business climate on Long Island.
Congressman Lee Zeldin represents the First Congressional District of New York, serving on both the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.