Trump says country is in a ‘blue collar boom,’ criticizes ideas of the ‘radical left’

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 764 views 

President Donald Trump said Tuesday (Feb. 4) during the State of the Union address that his administration has made significant improvements to the U.S. economy, military and global prestige. The country, he said, is “moving at a pace unimaginable just three years ago.”

In what he called a “blue collar boom,” the president said his reduced regulations, “historic” tax cuts, and better trade agreements have helped the U.S. economy. A gain from reducing regulations, Trump noted, has been to make the country energy independent, with record levels of oil and natural gas exploration and production.

Trump, speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives and refusing to shake the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also spent several minutes on the benefits of the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. He also said the successful trade dispute with China resulted in what is now the “best relationship” between the two countries.

On healthcare, Trump said he would protect Social Security and Medicaid, and would not let “socialism” and other plans by the “radical left” destroy the country’s private healthcare system. However, the recent budget proposed by the Trump Administration seeks to reduce Medicaid spending by $1.5 trillion and reduce Social Security support by $25 billion over the next 10 years.

Trump, who is expected to be acquitted of impeachment charges by the U.S. Senate in a scheduled vote Wednesday, recognized several guests in the gallery, including conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, who recently announced he has “advanced” lung cancer, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award in the United States – during the State of the Union address.

A document provided by the White House listed several improvements during the Trump Administration. Following are some of those items purported:
• Wages are rising faster for workers, those without a college degree, the bottom 10% of 
earners, and African-Americans.
• The lowest-income workers have seen the fastest pay increase (16%) since the election.
• Since the election, the economy has created 7 million new jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs.
• More Americans, nearly 160 million, are employed today than ever before.
• The economy has added more than 12,000 factories in 3 years after losing 60,000 factories during the 16 years of the last two presidents.
• The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low.

The White House also put together an “accomplishment” list for each state. Following is the list for Arkansas:
• The state’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate on record (3.4%), and its labor force participation rate is rising.
• Since President Trump’s election, 50,000 jobs have been created in Arkansas.
• Last year, wages increased by 6% for workers in Arkansas.
• The 85 opportunity zones in Arkansas are attracting investment to previously forgotten 
communities, including in Jefferson, Pulaski, and Washington counties.
• New business applications are up 23% since the election.
• Unemployment Insurance claims fell to a record low and are down 13% since the election.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 29,535 new jobs in Arkansas between November 2016 and December 2019.

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was tasked to provide the first response to Trump’s speech. She said Democratic governors around the country are doing the hard work to rebuild roads and bridges, provide broadband to all constituents, remove lead pipes from water, address issues behind poverty, and make sure people have access to healthcare.

“I was up all night with a baby and during the day, I had to fight my mom’s insurance company when they wrongly denied her coverage for chemotherapy,” Whitmer, 48, said during her 10-minute response. “It was hard. It exposed the harsh realities of our workplaces, our health care system, and our child care system. And it changed me. I lost my patience for people who play games instead of solve problems.”

She also called out Trump on how he treats those who may oppose his policies or actions.

“Bullying people on Twitter doesn’t build bridges, it burns them,” she said.

Whitmer also said the stock market may be doing well, but wages have stagnated for many in the country.

“It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market. What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans, or prescription drugs.”

In Arkansas, Republican Congressional officials and some of their Democratic challengers offered takeaways from the State of the Union speech. You can read their comments here.