As we celebrate Labor Day, we are reminded of the inherent dignity of work and the American worker. In America, we honor grit. We honor determination. We honor craftsmanship. And we honor the men and women who turn dreams into reality with their own two hands.
Earlier this year, I traveled to Wisconsin to sign the Buy American and Hire American executive order. With that action, we sent a powerful signal to the world that we are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and put America first.
Today, the hopes and dreams of American workers and their families remain a top priority for my administration. That is why we are launching efforts to reduce the crushing tax burden that is harming our companies and our workers.
Our self-destructive tax code costs Americans millions of jobs, trillions of dollars and billions of hours spent on compliance and paperwork.
To fix this, we have made the foundation of our job creation agenda fundamentally reforming our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-American.
Our plan will dramatically reduce income taxes for American workers and families. It will nearly double the standard deduction to help families get ahead. It will make our complex tax code more simple and fair. It will put money back into the pockets of the people who earned it. And it will bring back American jobs by making our businesses competitive once again.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan led the effort to make America the most competitive nation in the world by cutting our business tax rate to 34%, well below the average rate of other developed nations at the time. It worked. Our economy boomed, the middle class thrived and median family income increased.
But our economic competitors did not sit still. They saw what we did and started lowering their business tax rates, too. Over the past 30 years, the average business tax rate among developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) fell from 45% to less than 24%.
Instead of remaining competitive over the same period, we actually raised our rate to 35%. When combined with state and local taxes, American businesses today are effectively taxed at 39%.
We have gone from a business tax rate that is lower than our economic competitors to one that is more than 60% higher.
The United States is now behind nations such as France, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. We are dead last.
In response to this lack of competitiveness, large corporations have changed their business models to export jobs to other countries and then ship their goods back to the United States. Other businesses — even classic American brands — have been acquired by foreign competitors or have moved their headquarters overseas.
This has been a disaster for American workers. We know that when a business shuts down, or a factory packs up and leaves the United States for another country, the cost is measured not merely in lost jobs. It is measured in diminished confidence and lost hope.
We owe it to the American people to fix this broken system. American businesses want to prosper on our shores, and middle-class families are ready for more growth, more jobs and higher pay.
That’s why my administration is embracing a new economic model: the American model. Under this system, we will encourage companies to hire and grow in America, to raise wages for American workers and to help rebuild our American cities and communities. Americans will succeed and grow together — as one team, with one shared sense of purpose, and one glorious American destiny.
It is now time for all members of Congress — Democrat, Republican and Independent — to support pro-American tax reform. It’s time for Congress to provide a level playing field for our workers, to bring American companies back home, to attract new companies and businesses to our country, and to put more money into the pockets of everyday hardworking people.
If we do this — if we unite in the name of common sense — then we will add millions of jobs, funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into our economy and give America the competitive advantage we so desperately need.
Instead of exporting our jobs, we will export our goods, and lift millions of struggling citizens from welfare to work.
We will unleash America’s full potential. And in doing so, we will truly make America great again.
President Trump’s op-ed originally appeared in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.