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Peter Navarro is the assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy. This article is based on the White House report: “President Trump’s Jobs Plan for Maine.”
During its eight years of slow economic growth, the Obama administration raised taxes, cut defense spendin g and r estricted foreign military sales. President Donald Trump has pursued just the opposite strategy. Just how has this polar opposite approach worked to create jobs and prosperity in the great state of Maine?
Critics of Trump’s historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 portray it as a “tax cuts for the rich” scheme. But nothing could be further from the truth, as the data directly from states like Maine tell a completely different story.
Consider that real median household income in Maine soared following the passage of the Trump tax cuts, jumping over $13,600 or an astonishing 25 percent in just two years. Compare that to a decline of $2,000 during the entire eight years of the higher tax regime of the Obama administration.
In addition, the Trump tax cuts are extremely family-friendly. Nearly 88,000 Maine households are benefitting from the doubling of the child tax credit. A key provision in the Trump tax bill related to mortgage eligibility likewise has driven up the rate of homeownership in Maine to its highest level since 1999. In the 10 quarters following the passage of the Trump tax cuts, the homeownership rate in Maine increased by nearly 6 percent. Compare that to the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration where the homeownership rate contracted by 1.1 percent.
Now what about the “opportunity zones” created by the Trump tax plan? Maine has 32 such zones concentrated in the northern and central coastline areas where the average poverty rate is nearly 21 percent and as high as 29 to 30 percent in Lewiston and communities surrounding Portland. These zones have already seen investments totaling $130 million and will literally provide great new opportunities to create good, high-paying jobs.
Trump’s dramatic increase in defense spending has likewise been a boon to communities in Maine. At the top of the list is Bath Iron Works, which makes two of the most important ships in the United States Navy — the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer. And just 85 miles south of the Bath Iron Works, the Department of Defense has invested over $80 million in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and its 8,000 civilian employees.
According to data provided by BIW, it employs over 6,400 workers and the average wage at the yard is $49,480. This is well above the Maine average for production workers of $40,414 and the national average for production workers of $34,490.
As an example of how Trump has earned the trust of American workers with his pro-growth policies, the White House was able to work with both management and union negotiators to quickly settle a strike at the Bath Iron Works that had dragged on for more than a month during the summer.
As for increased foreign military sales to our allies and partners, this is a key part of the Trump-Pence maxim that “economic security is national security.” Increased foreign military sales bolster our alliances, lessen the need for American boots on the ground in foreign lands, and strengthen our defense industrial base. That’s national security.
Increased foreign military sales also create good-paying jobs and strengthen our manufacturing base. That’s economic security.
Maine, for example, is benefitting from increased sales of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to countries ranging from Belgium, Israel, and Poland to Japan and South Korea. In North Berwick, Pratt & Whitney operates a 1 million square foot facility where workers make critical parts for the F-35 engines — so these increased foreign military sales are helping to pump millions of additional dollars into the economy of southern Maine.
It should be clear from these observations that, at least in the Trump administration, “all job creation is local.” It should be equally clear that policies such as tax cuts and increased defense spending and foreign military sales have been a boon to Maine.