Great news: Hispanic employment is booming.
According to the latest job numbers, Hispanic unemployment continues to remain at one of its lowest rates in nearly half a century. The report also showed a near-record high of 27.6 million Hispanics employed and participating in the workforce in January 2019. Just a few months ago, the Census Bureau announced that the median income for Hispanic households grew by 3.7 percent in real terms from 2016 to 2017.
These historic numbers didn’t happen by accident. They are the result of tax and regulatory policies that have increased economic opportunity for all.
The most significant policy change occurred in December 2017 when President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which drove record optimism among small business owners and paved the way for significant investments to expand facilities, boost productivity, and increase hiring and wages. A joint study by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury estimated that 9 out of 10Americans saw an increase in their take-home pay as a result of tax relief.
Thanks to the growing economy, more and more Hispanics are able to save, spend, and invest as they see fit, including purchasing a home and opening up a business.
But to truly appreciate how well things are going for the Hispanic community, it’s critical to look back at the years following the 2008 economic crisis.
The Pew Research Center found that Hispanics were the hardest-hit ethnic and racial group during the Great Recession, with the median wealth of Hispanic households falling by 66 percent from 2005 to 2009. Not surprisingly, the Hispanic unemployment rate hovered around double digits for much of that time, peaking at 13 percent in August 2009.
While there’s been a remarkable turnaround from those grim days, there are warning signs we should heed.
The imposition of tariffs on our biggest trading partners threatens to derail the gains we’ve made. Last September, Washington slapped duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China followed by announcing trade tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. The U.S. has also imposed tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Tariffs amount to new taxes that cost American companies billions while raising the costs for everyday goods and services to American consumers. In short, tariffs make us poorer.
In some places, particularly those with a large number of Hispanic residents, trade is vital to the local economy. In Texas, where 35 percent of the workforce is Hispanic, trade activities employ nearly 3 million Texas workers.
Additionally, some in Congress are also proposing to raise taxes in order to pay for trillions in new government spending. They also have their sights set on imposing additional regulations and mandates on businesses and entrepreneurs. Years of research tells us that unchecked government spending, onerous regulations, and higher taxes are a recipe for less economic opportunity.
Many Hispanics, including first-generation immigrants, know first-hand the debilitating effects of such policies. In far too many countries in Latin America, protectionism, high taxes, and punishing government regulations have made it impossible for many to get ahead. It’s why so many left everything and everyone behind to immigrate to the U.S. in search of prosperity and opportunity.
As the most recent job numbers confirm, the U.S. Hispanic community is thriving thanks to our growing economy. Of course, there is even more that can be done to ensure that more Hispanics are able to live out the American dream. Let’s not raise taxes and grow the size of government, but instead double down on pro-growth economic policies that have been serving our community well.