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Yarmuth Opening Statement at Hearing on Economic Growth

Jun 7, 2017
Yarmuth Criticizes Phony Economic Assumptions in Trump budget, Promotes Pro-Growth Investments in American Economy

Washington, D.C.—Today Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, gave opening remarks at a hearing on pro-growth policies. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you Chairman Black.  And thank you all for coming to testify before us today.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Obviously, economic growth is a critically important issue.  Increased economic growth can benefit American families and the federal budget outlook. But we can’t have a meaningful hearing about economic growth without acknowledging the fact that the level of economic growth projected in the President’s budget is simply absurd. Any budget that includes that level of growth should not be taken seriously.

We need to be honest with the American people. And despite all the wishful thinking of the Administration and some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, long-term economic growth of three percent is not going to happen, particularly given the current economic and labor trends we face.

There are good reasons why CBO is projecting that the economy’s long-term growth rate is 1.9 percent.  And why the Blue Chip consensus private sector forecast is only slightly higher, at 2.0 percent.

The entry of the baby boom generation and increasing numbers of women into the workforce helped support economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s.  Those demographic trends have ended and they are not going to return.

But we can take steps to help strengthen our economy – and they are steps that the American people support.

Raising the minimum wage.

Investing in a state of the art infrastructure, innovation to create the next industry, research and science to make the next big discovery, and education and job training to develop a more skilled and productive workforce.

We can end loopholes that allow companies to ship jobs and profits overseas. 

And enact comprehensive immigration to increase the size of our workforce and the size of our economy.

Those are all things we can do now and should do now.

Massive tax cuts are not the answer – even though we are likely to hear that claim a lot today. We’ve done that before….actually twice.  Instead of sustained economic growth, our deficits exploded. Both of those tax cuts were accompanied by lax regulation that contributed to financial crises and recessions a few years later.

Regulatory reform is clearly not a silver bullet either - but we will likely hear that today as well. Most regulations already must meet a cost/benefit test.  Rescinding them eliminates their benefits, both direct economic benefits and non-economic ones such as improved health, safety, and environmental conditions.

Presumably, this is our last hearing before the release of my Republican colleague’s budget. Economic growth will obviously be a big part of their proposal. And it is my hope that it will be far different than the President’s budget. That it will use responsible economic growth projections.  That it won’t rely on debunked claims that massive tax cuts pay for themselves. That it will increase funding for national priorities that will grow our economy. And that it will make investments in our nation’s greatest asset – the American people.

We plan to talk about that more today and I hope to hear some helpful insights from our witnesses. I look forward to your testimony.