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Remarks on Health and the Economy

Eric D. Hargan
Phoenix Textile Corp.
November 16, 2017
O’Fallon, Missouri

Strong small businesses don’t just create jobs and economic opportunity. They also provide a strong foundation for local communities and a good living for hardworking employees to support their families. In turn, healthy communities and strong families mean healthier Americans.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thanks so much for that introduction, Linda [Haberstroh], and thank you for having us here today.

Hello everyone, and thank you all for welcoming us here today, too.

As someone who was born a bit south of here in Missouri, it’s a special honor to come here and learn about and celebrate the wonderful success you have had at Phoenix Textile.

This is a really special place — the epitome of the great American tradition of family-owned small businesses: 34 years in business, growing to 110 employees, woman-owned, passed down from generation to generation.

Businesses like this are the backbone of the American economy. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses like this one account for 2 out of every 3 new jobs in America.

But strong small businesses don’t just create jobs and economic opportunity. They also provide a strong foundation for local communities and a good living for hardworking employees to support their families.

In turn, healthy communities and strong families mean healthier Americans, which is why I’m here today.

President Trump’s commitment to building a strong American economy, and to all the benefits that come with a strong economy, extends across his administration.

At the Department of Health and Human Services, our mission is to enhance and protect the well-being of every American, and we believe that promoting a healthy economy is a key part of that mission.

A good paying job not only enables you to help provide for your family, it can make you part of a community.

The sense of purpose that also comes with work is crucial not just to our mental health, but to our physical health as well.

I know you take fitness pretty seriously here—you set a great example of how to promote healthy lifestyles in the workplace.

But it’s not just office gyms and wellness programs that can make employment a boost to our health.

There is also a wealth of academic literature showing that unemployment and joblessness in general is bad for our health—and that finding work is quite good for it.

Some of these findings are quite striking. For instance, a recent study found that the disappearance of certain manufacturing businesses in America due to competition with China has not just meant fewer jobs for Americans. It’s also meant higher rates of mortality, especially among men—more heart attacks, more suicides, and more substance abuse.

We spend a great deal of our time at HHS looking at how to tackle America’s opioid epidemic, which has hit the St. Louis area and Missouri as a whole quite hard. There are many causes of that epidemic, but one of them is certainly a sense of hopelessness that can sometimes be driven by a lack of economic opportunity.

The President knows that so much of our heartland is hurting. But he also knows that there is no one in the world who can out-do the American worker, when you put us on a level playing field.

That’s what has driven so much of his economic policy—the respect he has for successes like Phoenix Textile, and the hope he has for us as a country to expand these successes and create more of them.

The President’s Vision for Tax Reform

There are three main ways that the President’s vision for reforming our nation’s broken tax code will strengthen communities and enable more successes like you have here.

  1. It will provide tax relief and more take-home pay to individuals and families.
  2. It will help businesses like this one increase wages and create more good-paying jobs.
  3. It will finally make American businesses more competitive on the world stage.

Each of these is relevant to your personal lives, and let me explain why.

Let’s talk about the individual income tax cuts first. One of the tax proposals that fulfills the goals of this administration is being considered by the House of Representatives today.

That particular bill would mean a tax cut of more than $1,700 for the average family here in O’Fallon. That kind of tax relief is really significant: It could be an extra mortgage payment, a well-deserved vacation, or, if any of you have teenagers, maybe a car repair.

That income boost is before we take into account the way tax cuts will spur more economic growth and job creation.

Tax reform and tax cuts will help businesses like Phoenix Textile hire more Americans in need of work, pay them more, and compete more effectively with our overseas competition.

An analysis from the White House’s economists, for instance, found that an aggressive cut in corporate taxes could mean a $4,000 raise for the average American worker.

President Trump knows that the current tax system is holding back American businesses that are competing on a global scale—and it gets tougher every year.

The last time we had a major overhaul of our tax system, in fact, Phoenix Textile was just 3 years old—some of you were here, but most of you weren’t, I suspect.

This kind of revitalization, in other words, is long overdue.

Tax reform goes hand-in-hand with other priorities President Trump has laid out, like reforming burdensome regulations and cutting red tape that strangle the ability of employers to produce more good-paying jobs.

We have been particularly focused on regulatory reform at HHS, because over-regulation in the healthcare sector can be so costly and so intrusive.

Regulations we are looking at could be the difference between a small doctors’ practice being able to afford another nurse to care for patients, or could give your family physician more time to listen to you and your family in a time of need.

A practical approach to regulation and aggressive tax reform will transform the one-sixth of our economy that is healthcare, and it will transform our economy as a whole.

In our work at HHS, we like to focus on three goals in particular: healthier people, stronger communities, and a safer nation.

A stronger economy and strong small businesses like this one help us accomplish all three. In fact, it is nearly impossible for us to succeed at improving health and well-being without prosperity and economic vitality.

We in the Trump administration are going to keep doing our part to make that happen.

We thank you for doing your part, here in O’Fallon, to build a remarkable business and make your country great. Thank you so much.

Content created by Speechwriting and Editorial Division 
Content last reviewed on November 16, 2017