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  • Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Trump's Job-Creation Success

    Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Trump’s Job-Creation Success

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    Labor Secretary Alex Acosta spoke to The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey about the Trump administration’s approach to job creation, reducing government regulations, and what it’s like to work for President Donald Trump. Acosta spoke Thursday at Generation Next, a White House forum for millennials. An edited transcript of his Daily Signal interview is below.

    Rob Bluey: You’re speaking to millennials today about the entrepreneurial economy. What is your advice for young people, or all Americans, as they enter the workforce?

    Alex Acosta: We have seen so many changes over the past 10 years. And one of the most exciting is really an increase in options for all Americans because of this entrepreneurial economy.

    As individuals are looking to take full advantage of all the options out there because of technology, focus on skills, focus on getting those skills that are being demanded by the modern workplace.

    Bluey: Job numbers have come in much higher than predicted, particularly this last month. What do you attribute some of the success that we’ve seen?

    Acosta: The job numbers are incredible. We’re at a 17-year low on unemployment, and just yesterday, the Federal Reserve predicted that this year the unemployment rate is going to fall below 4 percent, and that is unheard of.

    We’re seeing tax cuts that are creating great opportunities. Americans are getting tax bonuses by the hundreds of thousands, companies are re-investing in America, and as they re-invest, they hire more people.

    For every new piece of equipment, for every new forklift, you need a forklift driver. And so people are getting jobs. And we’re also seeing deregulation that’s really unleashing the economic might of America, and that’s what we need, that’s wonderful.

    Bluey: What comes next? How do you sustain that momentum?

    Acosta: Let’s make sure that those tax cuts continue, that we continue to support the American economy and the American worker. The American workers elected President Trump because President Trump said, “I will look after you,” and that’s what he’s doing and he needs to continue to do.

    Bluey: We focus a lot at The Daily Signal on telling stories, putting a human face on some of the policy issues. And occupational licensing is one of those issues, where a hair braider in Tennessee can’t get a job because of regulations. How are you tackling this as labor secretary?

    Acosta: It’s such a awful issue. There was a time in America when only about 1 in 20 Americans needed a license to work. Now, nearly 1 in 3 Americans need a license, just to work, to make a living. It is wrong.

    Across the nation, more than 1,000 occupations now require licenses. And so we’re working with the states, because this is a state issue and we need to recognize it’s a state issue. We’re working with the states so that the states can have reciprocity with each other, they can recognize each other’s licenses. If licenses aren’t necessary, eliminate them. If they are needed for health and safety, then recognize other states’ licenses.

    I’ll tell you where this is most unfair. Our military families. Military men and women serve the nation. And they move every two to three years from base to base. And their spouse has a really tough issue.

    Do we protect the integrity of the family and move as a family? Or do we keep a job? Because when a spouse moves with his or her other spouse that’s serving in the military, the new state doesn’t recognize the license of the non-military spouse. And that’s just wrong.

    Bluey: Jobs and the economy are a big focus of President Trump’s. What’s it like as the labor secretary to work with him on this issue?

    Acosta: There’s great clarity. It’s jobs, more jobs, and even more jobs.

    President Trump is so laser-focused on looking after the American worker and creating jobs and in putting the American worker first, and you see that, whether it’s in his trade policy or his tax policy or his labor policy. And so you know exactly what he wants.

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