Two Cabinet secretaries promoted President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda and innovation Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, saying lower-wage workers are earning more.
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia cited Trump’s reference to a “blue collar boom” during his State of the Union address early this month.
“Wages are rising and they are rising more quickly for lower-wage workers,” Scalia said. “Compare the top 10% to the lower 10%; we have seen 15% wage growth since this president” for lower-wage workers.
Joining Scalia on the CPAC stage was Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who while serving as President George W. Bush’s labor secretary tapped Scalia for the position of solicitor.
Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, pointed to the unemployment rate of 3.6%, a 50-year-low.
He said the unemployment for adult women, at 3.7%, is the lowest in 70 years.
This wasn’t expected, however. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast in 2016 that the unemployment rate would be 4.9% by early 2020.
“We created 6.6 million new jobs,” Scalia said. “What’s different from the summer of 2016 and now? What’s changed? We got a new president, new policies, new priorities, tax cuts, deregulation, and trade deals.”
Deregulation has been “absolutely central” to job growth, Scalia said.
“The deregulatory program of this president is the most ambitious, most effective change in regulatory policy since we started doing cost-benefit analysis in the Reagan administration,” Scalia said.
Chao, also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the challenge for government departments and regulators is to address “emerging new technology with legitimate concerns about safety, security, and privacy without hampering innovation.”
“Innovation is a trademark of who we are as Americans,” Chao said, adding:
We are not top-down. We are not command and control. We believe in the wisdom of the American people. We are going to let them decide what cars they want, what innovation they want, not to throw water on innovation. The whole issue about electric vehicles, we are not going to demand that consumers have to [buy] them.
CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs Thursday through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.