Hilton Midtown New York, New York November 12 12:09 P.M. EST
Well, thank you very much, Barbara. So sad that this is live. She said it's live. (Laughter.) It's always live. There's always somebody with a phone. It becomes live. Ask a lot of politicians that are no longer in politics.
I want to thank Marie-Josée Kravis for your incredible leadership of the club. It's an honor to be here. It is wonderful also to be back in New York with so many friends and distinguished leaders in business, in finance, academia, and, I have to add, in real estate. All my real estate friends are here.
I'm especially grateful for, and to, your longtime club members, because it's a club with a tremendous reputation. And somebody doing a absolutely incredible job as Director of the National Economic Council, a friend of mine who I got on - I've been hearing this voice for 35 years; it's driving me crazy: Larry Kudlow. (Applause.) Always calm. Always cool. And he's just Larry, and he's terrific - I'll tell you that.
Three years ago, I came to speak before this storied forum as a candidate for President. And at that time, America was stuck in a failed recovery and saddled with a bleak economic future. And it was bleak. Under the last administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost; almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force, and jobs were not exactly what you would call plentiful; and 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.
In 2016, the Department of Labor predicted that Americans would continue dropping out of the workforce in record numbers. They predicted and projected a decade of sluggish growth, and they expected unemployment over 5 percent - and, really, 6, 7, and even, in some cases, 8 percent - for many years to come. The so-called experts said the Americans had no choice but to accept stagnation, decay, and a shrinking middle class as the new normal. That was said all the time. In short, the American people were told to sit back and accept a slow, inevitable decline.
But I never believed for one moment that our magnificent nation was destined for a diminished future. I knew that our destiny was in our own hands; that we could choose to reject a future of America and, really, look at a future of American decline unacceptable, and to build a future of American dominance, which is what I wanted. It couldn't be any other way, or I would have never done this. I refused to accept that Americans had to lower their expectations or give up on their dreams. America is the single greatest country in the world, and I knew that working together we could make it even greater.
In 2016, I stood before you supremely confident in what our people could achieve if government stopped punishing American workers and started promoting American workers and American companies. Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals, and an economic policy that put America's interest last, and a very deep last at that.
I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy, and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed. And that's what's happening.
Today, I'm proud to stand before you as President of the United States to report that we have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin. We have ended - (applause) - thank you. I was waiting for that. Thank you. I was waiting for that. (Laughter.) I almost didn't get it.
We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on American industry, and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.
I did this despite a near-record number of rate increases and quantitative tightening by the Federal Reserve since I won the election - eight increases in total - which were, in my opinion, far too fast an increase and far too slow a decrease. Because remember, we are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan - known as negative interest. Who ever heard of such a thing? Give me some of that. (Laughter.) Give me some of that money. I want some of that money. Our Federal Reserve doesn't let us do it.
I don't say - (applause) - thank you. Thank you. The smart people are clapping. Only the smart people are clapping.
I don't say that's good for the world - I'm not President of the world; I'm President of our country - but we are competing against these other countries nonetheless, and the Federal Reserve doesn't let us play at that game. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.
Yet, in the face of this reality, our economic policies have ushered in an unprecedented tide of prosperity surging all throughout the nation. We're paying interest. By other comparisons, we're paying, actually, high interest. We should be paying, by far, the lowest interest, and yet we're doing better than any nation, by far, on Earth. The extraordinary numbers tell the story.
Back in 2016, before I took office, the Congressional Budget Office projected that fewer than 2 million jobs would be created by this time in 2019. Instead, my administration has created nearly 7 million jobs, and going up rapidly. We beat predictions - (applause) - thank you. We beat predictions more than three times the highest estimate that I saw during the campaign. Nobody thought it was even possible to get close to a 7 million number. Two million was maxed out, if you were lucky and if you did a great job.
Unemployment has recently achieved the lowest rate in 51 years. African American unemployment, Hispanic American unemployment, and Asian American unemployment, have all reached the lowest rates in history. Women's unemployment, the best numbers in 71 years. We expect that that number of 71 years - which isn't good compared to the other numbers, is it? But women also will soon be "historic," we think.
Blue-collar jobs are leading the way in our middle class boom. We've added 25,000 mining jobs, 128,000 energy jobs, and 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs. And manufacturing was supposed to be dead in our country. You would need, according to a past administration representative at the highest level of that past administration - you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs. Well, we brought them back, and we brought them back to over 600,000 manufacturing jobs as of today. (Applause.) And those are very important jobs.
Nearly 7 million people have been lifted off, very importantly, food stamps. Seven million people off of food stamps. (Applause.) And we're getting Americans off of welfare and back into the workforce. (Applause.) Nearly 2.5 million Americans have risen out of poverty. That's a record. The rate of African American and Hispanic American families in poverty has plummeted to the lowest level ever recorded, by far. (Applause.) And most of you people wouldn't know these numbers because most of you aren't very active in the market. (Laughter.)
But since my election, the S&P 500 is up over 45 percent, the Dow Jones is up over 50 percent, and the NASDAQ is up 60 percent, slightly more. (Applause.) And if we had a Federal Reserve that worked with us, you could have added another 25 percent to each one of those numbers - I guarantee you that. (Laughter and applause.) That doesn't happen. But we all make mistakes, don't we? Not too often. We do make them on occasion.
American markets have vastly outpaced the rest of the world. This exceptional growth is boosting 401(k)s, pensions, and college savings accounts for millions and millions of hardworking families. You hear so much about inequality and all of the differences and all of the problems. The single biggest benefactors of what we've done are middle-class workers and low-income families. It's been amazing, actually.
Altogether, we've added nearly $10 trillion of new value to our economy. That's in a short period of time. Remember, I only use numbers from the time of the election because I can't go to January 20th. It's not fair. We picked up tremendous stock market and economic numbers. They actually went wild the day after I won. I think that should be attributed to us, not attributed to somebody else, because it would've gone in the opposite direction. (Applause.) It would've gone in the opposite direction had the other result taken place, which, fortunately, it didn't.
Last year, GDP growth matched the fastest rate in more than a decade, and it was the best of the G7 countries by far. By far. (Applause.)
Perhaps most importantly - after years of stagnation and decline - American wages, salaries, and incomes are rising very fast. Median household income is now at the highest level in the history of our country. (Applause.)
The average median income under President Bush rose only $400 over an eight-year period. Under President Obama, it rose $975 over an eight-year period. And under my administration, it rose $5,000 over slightly more than just two and a half years. That's a big difference. (Applause.)
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