Trump owes the Latino community details of his economic plans
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Economic prosperity is a key issue for all Americans and Latinos are certainly no exception. In fact, nearly every pre-election poll revealed jobs and wages were the most important issues for Latino voters leading into the election.

It’s no wonder why: Latinos have experienced positive economic progress over the past eight years. We have the lowest unemployment rate in nine years and Americans have the highest median household income since 2007.

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All the while, Latino contributions to the U.S. economy have grown and have been instrumental in moving the nation toward economic recovery. In fact, by 2020, Hispanic purchasing power is expected to reach over $1.7 trillion, further cementing our role in driving economic growth.

 

President-elect Trump’s campaign rhetoric on lifting up the middle class and creating jobs certainly resonates with Latinos and gives us some hope that this progress could continue. But we have yet to see any specific proposals on critical economic issues that affect Hispanic households, such as minimum wage, consumer protection, homeownership opportunities, retirement security and workplace safety.

And what we have heard is concerning.

For example, President-elect Trump and Congress want to reform Dodd-Frank, yet they have not told us what that would look like. We must not forget that millions of Americans lost their savings and their homes to foreclosure when the housing bubble burst. Communities of color lost an entire generation of wealth during the Great Recession — Latinos lost 66 percent of their net household wealth.

Our nation has benefited in innumerable ways from a post-recession focus on ordinary consumers, from institutions like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In fact, under Director Richard Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has returned over $11 billion for 27 million consumers in just five short years of its existence. Any attempt to weaken the CFPB is a completely unacceptable approach for a Congress that claims to care about working-class Americans.

And we cannot forget the economic impact that repealing the Affordable Care Act would have on Latinos, and on the entire country. Taking away long-needed health care from more than 4 million Latinos who now have coverage through ObamaCare would hurt millions of working families and could plunge millions of families into poverty.

And finally, we have huge question marks around what will be included in President-elect Trump’s and Congress’ tax reform plan.

Latino families need to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck, and refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit have proven to reward work while reducing poverty.

As many as 8 million Latino workers with 12 million children benefitted from the EITC in tax year 2013. We need tax reform that puts more money into the pockets of hardworking Americans, not a tax system that only helps the wealthiest.

All Americans are anxious to hear the specifics of how the incoming president and the new Congress will help boost American workers, create jobs and opportunity, and expand income and wealth. Perhaps more than any other issue, the Latino community will be watching this debate closely in the coming months.

Eric Rodriguez is the vice president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).


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