Editor’s Note: The Lake Geneva Regional News presents “Party Lines,” a monthly discussion of political issues featuring side-by-side guest columnists from the local Democratic and Republican parties. The column below represents one side of this month’s discussion. Click here for the other side.

Even though the presidential election is next year, we find the candidates, public, and media gearing up, forecasting various political scenarios, predictions, and outcomes.

Historically the best predictor of an election has been the actual and even perceived condition of the economy. President Clinton epitomized this with his campaign’s theme of, “It’s the economy stupid.” Ross Perot’s third-party campaign of corralling the deficit and its economic danger undercut President Bush’s vote count and helped Clinton win. Pocketbook issues are important to all of us.

The condition of our economy will be a main issue in the next election. President Trump’s opponent will look for every little negative nuance to deride the economy and paint the bleakest picture possible. A 3.6 percent unemployment rate is the main number that shows the economy is booming. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states full employment is reached between a 4 percent to 6.4 percent unemployment rate. This standard has been shattered by the Trump and Republican economy.

Under the previous Democratic administration, students graduating and entering the work force found there were no jobs or were underemployed. Students graduating now find waiting a choice of jobs and eager-to-hire employers.

Just traveling around the country, we have all seen the myriad of “help wanted” signs. You do not need dry statistics to know that there are more jobs available than people to fill them. I have heard some employers say in jest that they “are going to vote Democrat to increase the unemployment rate so we can find people to hire”. They are not, though, since the long-term consequences would cause economic decline in the private sector.

In spite of the proclivity of Democrats to expand welfare and taxpayer-paid social programs, our strong economy is causing welfare dependency to fall. For one, food stamp (SNAP benefits) use has fallen. In 2013, under President Obama, SNAP use peaked at 47.6 million peoples. In 2016, the last year of the Obama presidency, SNAP was at 44 million. As of April 2019, we are at 35.9 million and falling. Under President Trump SNAP dependency has fallen about 20 percent in two years. This is a welfare statistic that demonstrates people are making more money and leaving welfare programs.

The Democratic Party’s modus operandi is to paint a scenario of need for a new government program, and then make people permanently dependent on government and you the taxpayer. A strong economy and rising economic opportunities are never factored in by Democrats for improving people’s lives and making them independent.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth under the Trump economy has hit 4.1 percent. On April 28, 2016, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that GDP growth would never hit 3 percent again. President Obama continually parroted this announcement to explain his tepid, average growth of 1.5 percent GDP.

GDP measures how fast our economy is growing, which benefits everyone and not just top-tier people. The slow President Obama GDP growth has been theorized to have caused a widening of the income gap. Obama is the only president in history never to preside over GDP ever hitting a 3 percent growth rate.

A strong economy is just starting to help people with their healthcare costs. More employers are offering health insurance to attract people. Do you remember Obamacare and the promise of solving the problem of expensive health care? It was going to save you $2,500 per year and let you “keep your doctor.” Tell me how that worked out.

Two Republican proposals are for price transparency, and market-based reforms and efficiencies. We are just starting to see less expensive drug purchasing over the internet, and pharmacies offering less expensive medical care at their stores. This is due to market forces at work, which will further improve our economy.

Economic statistics will change up and down before the election. Any slight movement down, real or perceived, you can count on the loyal Democratic opposition to pounce and try generating a crisis. Many socialist-oriented nations in the world have been experiencing an economic slowdown for some time, while the United States is on its upward tract.

Overall the economy and your economic well being will be an issue. For their long-term economic well being, Americans should stick with the Republican economic polices and not the failed policies of the previous administration.

John Surinak of the town of Delavan is a member of the Republican Party of Walworth County.