A compact outline of what to expect from the early days of President-Elect Trump is revealed in his Contract with the American Voter. A more compact version of the Contract is available in the last 2 pages below. The Contract states President-Elect Trump’s intentions for the early days of his presidency. The 100-day time frame describes the starting time for the initiatives, but given the magnitude of the undertakings, not the completion dates. This review follows the sequence of initiatives in the Contract.
The Contract starts with some administrative actions fueled by voters’ beliefs that Washington is corrupt. Term limits for elected officials, a federal employee hiring freeze, and new restrictions on lobbyists are emotional and symbolic measures that may cause agita for federal unions and the free speech obsessed, but they will not materially affect GDP or productivity or employment. The initiative that comes closest to economic impact is the requirement that two regulations be removed for each new one enacted. Regulator bureaucrats could cheat by removing low-consequence regulations, such as a regulation requiring tooth-brushing in day-care programs, while enacting a regulation that bans employing day-care attendants with less than a relevant masters’ degree. Cheating would bring unwelcomed attention on the regulators.
We evidently get a mild benefit from NAFTA, but the benefits are not spread throughout all sectors and many workers do not feel the benefits. Renegotiating NAFTA is a good idea if we actually get better terms. Junking NAFTA would be a poor idea. Fortunately, Canada and Mexico seem ready to talk. We have little experience with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it may be a worthwhile partnership for us to join considering China’s intentions to dominate the economies of the western Pacific, most of whom will be TPP members. Union-inspired isolationism is not automatically a productive stance for us. Let’s decide based on aggregate analysis, not based on sectoral bias.
Identifying foreign traders’ abuse of American workers should not need a Contract element to goad our State and Treasury Departments into tough actions. It is counterintuitive to have federal agencies stifling the lawful development of energy reserves and energy infrastructure – those actions may please a few but they harm the many. There is no need to send funding to the UN for its climate change agenda. We can use that funding to improve Americans’ water and environmental infrastructure. After we run out of urgent infrastructure projects we can consider donations to others who need help.
To the extent that unconstitutional executive action, memoranda or orders are ruling the operations of the Administration, they should be removed quickly, consistent with maintaining order. Sanctuary cities are tantamount to political mutiny and must not be encouraged with funds from law-abiding jurisdictions.
Lawful, orderly immigration that benefits the US should be encouraged. Unlawful immigration should not confer immunity from compliance with our laws. While it may not be stylish or appear compassionate, the obligation to abide by the rules should apply to everyone, including those who dutifully await their turn and those who sneak into the country. It is especially not in America’s interest to welcome unlawful immigrants who also commit crimes against Americans.
Trump’s Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act seeks to grow the economy at 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs. It is a major initiative that will require thoughtful discussion. Some provisions reduce taxes on several trillion dollars in corporate profits that have been parked overseas to avoid abusive US tax rates. Aside from tax reform benefits, the pruning of trillions of dollars (a National Association of Manufacturers’ 2014 estimate) in annual regulatory costs will accelerate growth and create jobs. Trump also foresees public private partnerships renovating US infrastructure, and in the process creating meaningful jobs and competitive advantages for many years.
Trump’s educational proposals lean toward retracting federal standards such as Common Core and giving parents more authority in their choice of where to send their children. These proposals may be slowed because they will add to longstanding friction with the teachers’ unions.
President-Elect Trump proposes to repeal Obamacare and replace it with three elements; Health Savings Accounts, the availability of health insurance across state lines, and allowing states to manage Medicaid funds. The trio of replacements seems too ultra-simple and consumers need to hear the details he intends.
President-Elect Trump’s plan would provide more funding to law enforcement at the federal and local level, so they can focus on apprehending and jailing violent offenders and gang members. For national defense, Trump plans to end the defense sequester and provide veterans a right to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice. He will bolster protection for our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack, a goal that is perhaps more aspirational than feasible. He plans to institute immigration screening that ensures those admitted to our country support our people and our values. This last point may aggravate the civil rights activists.
The 100-day plan is thoughtful and much of it may be feasible to implement when facing a constructive majority on House and Senate. Further analysis will be appropriate as circumstances unfold and we come closer to implementation.
A Précis of President-Elect Trump’s Contract With the American Voter
Clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:
- Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
- Freeze hiring of federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).
- Require that each new federal regulation is accompanied by elimination of two existing regulations.
- Ban White House and Congressional oﬃcials from becoming lobbyists after they leave government service for 5 years.
- Adopt a lifetime ban on White House oﬃcials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
- Ban foreign lobbyists from raising money for American elections.
Protect American workers:
- Renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal.
- Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Label China a currency manipulator.
- Identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.
- Lift the restrictions on ($50 trillion worth) job-producing American energy reserves and blockages on energy infrastructure projects, (e.g. Keystone Pipeline).
- Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.
Restore security and the constitutional rule of law:
- Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
- Select a replacement for Justice Scalia.
- Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.
- Remove the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.
- Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.
Work with Congress to introduce broader legislative measures:
- Tax Relief, Trade, Infrastructure and Economic Stimulus
Introduce a plan to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through tax reduction and simplification, and through trade reform, regulatory relief and lifting the restrictions on American energy. For a middle-class family with two children the plan will cut taxes 35%. The business rate will be lowered from 35% to 15%, and trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can be brought back at a 10% rate.
Establish tariffs that discourage companies from laying off their American workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.
Leverage public-private partnerships, private investments and revenue neutral tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over ten years.
- Education, Health Care and immigration:
Redirect education dollars to give parents the right to send their child to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. End Common Core and rely on education supervision by local communities. Expand vocational and technical education, and make two- and four-year college more affordable.
Repeal Obamacare and replace it with Health Savings Accounts, the availability of health insurance across state lines, and the states’ management of Medicaid funds. Cut red tape at the FDA to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
Allow Americans to deduct childcare and eldercare from their taxes, incent employers to provide on-site childcare services and create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
Fund the construction of a wall on our southern border. Require a two-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a five-year minimum sentence for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions, or two or more prior deportations. Enhance penalties for overstaying a visa and ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
- National Defense and Crime Control:
Reduce surging crime, drugs and violence by increasing funding for programs to train and assist local police. Increase resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
Eliminate the defense sequester and expand military investment. Provide veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or to attend the private doctor of their choice. Protect our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack. Establish new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values.