Donald Trump has had a lot of success in business, but how will he be for the economy as president? Here’s how his economic policies will play out.
There’s no denying Trump has done a good job of making himself rich — he’s worth somewhere between $4.5 billion and $10 billion, depending who you ask. Can he make the rest of America rich, too?
Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, becoming perhaps the most unanticipated figure to ever enter the Oval Office. The economy will be at the top of Trump’s agenda as president and serve as the most important barometer of his performance.
On the campaign trail, Trump admitted the economy wasn’t something he looked forward to tackling. In a January 2016 interview with “Good Morning America,” he offered up a bleak assessment and added that, in terms of fixing it, it’s a task he’d rather skip.
“We’re in a bubble,” he said. “And, frankly, if there’s going to be a bubble popping, I hope they pop before I become president because I don’t want to inherit all this stuff. I’d rather it be the day before rather than the day after, I will tell you that.”
In a subsequent April interview with the Washington Post, Trump reiterated his doomsday view of the economy, suggesting we might be headed for recession. But that time around, he appeared more open to the idea of his being in charge of finding remedies.
“I can fix it. I can fix it pretty quickly,” he said.
He’ll soon have a chance to put his — or rather, our — money where his mouth is.
Trump was the 2016 election cycle’s most riveting figure. He initially focused his attention on immigration reform, calling for a wall to be built between Mexico and the United States and demanding the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has wavered on that last point, now promising to initially focus on criminal undocumented immigrants, but he has stuck to his guns on the wall.
He later rolled out other policies and positions: a major tax code overhaul; repeal and replace Obamacare; renegotiate or “break” NAFTA; stop hedge funds from “getting away with murder” on taxes; reforming the Veteran’s Administration; and impose import tariffs as high as 35%. All while keeping the deficit in check, growing the economy and leaving entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security untouched.
Those who fear Trump’s plans should find common cause with those who love them: “I’m not sure how much of what he actually says today will be his positions a year from now,” said Michael Busler, professor of finance at Stockton University.
“Take Trump seriously, but not literally,” has become a common refrain. Trump’s own campaign suggested he is playing “a part” to garner votes.
While Trump certainly has some grandiose ideas — and equally lofty rhetoric to accompany them — deciphering the exact nature of his economic policies is a complex task. Not to mention he won’t have a free pass from Congress, even though it remains under Republican control.
Here are some insights into what the U.S. economy and markets look like under President Trump if he is able to push his agenda through Congress.
rump’s immigration plans cost him a handful of business deals, but they might cost the United States much more.
The American Action Forum, a right-leaning policy institute based in Washington D.C., estimates that immediately and fully enforcing current immigration law, as Trump has suggested, would cost the federal government from $400 billion to $600 billion. It would shrink the labor force by 11 million workers, reduce the real GDP by $1.6 trillion and take 20 years to complete (Trump has said he could do it in 18 months).
“It will harm the U.S. economy,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Immigration is an enormous source of economic vitality.”
The effect would be felt on both supply and demand.