If there was any message from Trump’s slim electoral college victory–he lost the popular vote–it’s that voters want change.
But what kind of change?
Trump has saddled himself with such promises as to “bring back manufacturing jobs” and put “coal miners back to work.”
On top that, he’s called for a huge tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, increased military spending–without cutting Social Security or Medicare– and a war on immigrants.
But the numbers of a Trump presidency based on those promises just don’t add up.
Investors are already voting with their dollars. They’re signaling a sharp downturn in the economy, evidenced by a steep decline in the stock market. It’s expected to fall at least 5 percent today (Nov. 9).
Over the long term, an analysis by Moody’s Analytics predicts growth will decline to 0.6 percent per year, from the current 2% per year enjoyed during the Obama administration. No economic sector will go unpunished including workers.
The conservative Oxford Economics predicts Trump’s economic plans would cost the nation 4 million jobs and slash $1 trillion in economic output.
If he attempts to create domestic manufacturing jobs through high tariffs and import bans, the recession will be global, according to a Citibank analysis.
To accomplish his goal, Trump will have to defy global manufacturing trends determined largely be the cost of labor. The average U.S. manufacturing wage is 10 times higher than Mexico’s. The gap with Southeast Asian nations and China is even larger.
Trump should know. He and daughter Ivanka have clothing lines manufactured exclusively overseas. Trump has also built his signature projects using cut-rate Chinese steel.
Trump is also hemmed in by global economics on his promise to allow unlimited production of fossil fuels, including coal.
Prices are determined by world supply and demand. Right now those options are not feasible at today’s prices. If prices rise, consumers can expect to pay more at the pump.
He plans to eliminate the federal minimum wage, leaving the issue up to states, which will touch off a race to the bottom as states cut or eliminate minimum wages to compete for businesses.
Deporting all of the estimated 11.8 million illegal immigrants, as Trump has promised to do in two years, would cost the government as much as $600 billion and shrink the national economy by $1 trillion.
The private sector is expected to lose as much as $663 billion with the loss of an estimated 6.8 million illegal immigrants who are filling jobs no one else wants.
His promised government cutbacks will mean the loss of 500,000 to 1 million public sector jobs, further depressing the economy.
Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “better” and “cheaper.” But the Republicans have nothing in their playbook.
They had eight years to come up with an alternative under the Obama administration and failed to do so. Trump, equally, has no specific plan.
Economists have already weighed in on his tax cutting plan, which is based on discredited “trickle down” economics. It’s expected to add $11.4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, without any major change in spending.
But Trump has promised to spend tens of billions of dollars ramping up defense spending alone. As it now stands, the United States already has a military bigger than the next eight countries combined and a defense budget exceeding $700 billion annually.
His administration may be the first with a $1 trillion defense budget. If it includes increased support for vterans, he’ll have to get it from a Republican congress that has cut, or refused to increase, veteran’s benefits repeatedly.
If Trump has any impact in his first term, it will be on social policy. Expect efforts to roll-back gay marriage, abortion rights, affirmative action and welfare. He’s also vowed to undercut the First Amendment and make it easier for celebrities and the rich to sue the media.
There’s also a question about the tenor of a Trump administration. During his business career, he’s left a trail of broken promises and bankruptcies. His tactics reveal some startling insights into his mindset, how he treats others and exactly what kind of president he may become.
Trump’s refusal to admit he’s wrong is, by now, legendary. He also has a vindictive streak, a penchant for secrecy and a history of lying that suggests he’ll set new standards for government propaganda and scapegoating.
In short, something has to give, and if the past is any prologue, Trump will have no qualms about walking away from his promises.
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