On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump released a brief video outlining his policy plans for his first 100 days in office. Here’s what we learned:
Trump is still Trump
The President-elect opens on message by stating his core principle is to put America first. No surprises here as we’ve heard it for 18 months now. He made another silent statement, however, by releasing the video directly to social media instead of going through the traditional media channels. In the past, this type of announcement would have been made on a Sunday morning news show, but Trump is doing everything he can to get back at the mainstream media after they bashed him so ruthlessly during the campaign.
He’s serious about trade
In keeping with his strong position on trade deals, Trump announced he will issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The widely ridiculed trade deal between 12 Pacific rim countries was signed in February 2016 and is currently awaiting ratification. This action by Trump should effectively set 8 years of negotiation back to square one; it will get the US out of a huge multilateral agreement, which includes numerous side clauses negotiated back-room style by President Obama, designed to cede American authority to global powers.
Trump has long maintained that he is not in favor of these large trade deals that sign away American jobs. He doubles down on that in the video by stating he plans to renegotiate bilateral trade deals that give America more direct benefits than those inherent to trade.
As people in favor of free markets, Trump’s promise of bilateral trade deals should be troubling to conservatives. Just as a capitalistic, free market tends to promote the best products at the lowest prices within our home country, a capitalistic, free market should perform the same on a global level. By negotiating bilateral deals as opposed to multi-lateral deals, Trump is essentially saying he wants to negotiate tariffs against foreign products coming into the US from specific countries. The effect will be higher consumer prices for those products, but it will give the impression of defending jobs in the rust belt. Whether it will create any new jobs remains to be seen.
GRADE: C. Good job getting out of TPP, bad on bilateral trade
He’s listening to conservatives
Trump is announcing a rule that states, “for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be repealed.” Coming out of an administration that set new regulations at a historic rate (Obama holds 7 of the top 8 years in terms of regulations passed, including passing over 81,000 pages so far in 2016), this could not be better news for Americans everywhere. This is easily the best point from his 100-day plan. Fewer regulations are always a good thing. Removing regulations takes power away from the government and puts it back in the hands of the citizens where it belongs.
He’s following through for the rust belt
Trump wants to immediately take away restrictions and regulations regarding the energy sector. In theory, this should help open up the American energy sector and create more jobs in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania who effectively won him the election. Hopefully it will also get the Dakota Access Pipeline project back on track (sorry Shailene Woodley) and increase the amount of fracking and coal energy produced in the country, creating many new jobs along the way.
The problem is that there is a huge amount of oil currently getting pumped in the OPEC nations. The price of oil has dropped dramatically over the past couple years (down from $110 in 2014 to $48 today) because of the large supply, so we don’t need alternative energy resources at the moment. It will come in handy down the road though, and it helps him keep those coal and energy workers on his side.
He learned from Hillary’s mistake
Trump will charge the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to formulate a plan to protect against cyber-attacks. The DNC hack and the (alleged) Clinton email hack has everyone in Washington on high alert to cyber-attacks from foreign governments, so it’s good to see Trump taking a step immediately.
He throws in the clause, “and all other attacks” right at the end. Is this, perhaps, a nod to putting a plan in motion to take down ISIS? I have a feeling Trump will be less than transparent about this one.
GRADE: B+. We think NOT using a private email server would be a good first step towards cyber security, but that’s just us….
Alright… here we go… here’s the infamous Trump wall…. the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
Wait, what? No wall? Nothing about the wall? What happened to the wall?
No folks, the only immigration talk is to have the Department of Labor investigate abuses of visas that, “undercut the American worker”. Those of you who chanted BUILD THAT WALL at rallies across the country will have to wait just a bit longer than the first 100 days to see those dreams realized.
In reality, the Department of Labor should be investigating and deporting people who abuse their work visas. That requires the government to actually enforce the laws they set forth, unlike what has happened in previous administrations.
GRADE: B-. Good enough for the first 100 day plan, but we hope to see more in the future.
Drain the Swamp!
Trump’s final point is instituting a ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists for any industry for 5 years after they serve, and a lifetime ban on lobbying on behalf of any foreign government. This just seems like common sense. I’m not sure why this wasn’t a rule before, but it’s good that it will be now.
GRADE: A-. Some rules and regulations are good, and this is one of them
Final Grade: B
This is a decent first 100-day plan. He’s keeping relatively in-line with what he released at the end of October and that’s a good thing. It was rather surprising not to hear anything about ObamaCare in the video, but he has spoken extensively about it in the past, so we’re hoping it had to be cut for time. Some good (reducing regulation) and some bad (bilateral trade deals = tariffs = higher consumer goods prices), but the important thing to realize is that President-elect Trump must get approval from a Republican Congress to accomplish anything. That should give conservatives more hope than anything.
For Donald Trump’s full 100 day plan as he presented it at Gettysburg in late October, please see http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days