I participated in a student panel at the University of Michigan Dearborn to talk about the election. I had to answer, “What can we expect from a Trump Presidency”. The following is my answer I gave at the event. (Sorry for any grammatical errors, this was just my reference for my speech).
If you are curious to read what I said at the Post Election Panel this is basically almost a word from word on my response to what we can expect from a Trump presidency. It doesn’t cover every topic by any means and leaves out many of the unknowns (ex: what effect will Steve Bannon have on the Trump Administration). Comments welcome! Also please excuse grammar errors, I just used this as a reference to my talk, not meant for publishing.
This is possibly the hardest question and easiest question. On one hand I could just be a like many pundits and try to be a fortune teller and give you what you want to hear, that would be easy. On the other hand, it is difficult to seriously look at what will happen. Not only are we dealing with a very volatile individual, who is fairly unpredictable, we have to look at how Trump, his cabinet, and Congress work with each other.
A perfect example of this complexity is seen when we look at part Trump’s proposals to help “drain the swamp”. He wants to propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. The only way to get such a thing done is through a proposal of Congress or a constitutional convention, the latter of which has never happened and honestly the phrase Term Limits isn’t part of Mitch McConnell’s vocab, there is no way this is on his agenda.
So, let’s talk about some of the bigger things.
What can we expect Trump to do with the Environment and Climate Change?
Earlier in the campaign Trump has called Climate Change a hoax and has called renewable energy: “really just an expensive way of making tree huggers feel good about themselves”. He has more recently called for the US to “cancel” the Paris agreement which was a global climate change agreement. However, Trump can’t pull out of the Paris agree right away. Article 28 of the agreement only lets parties withdraw after 3 years. This actually doesn’t matter though because the agreement has no binding targets so he could simply decide to not do anything. He could also withdraw the US from the 1992 United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change, which is a treaty that says we are committed to addressing climate change. China and Europe have voiced their concerns of the US backing out of the agreement and it is unclear how the international community would respond. I read on NPR that some people in Europe would consider putting a 1-3% Carbon tax on imported US goods which might incite Donald to start a trade war (unclear).
It is fairly unclear whether Trump will keep the two tax credits that the solar and wind depend on to keep their prices more competitive with fossil fuels. He’s said he wants to include wind and solar as part of an “all the above strategy” style energy strategy. However, he’s also said that he was going to bring back coal jobs which is probably not going to happen. Market forces which Trump can’t control have been favoring natural gas which have been a main driver in kicking coal use of the market.
Lastly, Trump has Myron Ebell leading his EPA transition team. He doesn’t believe in Climate Change and thinks that most scientists don’t believe in at as well. Obama’s clean power plan which is being held in court will likely be dropped under this new leadership.
In his first day of office he wants to lift road blocks against the Keystone Pipeline
What can Trump do on Healthcare?
For a long time Trump stated that he would simply repeal Obama care and that opinion has certainly transformed in the last couple of weeks. He’s stated that he wants to keep parts of Obama care that people seem to enjoy like getting coverage with a pre-existing condition and allowing people to stay on their parent’s coverage until the age of 26. If Republicans do decide to repeal the law they would need 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster. This brings up another discussion on if the Republicans are going to get rid of the filibuster which I would consider 60-40 of happening. If he is unable to repeal Obama care he could repeal all of the executive actions Obama has used to try to fix the bill due since he wasn’t able to get Congress to push through any changes that might make it better. He might also drop the appeal in the House v Burwell suit where a judge said that it was unconstitutional for subsidies for to reimburse health insurers. By dropping this appeal it would basically essentially destroy exchange due to so many people dropping coverage due to the cost leaving only the sick with coverage which would increase cost again leading more people to drop in a self-destructive cycle. It is likely that Republicans will let the Obama Care last throughout the next two years giving them time to stamp out a replacement what that will look like is unclear to me at this point.
What will Trump do on Refugees and Immigrants?
Trump has stated that he will suspend immigration from terror prone religions. Most of the refugees the US takes in come from Burma, Dem. Rep, of Congo, and Somalia. It’s unclear what countries Trump and his administration will consider terror prone but Syria and Somalia will certainly be on that list. I’m fairly certain that we can expect that the US under a Trump presidency won’t take any refugees from there. However, we must realize that we have only taken in over 10,000 from Syria and there are currently 5 million total. Even though we were set to take 550% more from Syria roughly 50-60,000 the amount this country has been doing in regards to the refugees in Syria has been dismal. It’s unclear whether he will do anything regarding refugees from countries outside the Middle East but he has talked much on making the vetting process harder.
Trump has stated he will remove all the refugees who have settled from Syria in the US thus far due to them being a terrorist threat. This is very unlikely to happen because he isn’t allow to prosecute the refugees as a group he’d have to prove each one individually is a terrorist threat. You can see how this would be basically impossible to do.
In his 60 minutes interview Trump said he wanted to remove the 2 million, possibly 3 million criminal aliens that are currently in the US. This is a very complicated subject because there are an estimated 1.9 million removable criminal aliens in the US but that includes undocumented immigrants and non-citizens who are legally here. If we are looking at just the non-documented peoples, then the number shrinks to approximately 820,000. There are roughly 140,000 non-citizen immigrants in jail at a local state and federal level. Just a side note that Obama actually had a nearly identical policy in his first term as president even deporting people with minor offences topping at 400,000 deported in 2012. They have since declined to about 250,000 in 2015. Seeing that the mechanisms for deporting such a large number of people are in place in is not unreasonable to think Trump could deport roughly 500,000 people per year. When Clinton suggested that Trump would have deportations squads round up illegal immigrants she must have forgotten that Obama actually already has people that do that, there called ICE and they actually got expanded authority under the Obama administration.
It would be very easy for Trump to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival programs put in to place by Obama that offers children who entered this country illegally a legal status. Trump has also said he would end DACA, even though it’s unclear how. If he lets it expire 750,000 would lose legal status. I believe these things are more likely to happen then not.
What will Trump do on foreign Policy?
Literally the hardest question out of the bunch.
The TPP is more than likely dead. For it to be renegotiated would take a number of years but it is unclear what would happen if this deal just falls flat. However, the idea that Trump will put a 35-45% tariff on Chinese and Mexicans goods seems fairly unlikely. It would increase the price of goods so significantly that the majority of the nation would disapprove. It’s possible a 5% tariff is more likely but that could result in a trade war.
I’d say it’s slightly unlikely that Trump moves quickly to renegotiate NAFTA however it really is a 50-50 chance. He’s expressed his disdain for the trade deal and has stated it would be part of his first day in office. This will likely put markets in a scramble due to the uncertainty this will create but that’s just a short term effect.
Trump’s policy for affairs in the Middle East is essentially unknown. He has stated that he wants to work on working with Russia to defeat ISIS but wants to stop backing rebels in the Syrian civil war. He talked about creating a safe zone within Syria for refugees but it is very unclear if this is possible or how he would get it done making it very unlikely.
Trump has said that he would like to renegotiate the Iran Deal. If he goes forward with this the deal will likely fall apart because the Iranians will see it as the US breaching their side of the agreement. It’s difficult to say whether Trump will move forward with this.
Trump is likely to have a strong relationship with Israel continuing.
What will Trump do with NATO? It’s unclear if he’s calls for payments for countries will cause any rifts in the alliance, but if I had to guess once he becomes president he will change his mind.
What will happen to the economy?
Like Brexit the actually economic implications of what Trump does will mostly not be seen in the economy for some time (This is because it is hard to discern whether actions not caused things to happen or if it was going to happen regardless of said event/Give example). The economist in me wants to say the country will go into recession in the next two years just due to business cycles regardless of who were to be elected. There are some exceptions to this, but we can only wait and see.