Four of Donald Trump's New Year resolutions on the economy

 
Jasper Jolly
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Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Dallas
Donald Trump will assume the US Presidency on 20 January (Source: Getty)

Predicting the future is hard. Predicting what US President-elect Donald Trump will do is potentially harder.

Trump's campaigning style might politely be characterised as "shoot from the hip", which makes it tricky to know what exactly he has planned for the world's largest economy.

Luckily, the man who will be leader of the free world in less than a month has a handy cheat sheet (a "contract") outlining just that. Here's what Trump has promised to do in the new year.

Spend lots of money

President-elect Donald Trump’s signature pledge on the economy is to grow it by four per cent. One of the most remarkable things about the tail end of Barack Obama’s Presidency is that this may actually be possible. Annualised GDP growth from July to September was revised upwards to 3.5 per cent, a huge increase on the first six months of 2016

Yet Trump still has a massive $1 trillion infrastructure stimulus pledged – although much of this is set to be achieved through tax cuts and public-private partnerships (possibly modeled on the UK’s much maligned private finance initiatives).

Many economists on both sides of the divide (and anyone who has ever flown from a US airport) think this is long overdue. Whether this is the right time is another matter.

As the Dow Jones Industrial Average flirts with 20,000, you can bet Trump will continue to point to stock market highs as evidence his economic plan is working.

Slash (dig) and burn

The Republican party’s bete noire in one word might be “regulation”. Trump differs from his comrades in many, many ways, but on slashing regulation he is as avid as your standard down the centre free marketer.

In that vein Trump has promised every new federal regulation will be matched by two eliminated.

That won't be as difficult as it sounds, because the rulebook on environmental protection is going to be tossed out in favour of a free-for-all in the carbon fuel industry.

Trump's contract with voters says he will remove "restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves", as well as the infamous Keystone pipeline to Canada.

And spending on nefarious "UN climate change" programmes will be diverted back to the US.

Build a great wall

Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than any other President, but Trump wants more. The End Illegal Immigration Act will build a big (beautiful is as yet unspecified) wall between the US and Mexico.

This monument to Trump's much-loved election campaign will also be erected with "the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall". It is unclear whose understanding this might be.

Who's going to pay for it? All together now: Mexico!

This won’t be the only thing stopping immigration: Trump has also pledged to cut off funding for “sanctuary cities” that don’t actively report illegal immigrants, stop immigration from “terror-prone” regions and deport 2m people.

Build a great (metaphorical) wall (against China)

And then there’s trade. This is where the marriage of convenience between Trump and the Republicans may fall through. Trump’s – rather unfortunate – “America First” slogan signals an unmistakeable move away from globalisation, “globalism”.

First of all Trump will “direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator”, opening a diplomatic can of worms (although it may be too late for that).

Next, Trump’s secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross will be tasked with righting “foreign trading abuses”, which will almost certainly result in tariffs and more protectionist policies designed to resurrect the American manufacturing industry.

All of this will likely delight his voting base. It remains to be seen if it will result in sustainable economic growth. Happy new year, Donald.

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