As the readers of this blog well know, I am very concerned about the fiscal and economic direction our country has been taking in recent years. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election because of Donald Trump’s crude and sleazy behavior. However we need basic change in the U.S. and Mr. Trump is clearly a change agent.
As the new Trump administration begins to take shape, here is what I see happening:
- Treasury Secretary designee, Steven Mnuchin, says that tax cuts for both upper-income and middle class taxpayers will be offset by “less deductions that pay for it.” Revenue neutral tax rate cuts will increase both consumer and investment spending, without increasing our debt, and will give the economy a huge boost.
- Health and Human Services Secretary designee, Rep Tom Price, is an expert on health-care and wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with a new healthcare program which provides more consumer choice at a much lower cost.
- The Great Rebuilding. Infrastructure investment is needed but it should be accomplished with a lower corporate tax rate and repatriated profits of multinational corporations to avoid increasing the deficit.
- Holdback on excessive fiscal stimulus. With the unemployment rate down to 4.6%, a dollar which has already appreciated 40% since 2011, and tax cuts on the way, inflation and higher interest rates are in the offing. Let’s not overdo it.
- Living on borrowed time. As shown in the above chart, interest rates are very, very low and are likely to rise significantly in the near future. When this happens, our massive public debt (on which we pay interest) of 76% of GDP will become very expensive to service. Ouch!
Conclusion. One can see a Trump agenda emerging which has the potential to be very successful if it is coupled with overall spending restraint.