Presidential Campaign

What will candidates do in their first 100 days?

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The next presidential debate is upon us. Rather than spend two hours on a broad range of questions, topics and back and forth, the real question the moderator should ask is: What are the one or two big objectives that you want to advance in the first 100 days of your administration?

{mosads}Traditionally, the first 100 days of any new administration is the honeymoon period, where  members of Congress will want to be viewed as team players, the press corps will grant a few free passes, and business and special interests that want to remain on the inside will keep their powder dry. This is the time when presidents have their best chance to advance something bold and hopefully set the tone for a successful first term.

President Franklin Roosevelt inaugurated the concept of the vital “first 100 days” of the presidency when he swept into office and immediately tackled the onslaught of the Great Depression. Roosevelt swiftly moved on emergency banking reform, stock market regulation and economic protections for commercial farmers. Since then, Americans have come to expect a slate of vigorous policy proposals to tackle major economic and domestic issues at the birth of each presidency.

President Kennedy sent Congress a flurry of broad proposals to promote more rapid economic growth, reform taxes, rehabilitate depressed areas and improve urban housing and development.

When President Reagan entered office, the country’s economic pot was suffering from double-digit inflation, high interest rates and a dying tax system. I had the privilege of serving as secretary of the tax policy committee of the Reagan transition team and witnessed firsthand the sweeping economic and tax package successfully enacted in his first months.

President Clinton shepherded his $1.5 trillion budget outline through Congress during his first 100 days. He also signed the Family Medical Leave Act into law.

Riding the mandate of hope and change given to him by the voters, President Obama is  probably best known for moving quickly on economic stimulus for the nation via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The next president is probably more focused on Election Day in 13 months, but planning for the first 100 days can’t wait for Inauguration Day 2017. Ideas need to be formulated, scrutinized, debated and ultimately packaged for sale, long before the 100 days begin. And if they want the electorate to buy in to their big ideas, right now is the best time to set the stage and start talking about them.

Bloomfield is president and CEO of the American Council for Capital Formaiotn and was secretary of President Reagan’s Transition Task Force on Tax Policy. Follow him on Twitter @MrCapitalGains.

Tags 100 days 2016 presidential campaign first 100 days Presidency

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