Trump’s agenda tackles taxes, spending and the wall

Trump’s agenda tackles taxes, spending and the wall
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When Donald Trump exits the Republican National Convention this week as the party’s official nominee, he’ll tout his plans for the country should he be elected president. 

Trump’s advisers say turbocharging the economy is his most urgent priority, and it’s likely that shortly after taking office a President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE would put forth an economic plan that would slash government spending, trim federal bureaucracies and radically reduce taxes.

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“We’re going to plan it explosively towards growth,” said Stephen Moore, one of Trump’s senior economic advisers.

While Trump remains unpredictable and often reverses himself on policy issues, here’s what the candidate and his top advisers say they are going to prioritize should he win the presidency in November:

 

Taxes

Trump is poised to release his updated tax plan, which has been worked on for weeks by his economic advisers, including Moore and CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow.

“It will be similar to the original plan but just more fleshed out,” Moore told The Hill. “We think we’ve got a way to minimize the cost of it.”

Moore and Kudlow have been fixated on reducing the effect of the Trump tax plan on the deficit. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimated that the original iteration of Trump’s tax plan — which slashed corporate and income taxes — “would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital.”

Moore said the new version will dramatically reduce that hit on the deficit, and he believes the “explosive” growth set off by the steep tax cuts, coupled with spending cuts, will create a balanced budget.

“We’re going to make the Europeans pay more for NATO; we are going to get rid of ObamaCare, that’s a huge saver; we’ve got this Penny Plan where we’re forcing agencies to cut a penny each year from its budget,” Moore said.

The Penny Plan is an idea whereby the administration would tell every agency in government, “Next year, instead of spending a dollar, you’re going to spend 99 cents. ... Then you keep doing that for four or five years and you get trillions of dollars of savings because of the compounding effect,” Moore said. 

Moore added that in his meetings with Trump, the billionaire has been “hyper-obsessed with getting the middle-class [and] working-class Americans not just more jobs but better-paying jobs,” and Trump has directed his economic team to pursue those goals above all else.

 

Spending cuts 

During the primary campaign, Trump indicated that, in the search for budget savings, he’d eliminate federal agencies, possibly including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.

Such promises were commonplace during the heated Republican primary race, and a source familiar with the inner workings of the Trump campaign at the highest levels told The Hill that Trump as president wouldn’t do anything so radical as eliminate whole agencies. 

“I don’t think that is reasonable or actually can be done,” the source said. “It’s just not real.”

Trump would instead pursue spending cuts in these agencies, and the billionaire considers the easiest places to find savings to be the EPA and the Department of Education, the source said.

“Part of his agenda is going to be doing more with less. ... Not necessarily defense spending, but he’ll be asking some of these bloated bureaucracies to reel in their spending.”

 

Immigration and national security

The wall has become synonymous with a Trump presidency, so it’s safe to say that building one across the border with Mexico will be one of the Trump administration’s first moves. 

“One thing that’s always brought up in talking to him ... is building that wall,” said a senior Trump campaign source. 

“He takes that extremely seriously,” the source said. “Something’s going to happen in that first 100 days.”

But there’s still confusion about what that wall will look like. 

The real estate magnate has gone into great detail about his pet project, noting in August it will be made from precasted concrete. But two Trump surrogates, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New York Rep. Chris Collins, have told reporters that they believe Trump’s wall will be “virtual” instead of tangible.

Another potential stumbling block is who will pay for the wall. Trump says Mexico, and his campaign published a policy paper showing how a Trump administration would use regulations to block remittances from illegal immigrants — an important part of the Mexican economy.

But few Republicans in Washington believe it’s likely that Mexico will pay for the wall, and still fewer among the party’s corporate wing are eager to start a trade war with the United States’s southern neighbor.

Once the plans for the wall are hashed out, Trump will likely pivot to immigration. That means President Obama’s immigration executive orders will likely be gone, to the joy of fellow Republicans. 

His initial call to temporarily ban all Muslim immigrants from entering the country, one of his more controversial ideas, has recently shifted into a ban on people from countries with a “history of terrorism.” Trump’s executive branch would have to determine a list of which countries qualify — the State Department currently lists just three countries on its list of state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Sudan and Syria. It’s likely that he’d expand on that list to include other countries in the Middle East. 

 

Trade

If Trump wins the White House, he’ll do so in no small part thanks to his bold pronouncements on trade that have aggravated the staunchly pro-trade GOP establishment.

His main whipping post has been the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he’s described as a “death blow to American manufacturing.” If elected, he’d almost certainly pull the U.S. from the deal Obama is working toward. He’s also floated a withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been U.S. policy since 1994. 

His tough stance on trade would likely result in the U.S. clamping down on potential violations, especially in China, while pushing for larger tariffs on a variety of imports.

Many of these policies worry much of the Chamber of Commerce Republican establishment, which has spent decades touting free trade and worries Trump will start trade wars with the United States’s most valuable partners.

 

Energy

The Trump campaign’s list of priorities for his first 100 days includes a call to remove restrictions on energy production, a bread-and-butter issue for conservatives looking to take the restraints off of private business. 

He outlined his energy wish list during a May speech in North Dakota, specifically promising that in the first 100 days, he’d preserve the Keystone XL pipeline, slash executive actions and regulations, allow energy production on federal lands, scrap the Paris climate agreement and halt U.S. involvement in United Nations global warming programs. 

For establishment conservatives, there are no surprises there. Trump’s energy policies, as described, fall almost in lockstep with conservative orthodoxy. 

 

ObamaCare

Trump has promised, along with just about every Republican presidential hopeful, to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

“ObamaCare: We’re going to repeal it; we’re going to replace it, get something great,” Trump said at a rally back in September.

He does not have a fully fleshed-out plan to replace the healthcare system but has called for a plan that allows insurance sales across state lines, tax-deductible premiums, prioritizated health savings accounts, and federal grants to states to manage Medicaid on a state level.