On November 21st, President-Elect Trump’s Transition team released a video on YouTube describing his policy plans for his first hundred days in office. In the video, he described in vague detail what executive actions he plans to pass on his first day and issues he will focus on for his first 100 days.
In regards to trade, he plans to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and instead, negotiate “fair, bilateral trade deals.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade agreement between the US, Canada, Chile, Peru and ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The countries included in this treaty are: Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, and New Zealand. The purpose of this agreement is to eliminate tariffs on goods and services between these countries which makes it easier to trade. This treaty would benefit major Japanese carmakers such as Honda and Toyota, making the US market more accessible. It would also allow American carmakers Tinto markets that weren’t accessible due to high tariffs placed by the country, such as Vietnam. Critics of TPP, including Trump, are concerned that the agreement will lead to jobs being outsourced by the US and into countries with lower wages and less labor laws.
In regards to energy, Trump plans to eliminate “job-killing” restrictions on the production of American energy such as Shale energy and clean coal. These comments were truly confusing, there are not many restrictions on making coal cleaner. On the contrary, the Department of Energy has been actively funding research on how to make coal cleaner. Jason Bordoff, founder of the Columbia University’s center for global energy policy stated the President-Elect probably meant he intends to “scrap a lot of environmental rules that regulate coal production and end the Clean Power Plan that would accelerate the decline of coal.” The issue is that no coal is “clean coal.” The mining of coal disrupts the land drastically and the burning of coal results in toxic waste in the form of coal ash. He also promised that the elimination of these regulations will create “millions of high paying jobs.” This is highly unlikely since the coal industry has been declining due to greater issues than government regulation. Some of these issues being competition of cheaper natural gas, the dropping cost of renewable energy, and the lack of demand of coal in the Asian Market. So even if Trump were to eliminate all government regulations on coal, the coal industry is not coming back.
In regards to regulations, he plans to eliminate two old regulations for every new regulation implemented. His claim that he will eliminate “all needless and job-killing regulations” sounds promising but a closer look at what he considers “needless” is concerning. On the top his list of policies to slash are several EPA regulations including the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Rule. The Clean Power Plan proposes replacing environmentally harmful industries such as coal and oil with cleaner industries such as wind and solar. This regulation was implemented August 2015 and was intended to prevent pollution and promote clean energy consumption. Although it would cost approximately 25,000 jobs over a 10-year period, the health and environmental benefits outweigh the costs.
In regards to foreign policy, Trump said that he would “ask the Department of Defense to develop a plan to protect against all kinds of attacks.” Although this is extremely vague, there are several concerns over the President-Elect’s attitude towards national security. Fifty officials from his own party have signed a letter stating that Donald Trump will put the nation’s security at risk and that he has “demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of the nation’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances and the democratic values.” Trump has appointed Michael Flynn, a retired army three-star general, as his national security advisor. Flynn has stated that he wants to start another world war, “The world badly needs an Islamic Reformation, and we should not be surprised if violence is involved. It’s normal.”
In regards to immigration, Trump stated that he will “direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs.” There are better uses for the Department of Labor’s resources than tracking down and hunting thousands of immigrants. It’s also important to keep in mind that H-1B (talent visas) programs are extremely important to many growing US industries, such as technology. 700,000 jobs for American workers are expected to be created by 2020 due to H-1B’s given to foreign workers in the last few year. Trumps previous comments on drastically slashing this visa program would be devastating to the US tech industry.
In regards to “ethics,” he plans to “drain the swamp” and place a five year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after they leave administration along with a lifetime ban on executive officials lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. There’s concern that this lobbying ban could make corruption worse. Instead of limiting the role of lobbyists, his efforts would push lobbying further out of public view. Meaningful change would require more direct regulations on the structure of the lobbying system.
For now, these are all just ideas. It’s important to remember that this country was built of a system of checks and balances, one man does not have the power to completely change our nation’s political climate overnight.