Trump: Promises and policies

Rizwan Ghani

DONALD Trump has been elected as 45th president of America. He made many promises during his two- year election campaign. Now America and rest of the world is watching Trump to see how he will change his promises into policies and then implement them successfully. Or it will be just election rhetoric. He has already softened his position on Obamacare, Clinton e-mails and timeline of Mexico wall.
The $1trn US infrastructure building plan is a major part of Trump’s economic plan. By building roads, bridges, tunnels, hospitals and schools he will put the country back to work. It should put high school student to work after graduation. It is a nostalgic 3Rs plan promising relief (to unemployed), recovery (of the economy) and reform (of financial systems) just like Roosevelt’s national building plan of 30s under the New Deal in response to the Great Depression. The election result validates Trump’s charges of corruption in Washington and disconnection of politicians including Hillary with the plight of millions of voters unable to get jobs, education, food and healthcare. Trump can create thirteen million jobs. He hopes to restore major manufacturing activities in America by imposing tariff on imports mainly from Mexico (35%), China (45%) and Japan. The critical areas include steel, auto industry and pharmacy sectors. Revive 50,000 factories that have been closed in USA since start of globalisation (outsourcing). It explains his victory in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania which were hubs of manufacturing, auto and steel industry.
The corruption swamp in Washington can be drained. Trump vowed to put America first and accordingly promised to end anti-American trade deals to bring businesses back home. The Mexico tariff will end nexus between US auto-industry and politicians. The 100 percent restoration of car manufacturing in US will end greed of auto-industry bosses, restore local jobs in steel, auto and allied manufacturing industry. It could mean end of $1Bn Ford Plant Plan in India and review of car import policy with Japan and South Korea. Trump’s America first policy aims to end collusions in Washington and it could also end globalisation and revive protectionism.
Under tax reform plan, Trump has promised to reduce individual tax by $6000 and cut corporate tax from 35 percent to 10 percent flat. It will help him make USA business friendly, increase tax revenue and restore US standing in education based economy including critical fields like IT, manufacturing and space technology. In turn, it will help bring back jobs, investment and development in manufacturing sector, SMEs (comprise 80 percent of US economy) and research, which had shifted overseas mostly due to greed, tax havens or cheap labour. It explains Trump’s promise to scrap NAFTA, reject TPP and TTIP. The majority of Republicans in the Congress, Senate and the Supreme Court could help Trump in passing laws to fulfil his election promises.
Building a wall on US-Mexico border is one of Trump’s main election promises. Hillary rejected the idea and supported American Dream because the country was built by the immigrants. American public has rejected Trump’s anti-immigration policies including building of wall because Hillary won more popular vote. America needs clear immigration policy not walls to meet future needs of the country.
On foreign policy front, foreign interference could end in Syria. US, Russia relations will improve. NATO would be downsized. China could be dealing with North Korea as part of regional approach. The number of US bases (more than 900) across the world could be cut. Indian presence in Afghanistan should end as Pakistan has promised to work in close cooperation with America and Trump has already said that he loves Pakistan. If America stops protecting corrupt politicians, dictators and puppet regimes, it will help public, institutions and voters to hold rulers and states accountable through democracy and state institutions.
The corrupt American media needs to be cleansed as part of ending corruption in Washington DC. In 2016 Presidential Election, there are serious observations about media bias and collusion of politicians and giant media corporations. Reports show that Trump is also its beneficiary. The street protests in America show that public feels cheated and disenfranchised. Media is a pillar of democracy so 1949 Fairness Doctrine should be reintroduced, cross ownership and paid advertisements should be scrapped to end hegemony of media corporations and cable networks in American politics. The Public Broadcasting Services should be empowered on-lines of BBC for fair reporting and supporting healthy democracy.
Finally, if Trump translates his promises into policies even at the cost of $6.6tr budget deficit it will be a good start for America and rest of the world. As for the Democrats, if they want to win again in next elections of Congress, Senate, States and presidency then they need to abandon neoliberalism (corporate capitalism) and support average American to have jobs, wage increases, affordable education, healthcare, pension and respect.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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