Doing the sums on Donald Trump economics

It may be time to think the unthinkable. Donald Trump in the White House, not as a dinner time visitor in a tuxedo just passing through, but as full-time resident for the following four, perhaps eight years.

Doing the sums on Donald Trump economics

The wheel may yet come off the bandwagon, of course. That said, the time is coming to consider the economic and financial implications of a Trump presidency.

Let us imagine that the Republicans also retain a large degree of control over both the Senate and the House of Representatives, following the November elections, allowing the newly elected president to start implementing his pre-election commitments.

Mr Trump’s most notorious plan, the enforced repatriation of roughly 11 to 14 million undocumented, or ‘illegal’ immigrants from the US over the period of a year to 18 months could plunge America into a Depression, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics.

Mr Zandi warned in the Politico website that as a result many jobs in restaurants, hotels and construction would go unfilled.

There would also be 11 million fewer consumers of US goods and services further driving down economic activity.

The plans have been slated by many economists of the right as well as the left. Mass returns would slash repatriation income, while increasing the burden on struggling Latin American economies, potentially provoking retaliation against American ‘gringos’.

The American Enterprise Forum warns that immediate and full enforcement of immigration law would cost the Federal government between $400 billion (€365.7bn) and $600 billion.

John McLaren of the University of Virginia tells ‘The Street’ that farmer income would plunge while food prices would soar as output fell.

Mr McLaren points to a 2008 raid by Immigration & Customs on a slaughtering and packing plant in Postville in Iowa. Almost 400 undocumented workers were detained, 300 jailed and over 1,000 migrants left, devastating the local economy.

A toning down in rhetoric looks likely as the election deadline approaches, assuming Mr Trump clinches the nomination. This is also likely to hurt the economy.

There are precedents. A UK government crackdown on visas is badly hurting the restaurant trade, causing many Indian eateries to close.

Mr Trump also has free trade in his sights. He would renegotiate the Nafta agreement and the proposed transatlantic partnership.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton has also shifted position on free trade, becoming much more of an avowed sceptic.

Mr Trump has also promised a 35% tax on Mexican car imports while he would declare China a “currency manipulator”.

He is on firmer ground with a pledge to force the Chinese to uphold intellectual property laws, end illegal export subsidies and tackle “lax labour and environmental standards”.

The concern is that a series of retaliatory actions on trade would be triggered, helping to further fan the flames of global financial instability.

The New Yorker, with the big hair, also promises tax cuts across the board.

He insists that lower earners will get to send a form to the Inland Revenue with the words “I win” on it.

The business tax rate , for example would fall to just 15% while profit repatriations from overseas would be pushed strongly giving the IDA and Ireland plenty to think about.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates that Trump’s tax plan would cut taxes by $12 trillion, leading to 11% growth in GNP, a 6.5% jump in wages, and 5.3 million extra jobs.

The rich fare best with growth in capital stock of 30%.

However, the Foundation warns tax revenues would fall by over $10 trillion causing global investors to take fright as the US “drove deliberately over a fiscal cliff.”

His backers such as the Texas-based Institute of Policy Innovation insist that his tax plan is “one of the most dynamic tax plans out there”. It certainly has echoes of the supply side economics beloved of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

On the spending side, ‘Obamacare’ would be shelved by Mr Trump.

No fan of Islamic extremism, he would also boost spending on the military, fanning concerns about a yawning fiscal gap even further.

Whatever else you say, these plans are not dull, but neither is Mr Trump.

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