President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address promised to make the economy even better. By and large, as well as in Mr. Trump’s opinion, the economy is looking pretty good. Wages continue to rise. The stock market is on fire, and the unemployment rate is at a 45-year low.
The president reiterated his campaign tagline and resolved “to make America great again for all Americans.” Still, much of his plans sound pretty grandiose. Here’s a rundown of how President Trump plans to make the economy and America even better, and whether he’ll be able to achieve his goals.
1. Make trade deals better
Trump’s address on sour trade deals coming to an end was unfortunately vague and nondescript. Sure, some trade deals need a revamp, but many Americans were hoping for a more clear-cut plan. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a no-go, but what are the implications surrounding that decision? Furthermore, the president also chose not to discuss his plan to reopen a conversation about the US-South Korean trade agreement, or the future of NAFTA.
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2. Increase infrastructure spending
In 2017, the ASCE’s report scored America’s infrastructure, and the nation received a big, fat D+. Needless to say, there is much room for improvement when it comes to infrastructure, like fixing the nation’s failing and dangerous bridges. However, Trump’s pitch for Congress to approve $1.5 trillion for infrastructure investment left many legislators scratching their chins, even with the notion of obtaining investments from the private sector.
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3. Improve workforce development and job training
In addition to recent tax cuts, which should add jobs to the economy (at least in theory), the president said he wants to “invest in workforce development and job training.” For Trump, this means opening up more vocational schools for up-and-coming workers to learn a trade and “realize their full potential.”
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4. Dive into prison reform
There is an absolute problem with the prison system in the U.S. The privatizing and overcrowding of our nation’s prisons call for immediate reform. Yet, Trump’s brief touch on “reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance” left much to the imagination in terms of his actual plan of action.
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5. The 4-pillar immigration plan
During his speech, Trump said he wanted “immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.” He also suggested that immigration is the cause of much of the violence here in the U.S.
This part of the State of the Union was the most detailed. His pillar plan is broken down into four stages. Stage one provides a citizenship opportunity for 1.8 million illegal immigrants known as Dreamers. Secondly, Trump wants to batten down the hatches on our southern border — nothing new there.
Next, he wants to put a stop to the visa lottery system, on claims that immigrants are just haphazardly given green cards — which is not true. For the record, green card recipients must provide proof of a high school education and endure an arduous selection process that takes months. The fourth part of the pillar plan is to end chain migration. In addition to making America safer, Trump claims this plan will help American workers.
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6. Tax cuts and reform
Americans will feel some relief when it comes to the GOP’s tax cuts and reform. The standard deduction for married couples has doubled to $24,000. Businesses will feel the benefits of a 14% tax rate reduction, and small businesses can enjoy a 20% income deduction.
Overall, Americans should end up with some extra money in their pockets. The White House also claims that tax reform is giving the economy a “Trump bump” in the form of bonuses for workers, new jobs, and investment from businesses.
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7. What’s the likelihood of Trump’s plans coming to fruition?
President Trump’s biggest victory dance to date comes by way of the Tax Cuts and Job Act, and it should pan out for some Americans. Other points in Mr. Trump’s State of the Union were far vaguer, playing the crowd as he loves to do. His call out for the $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure seems like a longshot, considering lawmakers fear our country can’t really afford it.
As for the infamous wall to be built at our southern border, the benefits of the not-yet-built project seem ambiguous at best. According to Ron Nixon, Homeland Security officials believe that while the wall could slow the rate at which illegal activity coming into the U.S., it certainly wouldn’t stop that flow altogether.
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8. How much control do presidents actually have over the economy?
Not one U.S. president has ever single-handedly turned around the economy. The New York Times says it best — “Presidential economic records are highly dependent on the dumb luck of where the nation is in the economic cycle.” While the success of a president is directly graded against the state of the nation’s economy, it’s most certainly no indication of the sole efforts of the commander in chief.