100 days of Trump. From bold economic promises to the real accomplishments
Donald Trump made bold economic promises for his first 100 days in office during presidential campaign. He pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare, to reforming the whole tax system, to refresh the U.S. infrastructure, cracking down on illegal immigration and rid Washington of corruption. Also he promised to eradicate “bad” trade deals, cut back regulations and hit back at China for its unbalanced trade policies.
But what has he accomplished by now? What is clear is that Trump hasn’t been able to keep many of them. The most notable perhaps is his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, which failed because he couldn’t bring Republican lawmakers to consensus.
Neither “the biggest tax reform since the 1980s” hasn’t passed before the 100-day mark. This week he proposed legislation to slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, cut the top personal income tax rate to 35 percent, repeal the inheritance tax, and temporarily slash the rate on overseas profits repatriated to the United States.
The plan, however, is vague and even senior Republican lawmakers described it as offering only “guideposts” for legislative changes.
Trump had also vowed to name China a currency manipulator, meaning the United States could then impose tariffs on Chinese goods. But in mid-April he changed course and said that China was not a currency manipulator.
Still, there are seven economic promises he did keep in the first 100 days.
Pulling out of TPP
Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal just days after his inauguration, keeping a campaign promise.
Trump had both threatened to withdraw from or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), blaming it for an exodus of U.S. jobs to Mexico. The threats of withdrawal had jolted financial markets at various times.
This Thursday, Trump extended an olive branch, saying he would not terminate NAFTA after the leaders of Mexico and Canada asked him to work on a new trade deal.
Trump also ordered a review of the causes of U.S. trade deficits, such as dumping of products below cost; unfair subsidies; “misaligned” currencies; and “non-reciprocal” trade practices.
Cutting back regulations
Trump has acted aggressively on his promise to eliminate regulations that he said were hurting the U.S. economy. He issued a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. He also rescinded Obama-era climate change regulations, including the Clean Power Plan; a ban on coal leasing on federal lands; and rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production.
As part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development, Trump ordered a review to identify national monuments that can be rescinded or resized. Legal challenges are expected.
His administration has approved a dozen measures rolling back regulations passed in the final months of the Obama administration on the environment, energy, education and financial services.
Approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
Being a Republican, Trump said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
His Democratic predecessor, former president Barack Obama, rejected the pipeline, saying it would lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and do nothing to reduce fuel prices for U.S. motorists.
Several environmental groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to challenge its decision.
By approving the pipeline without public input and an up-to-date environmental assessment, the administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act, groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern Plains Resource Council said in their legal filing.
However, the pipeline will not be required to use American-made steel as Trump had originally promised.
“Buy American, hire American”
Trump has pledged to keep U.S. companies from shipping jobs overseas. Before taking office, Trump used the muscle of his election victory to threaten companies about moving jobs abroad.
He claimed victories with the Carrier unit of United Technologies Corp and with Ford Motor Co, though Carrier still cut hundreds of jobs in Indiana and Ford said it scrapped plans for a Mexican factory because of declining demand for small cars in North America.
The jury is still out on how successful he can be in keeping jobs from going overseas.
Trump ordered a review of the H-1B visa program, which brings highly skilled foreign workers into the United States. He says he wants to modify or replace the current lottery system with a merit-based system for highly skilled workers.
Ridding Washington of corruption
This was one of Trump’s rallying cries during the campaign, saying he would change Washington by cracking down on the influence of special interests and political elites.
He criticized Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her paid speeches to Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs but has named several former Goldman executives to his inner circle.
He did ban appointees of any executive agency from lobbying for five years after leaving government employment and permanently banned future former appointees from activity on behalf of any government or political party abroad.
Hiring freeze on federal workers
Trump followed also through on a campaign promise to freeze hiring of federal workers.
He aimed to reduce the federal workforce through attrition, but it isn’t clear by now how significant the impact has been. The White House lifted the freeze in mid April, with a “a more surgical plan” to reduce federal jobs, according to budget director Mick Mulvaney, cited by Fortune.
“It does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,” Mulvaney said.
Refusing the $400,000 annual president’s salary
Indeed, Donald Trump gave his entire first-quarter salary, totaling $78,333, to the National Park service, in line with his campaign promise.
“It’s not as easy as you’d think” to give money to the government, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said after he handed over a ceremonial check to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.