Donald Trump is officially the 45th President of the United States and he now has the next four years to make good on his promise to “make America great again.”
Releasing a 100-day plan titled “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American voter” in October 2016, Trump, then still campaigning, promised to clean up the corruption in Washington, D.C. This later became known as “draining the swamp,” which Trump claims will protect American workers, restore security and the constitutional rule of law. He also wants to repeal numerous legislative gains made by the Obama administration, most notably the Affordable Care Act.
One of Trump’s more vocalized “day one in office priorities” is to either drastically reform the North American Free Trade Agreement or to completely withdraw from the agreement under Article 2205.
“[NAFTA is] the worst trade deal in history,” Trump repeatedly said throughout his campaign, and since his election Nov. 8.
Taking an isolationist approach to stimulating the economy, Trump and his administration believe NAFTA has cost the American people millions of jobs.
Their way to remedy this is to withdraw from regional one international trade agreements. By removing itself from NAFTA, Trump believes America will regain the millions of jobs lost to the agreement, because American companies will have incentive to move back to the U.S.
Trump has already zeroed in on companies such as Ford, General Motors and Toyota, which manufacture their products in Mexico. Trump claims he will install a 35 percent tariff on their goods, and others like them, that come to America from Mexico.
“We will retaliate right away if you hit us with a major border tax,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said. “It would be a problem for the entire world. [A Trump tariff] will have a wave of impacts that can take us into a global recession.”
Guajardo and other critics of Trump’s obsession with destroying NAFTA as the world knows it today are correct. Withdrawing the U.S. from this trade agreement would drastically reduce the number of jobs in the American economy, contradicting Trump’s repeated promise that it would create them.
As many as 14 million American jobs that rely on trade with Canada and Mexico, regulated and encouraged because of NAFTA, would disappear.
The 14 million jobs lost to NAFTA are troubling, especially since the American economy just recently managed to claw its way out of the hole the 2008 financial crisis created.
Add extreme job loss to the promise of retaliation by the governments of the countries Trump insists he will impose tariffs on and Trump’s plan is looking at lot like that of the U.S. after the Great Depression: high tariffs, no international trade, and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.
Obviously this situation is different than the 1930s, but Trump does need to be aware tariffs come with retributions.
Global trade is an immensely important part of the American economy — an estimated 11.5 million Americans receive employment from sectors dealing with exports alone — and withdrawing from the global economy is going to be detrimental for both the American and global economies.
Trump further promises to destroy the Affordable Care Act, dubbed “Obamacare” by many of its opponents.
Signed into law in March 2012, ACA provides health care to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured — lowering the number of Americans who are uninsured from 16 percent in 2013 to less than 10 percent in 2015.
Another important facet of ACA is it eliminates the ability of health care institutions to turn away people who have previously been sick, to charge more or less based on gender or to be drop mid-treatment due to a personal error.
Trump’s plan to repeal ACA within the first 100 days of his presidency, according to analysts, has about a 65 percent chance of working.
If Congress succeeds, repealing the ACA would lead to nearly 30 million Americans quickly becoming uninsured, the majority of these people from the working class.
The cost to re-insure these 30 million people would drastically rise as insurance companies now possess the ability to hike up premium rates. It is estimated only 8 percent of people who currently have coverage may apply for insurance if ACA faces repeal.
While the government would eliminate almost $109 billion in ACA spending, this would be offset by the estimated $88 billion increase in demand for free medical services due to the spike in uninsured Americans.
Repealing ACA would also yank funding from organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with crucial screenings for cancer, prenatal treatment, sexually transmitted diseases testing and access to contraception.
While Trump and his administration have been shoving it down the throats of Americans how terrible ACA is, is it not worse to yank coverage from millions of Americans, leaving them uninsured, and unable to afford a simple doctor’s visit?
If what Trump wants is to dramatically increase “government handouts” in the form of both federal and state governments forced to pick up the bill of free medical services provided to the newly uninsured, then repealing ACA is the perfect move.
But considering the inherent Republican fear of any government hand-out, maybe Trump should rethink his plan to decimate the ACA.
Trump and his administration have the next four years to, in theory, “make America great again.” Whether or not they succeed is a very different story, and from the looks of his 100-day plan, Trump will do more harm than good.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]badgerherald.com) is a freshman majoring in international studies and intending to journalism.