Friday marks the start of what may be the most fascinating few months in contemporary U.S. history. The Trump era promises a departure from the past eight years, but to where exactly? Depending on whose hyperbole you hear, we are headed toward either renaissance or holocaust.
We shall find out soon, but as a Trump skeptic trying to be a Trump optimist I can imagine some ways the months to come could yield positive results.
What’s more, creating a low, short-term rate for American businesses that repatriate overseas profits to the U.S. could spur a boom in their domestic investment. Some $2.4 trillion in corporate profits are estimated to be parked offshore. Bringing back even a quarter of that amount would provide a 3 percent jolt to our $18 trillion economy. The effect of that would be incredible: Consider that, unless the fourth quarter was exceedingly good, the economy did not grow 3 percent in any single year of Barack Obama’s presidency. It could also yield a big boost to government coffers. Speaking of which …
Then direct the balance of the new revenue toward paying down national debt. Even if it were a small number relative to the total debt (and it would be), it would be both a symbolic and a concrete step. After all, Washington’s credibility on fiscal responsibility is also in desperate need of repair.
There will be other opportunities – repealing and replacing Obamacare is the most obvious one – but these items would be consistent with Trump’s vision, feasible and sound.