Donald Trump's Executive Order banning travelers originating from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sdan, Libya, and Somalia, yet not Saudi Arabia and Pakistan which the President and Republicans have often pointed to as sources of terrorist threats, has sparked massive controversy and shifted the focus of public policy onto immigration. The ban is set to last 90 days, but new refugee admissions will be suspended for 120 days while refugees from Syria will be banned indefinitely. For those who support the ban, or find themselves unsure as to why there is so much controversy, there are several issues in play that offer meaningful lessons in proper governance.
As a Presidential candidate, Donald Trump's statements helped shape the public policy debate surrounding the 2016 US Elections. As the President, his decisions are implemented with the full force of the Law. Where his impulsive and confrontational nature often sparked controversy on the campaign trail, that controversy now manifests itself in confusion and counterproductive public policies that do more harm than good. For anyone who has had to deal with a legal issue or needed to interact with the government, it is clear that the government is an imposing force like no other. To be targeted by the government, specifically the US government, is downright frightening, which is why Trump's seemingly arbitrary policies are so frightening and upsetting to so many people.
President Donald Trump’s declaration that he places a higher value on military spending over fiscal responsibility officially makes the GOP no longer the Party of fiscal responsibility. Thanks to Trump’s unfiltered and blunt commentary, once again, the political world can no longer pretend the GOP seeks fiscal responsibility. Like their “spend-and-tax” counterparts on the Left, “spend-and-don’t-tax” Republicans simply prioritize military spending and tax cuts above all other spending. There is no fiscal responsibility in Washington. It is a political tactic used to slow funding to liberal and moderate priories in order to divert monies to Right-wing priorities. This is a problem, because fiscal responsibility is desperately needed.
Decades of unbalanced National Budgets have created nearly a $20 trillion National Debt for the United States. While Bill Clinton was the last US President to lead a successful campaign to address the National Deficit and Debt, Paul Ryan's very sobering 2012 Budget proposal, The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise, showed exactly how much government the US could afford without increasing tax revenues. Unfortunately, it was a partisan budget based solely on “Conservative” priorities that fueled political polarization and dysfunction. Because Ryan’s approach was to hijack the US National Budget to push Right-wing priorities, it failed to solve America’s fiscal issues. Even if he and Trump could now impose such a plan on the American People, the next US President and Congress would undo their changes with added costs. As such, fiscal responsibility requires a politically, as well as fiscally, balanced Budget.
The economy must become the top priority of public policy. Reducing regulation, slashing taxes, and ending tariff-free trade will not, however, be enough to accelerate and sustain economic growth. Ultimately, an economy must provide for the needs of the population it serves or it cannot be sustained. Today, it does not. Thanks to a widening income gap and a growing number of poor, an increasing amount of wealth is being concentrated into the hands of a shrinking minority. In turn, this income inequality inhibits the flow of wealth and overall economic growth.
In geographical terms, this translates into pockets of extreme wealth surrounded by a growing number of impoverished communities where the scarcity of opportunity inhibits economic development and growth. Not only does the lack of economic development within impoverished communities undermine the growth of the overall economy, the growth of the overall economy does nothing to actually help those living in this growing number of impoverished communities. Only by fostering constructive cooperation, instead of degenerative interdependence, can the scarcity of opportunity in stagnant communities be addressed and economic growth offer prosperity for all.
“Lower taxes, less regulation” had long been the battle cry of business proponents. Thanks to billionaire businessman and US President Donald Trump’s moves to end, or at least renegotiate, NAFTA and TPP being anti-tariff free trade is no longer anti-business. Although Mr. Trump’s pro-business, anti-tariff free trade appears somewhat contradictory on the surface, it is important to recognize that not all businesses benefit from the same policies. For small businesses serving their own countries, free trade does not necessarily offer any real benefits. Unfortunately, lower wages and diminished tax revenue strain the communities these businesses depend on to survive by decreasing consumer spending and forcing local governments to raise taxes on a narrowing tax base, which includes increased taxes on local businesses.
If a small business is able to export goods and services, free trade makes it cheaper to access new customers in foreign lands, but it does not mean they will have more customers or sales as free trade means increased competition from global competitors. The greatest benefits of free trade, of course, go to bigger businesses that can cater to a much larger and more diverse customer base. Unfortunately, corporations, which are built and sustained over decades, face the very real hazard of degenerative competition that forces companies to undercut their own futures. Obviously, the biggest benefits of free trade for all businesses are derived from circumventing costs associated with payroll as well as taxes and regulation. Fewer regulations seem to offer undeniable benefits to business, but a lack of proper regulation only further advantages companies that engage in degenerative competition and destructive business practices.
Donald J. Trump officially became the President of the United States of America on January 1, 2017. Although he has his share of diehard fans and well-wishers around the world, Donald Trump is one of the most controversial figures to assume the Presidency, which means he has scores of critics from across the political spectrum. Many have low expectation, at best, for the new President, but Mr. Trump has repeatedly pledged to “make America great again” while his supporters continually boast that he will be the greatest President in US history. To outperform expectations, President Trump will have to overcome opposition to his leadership. If Donald Trump wants to be a successful President, he must address the interests of all factions across the political spectrum and govern for the majority in the middle.
Donald Trump has a choice: he can either try to force his rule onto the country based on what he and his team beliefs the country needs or he can seek to execute the collective will of the American People. Just as President Obama and Congressional Democrats misinterpreted their 2008 victory as a green light to pursue a Left-wing agenda, President Trump and Congressional Republicans face the same risk. With his often disparaging reactions to criticism and dissent, Trump faces the prospect of similar backlash should he prove himself a hypocrite. Little time was discussing public policy options over the course of the 2016 Presidential Election, thus the views of the American People have largely remained unheard. Now is the time for the new President to serve the American People by addressing their interests.
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