Trump’s Talk: Aspirations, Not Policies – OpEd


Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was a list of aspirations, without any explanation of the policies he had in mind to meet those goals. That’s not surprising, because that is the nature of political campaign rhetoric. Politicians rarely say what they plan to do. Rather, they talk about perceived problems that exist now, and say they will make things better. This isn’t a criticism of Trump. All politicians do that, and I fully expect Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech to be much the same.

Trump said he would make America safe again. He didn’t say how. He said he’d hire the best people to get the job done, but he didn’t say who they are, or how he would find them.

Trump said we had bad trade deals, and he’d renegotiate them to get better deals. He didn’t say what was wrong with the deals we have, and he didn’t say what terms he’d include in any renegotiated deals.

Trump said he’d cut taxes. He didn’t say what taxes he would cut, or give any outline of tax reductions he had in mind.

Trump said he’d cut regulations that reduce productivity. He didn’t say what those regulations were, or what regulations would be eliminated.

Trump said he’d return manufacturing jobs to the United States. He didn’t say how he would do this, leaving me with the suspicion that he’s inclined to place regulations on businesses–the very kind he said he’d repeal in another part of his talk.

This is the nature of campaign rhetoric. Rather than advocate specific policies, point out how things could be better than they are. Everyone agrees they could be. And then say if you are elected, you will make things better. So, while I don’t fault Trump for following a long-standing formula in his campaign speech, I can’t give him too much credit for bold thinking either.

My overall evaluation of his talk was negative. Why? Because well before it was over, I was asking myself how much longer he was going to talk. When that happens, I figure the speaker has gone on too long.

This article was published at The Beacon.

Randall G. Holcombe

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, past President of the Public Choice Society, and past President of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech, and has taught at Texas A&M University and Auburn University. Dr. Holcombe is also Senior Fellow at the James Madison Institute and was a member of the Florida Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

One thought on “Trump’s Talk: Aspirations, Not Policies – OpEd

  • July 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I can say that the professor is correct in stating that politicians do not say how they achieve things. This makes sense because they do not have time to explain everything. But during debates pundits and people can ask them on how they achieve what they plan to do. For the other issues raised by the professor, I really think he needs to check his notes about Mr. Trump’s statements because he is wrong. First, about making America safe, Mr. Trump indicated that he would make the military very strong and cooperate with the countries fighting terrorism. For example, he said why the Obama administration is against President Assad and Russia given that they both fight terrorism. So, he has a different way than President Obama and Clinton who have created and supported terrorism directly and indirectly. Most terrorists are using American weapons. Turkey has not closed its boarders and Obama’s air force watches Daesh selling oil without bombing that source of finance. Also, the current administration has had excellent relationships with the countries financing and supporting terrorism. Second, for better trade deals Mr. Trump means that USA should export more to other countries and import less. In addition, Mr. Trump does not allow American firms to leave the country to other countries under the current trade agreements. Third, Mr. Trump likes to cut taxes on the manufacturing sector and other productive sectors but raises taxes on hedge funds and Wall Street. Fourth, for regulations, Mr. Trump likes to redo the Obama care because it costs a lot for many people and retains what is useful. Other bad and costly regulations can be eliminated as well. These regulations are helping the regulated making more profits. Currently, insurance companies are making huge profits through the Obama care and have controlled the health industry. The same can be applied to the pharmaceutical industries. Fifth, Mr. Trump wants to return and keeps the manufacturing firms in the USA by imposing very high tariffs on their exported products to USA. As we know, these American companies are leaving to other low cost countries and export their products back to USA. Thus, imposing tariffs on these firms will force them to come back partly or totally to USA. And this action will create better and high pay jobs for the American workers, and will increase the national employment level and wages. In addition, Mr. Trump will cut taxes on corporations to bring their piled cash back to the USA. Some have estimated this cash to be about 15 trillion dollars. Finally, Mr. Trump has more polices encouraging growth and productivity such as building the infrastructure that has been abandoned by the Bush and the Obama administrations. Going after the Fed with its almost zero interest rate will enable the country to move back toward productive activities rather than fictitious ones. The current Obama economy is really fictitious and phony. For example, unemployment is low but wages are not increasing and labor participation rate is at historical low level. Changing foreign policies and the role of the NATO will save huge funds for the USA that can be used for generating a high rate of economic growth. Finally, Secretary Clinton said that she would depend on President Bill Clinton, a war criminal with loaded Iraqi people’s blood on his hands, to run the economy. But President Clinton during his administration created millions of lousy jobs with very low wages. He created regulations for derivative to prosper and commercial banks to be merged with investment banks by eliminating the Steagall Act, which have created the financial crisis of 2007-8 and the fictitious US economy, where the financiers have become very wealthy at the expense of the working people, raising the inequality and the Gini coefficient significantly.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *