Donald Trump’s political ambition is attracting GOP attention once again. The real-estate baron and reality-TV star has suggested he is open to running for governor of New York, and a scheduled visit to New Hampshire next week suggests interest in the presidency. The possibility that he may throw his hat into the political ring has pundits and voters curious about the businessman’s positions on the issues.
In his book, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, released two years ago, Mr. Trump set forth an economic philosophy that translates easily into a six-point platform for national office.
Push Tax Reform: Mr. Trump believes in the Reagan vision that cutting taxes spurs investment and consumer spending, which creates jobs that lead to more wealth and greater government revenue. To stimulate such economic growth, he supports eliminating inheritance taxes, cutting taxes on capital gains, simplifying the tax code so that the highest rate is 15 percent and the majority pay 5 percent, and zeroing out the corporate tax entirely to encourage companies to stay in America and attract new employers to set up shop here.
Attack National Debt Through Entitlements Cuts: The United States borrows billions of dollars every day to fund the government. Even dramatically cutting discretionary spending will not significantly slow the growth of the $17.3 trillion debt without touching entitlement programs. Mr. Trump isn’t afraid of this sacred cow. For example, “If we slowly increased the full retirement age to even just 70, one-third of the $5.3 trillion shortfall would be eliminated right away,” he writes of Social Security.
Accelerate Energy Independence: Mr. Trump writes, “The natural gas reserves we have in the United States could power America’s energy needs for the next 110 years,” and there is enough crude oil to last for decades. He supports a dramatic escalation of domestic drilling to provide jobs and minimize dependency on foreign cartels.
Get Tough on China: Mr. Trump says Washington needs to play hardball with Beijing by pushing for greater enforcement of international trade laws to crack down on China’s manipulation of its currency, which artificially lowers the price of its products relative to competitors, and countering industrial espionage targeted at stealing U.S. intellectual property at great cost to American industries. Mr. Trumps recommends that the United States threaten Chinese products with a 25 percent import tax if they don’t start playing by the rules.
Repeal Obamacare: Mr. Trump promises he would kill the Affordable Care Act with the stroke of a pen on his first day in office if he were president. He would then help drive prices down in the private health care market by pushing tort reform to curtail lawsuit abuse and increasing competition by allowing consumers to purchase insurance policies across state lines, thus multiplying their options.
Improve Immigration: Mr. Trump argues that the immigration system should be reformed to increase the number of newcomers with skills that are in demand and decrease expensive “freeloaders who come here to live off our welfare system.” To do this, he proposes tying most visas to jobs skills (75 percent of permanent resident visas are now based on having a family member already in America), deporting hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in U.S. prisons for criminal activity, making it more difficult for illegals to receive entitlement benefits and taking control of the southern border by increasing manned patrols, drone surveillance, and building more physical barriers in high-traffic areas.
The Republican Party has a deep bench of skilled lawmakers who could make good presidents, but many of them face an uphill struggle in trying to develop name recognition across the country. This is especially the case for governors such as Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, who have turned around struggling rust belt states but garner little national attention.
Donald Trump already enjoys a popular personal brand, fanned by a highly rated television show, and has the potential to appeal across party lines in a poor economy because of his track record as a business builder and job creator. Who knows if Mr. Trump is serious about running for public office, but the political establishment should take him seriously.
Brett M. Decker is a consulting director at the White House Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter @BrettMDecker