Immigration, regulatory roll-back, tax cuts: These are just a few of the things people have pushed President-elect Trump to focus on during his first 100 days in office, which starts on January 20th. That leaves less than two months before the start of the honeymoon period, where Trump will have a chance to make some valuable changes, quickly. One aspect, which warranted a lot less attention this election cycle is an important one — the national debt.
The nearly $20 trillion national debt has not made many headlines, but the problem is growing, quite literally, making many lawmakers anxious about the United State’s fiscal future. The price tag on Trump’s plans is hefty, forcing the President-elect to make cuts elsewhere in the budget. It was just 6 years ago that slashing federal spending was a main priority for the Tea Party activists who surged into power in the House of Representatives.
The biggest proposal from President-elect Trump has been the $1 trillion plan on infrastructure. The details aren’t readily apparent, which has made people in Washington—like Senator John Boozman (R-AK)—wary of how it will ultimately affect the debt and deficits. Trump advisors have assured that private investment will help lower the amount of spending the federal government would front. With tax credits as incentives, the argument goes, private companies will invest in roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports. Others are skeptical of the plans and are convinced the tax breaks would raise the deficit.
Medicare and other healthcare reforms have been part of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan, and Trump has pointed to implementing these policies on his transition website. Tackling these types of reforms will help to address some of the country’s fiscal problems—but certainly not all.
The border wall is also being reevaluated—with people pointing toward more financially viable options such as a fence in some parts or implementing technology like drone patrol. Tweaks to specific immigration policies may prove to be helpful — or detrimental — in lowering the deficit and eventually tackling the debt.
Some Congressional Republicans are skeptical that Trump’s plans can be successful at lowering the debt while at the same time increasing the nation’s GDP growth dramatically. It’s clear that in order to tackle the debt, spending cuts must be made in some areas if the spending continues to rise in others.
While the issue was not as prominent this election cycle, President-elect Trump nonetheless often mentioned the importance of taking on the national debt. It seems like there is no better time than the first 100 days of his presidency to prove he will carry out his promises for fiscal reform.