Amid the frenzy surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last week, you may have missed another alarm bell ringing from the Oval Office with more tangible implications for investors.
It was the president’s interview with the Economist magazine during which he sums up “Trumponomics” as having to do with national “self-respect” and the pursuit of fair trade.
The president’s protectionist bent is hardly news, but the priority it commands in an interview containing scarce detail on tax reform should unnerve investors.
Following a lengthy rant against NAFTA and his plans for “massive” reform (big is not a good enough word), the president is eventually pressed on tax cuts.
The discussion gets off to a rocky start when he appears to take credit for a decades-old economic concept known as “priming the pump,” while explaining that a short-term increase in the deficit will lead to long-term growth.
From there, Trump stands by plans to slash the repatriation tax but then wavers on the question of an interest deduction for corporations and a potential VAT, giving the impression that few details have been ironed out.
When it comes to the politics of tax, Trump displays cautious optimism that his plan will get enough Democratic support – less than reassuring coming from a man prone to hyperbole.
He also regards the repeal of Obamacare as a foregone conclusion when suggesting that future savings from health care reform will help pay for the tax cuts. That’s a bold bet, even for a real estate tycoon, considering the changes the Senate wants to make to the reform bill.
Trump also defends himself against critics of the administration’s one-page tax draft, saying he contemplated putting out a larger thing before