Economist Sean Snaith with the Institute for Economic Competitiveness took the stage at the Orange County Economic Summit early Wednesday morning, two days before incoming U.S. President Donald Trump was to take office, and delivered a somewhat optimistic, if measured, outlook on what might be coming.
Snaith said Trump, who has made unpredictability close to a signature trait of his without even setting foot in the White House yet, could provide a much-needed shake-up to the economy.
That’s because the economy under President Barack Obama has had a rather slow GDP growth – about half of previous expansions, Snaith said. It wasn’t a sure thing, but Snaith thought Trump, with his unconventional views, could be a proverbial 50,000-volt shock to the system.
But he also wasn’t sure – after all, he said, the only way to know what one might be able to expect is to look at Trump’s Twitter feed.
“We don’t have a tremendous amount of detail on what his policies will be,” Snaith said. “The general direction it seems to be going is double-barreled stimulus spending. They’ve talked about tax cuts, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, a boost in defense spending. This would be 10 times what Obama’s stimulus plan was.”
He said a repeal of the Dodd Frank act and the Affordable Care Act could help ease regulations and do better for the economy, as well as a simplification of the tax code, all of which Trump has said he’ll do.
“The average amount of time combined it takes an American to complete their 1040 is 42 hours,” Snaith said of the tax code reform, which he hoped Trump would simplify.
He said there were some potential pitfalls, though – such as the threat of a tariff war or a trade war with Mexico or China, after myriad Trump comments in the last year and a half on the campaign trail. But he wasn’t overly worried with that.
“Donald Trump is prone to hyperbole,” Snaith said. “I’m not too worried.”