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The Future of America

07 November 2016

The presidential candidates offer opposing visions for America. This article takes a brief trip into the two possible futures that await the US on 8 November 2016.

President Trump

Trump's campaign has been characterised by a lack of information, making America's future under his presidency rather uncertain. To what extent would his election promises be realised?

The notorious Mexican wall has been a signature promise in Trump's presidential campaign, but could this be a reality, or is it, as Clinton remarks, a mere "fantasy"? According to experts, the 2000 mile wall would cost $25 billion to build, and the Mexican government have wasted no pleasantries vehemently denying their funding of the project. Alongside difficulties posed by obtaining Congressional support and environmental regulation, this promise may be a difficult one to deliver, especially within a presidential term, as the wall could take years to build. Trump may have left the White House by the time his fantasy would become a reality.

Trump has also promised 25 million new jobs and tax cuts for everyone, but Oxford Economics are unconvinced. With no corresponding plan to cut federal spending, they predict that Trump's proposals would shrink the US economy by 5%. Trump's economic policies could potentially cost America 5 million jobs according to the Peterson International Institute of Economics. In contrast, the Tax Foundation states that lower tax rates will trigger growth, leading to more jobs. The plan is certainly "disruptive" and conflicting opinion makes its success hard to predict.

Change can definitely be expected in terms of foreign policy. The focus is advancing America's national interests and a Trump presidency could see a new relationship with Russia and NAFTA renegotiated or even reneged, which, under Article 2205, Trump could do without the support of Congress.

President Clinton

Clinton's campaign provides more information than Trump's, but are her policies any more robust?

Clinton's plan is less about tax cuts and more about ensuring the wealthy pay their share. Her economic plan is layered, involving a 30% tax on those with income over $1 million and a 4% 'surtax' on those earning more than $5 million. Higher taxes for the rich and few targeted tax cuts can therefore be expected if Clinton is elected president.

Despite this increased tax revenue, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget suggests that her plan would still add $200 billion to the national debt, particularly because she plans to increase federal spending, specifically $275 billion on infrastructure and $700 billion on education. However, they do state that the funding of this shortfall could be explained if further information is given.

In terms of foreign policy, we can expect to see a break from Obama's approach, with a tougher stance taken in respect of Iran, Russia and China. In the past, Clinton has been an advocate of interventionist measures, having previously voted for Libya intervention. Increased involvement in Syria has been a key pledge in her campaign, but will she follow through, and if so, what form will US action take?

How easily could Clinton make these changes? As we learnt from Obamacare, the Republican Party is unlikely to make it easy for her.

Only time will tell whether Trump will "make America great again" or whether Clinton really is "for America".