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Hamish McRae – What would the US economy really look like under President Donald Trump?

Could President Donald Trump deliver on his promises? The problem – and this applies to all presidential candidates – is that the economic levers that a president can pull are much weaker than in other western democracies.

There are two reasons for this. First, the system is designed that way, with its checks and balances. As far as the budget is concerned, the expression is that “the President proposes, but Congress disposes”. So who controls Congress will be as important – in many ways more so – than who sits in the Oval Office.

The second is that the economy is so huge and so complex, and the American people so flexible and inventive, that even a determined President and a supportive Congress have relatively little leverage. In a crisis, leadership is essential – as we saw in the effective US response after the financial crash. But in normal times, policy matters less than elsewhere.

That said, what’s the Trump plan? It is called “America First”, and has three main elements: a big fiscal boost from lower taxes; renegotiated trade deals; and legal changes, among other things, to immigration and banking regulation.

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