Trump’s first 100 days: Winners and losers

The 100-day mark of any new presidency doesn’t really matter, since it’s almost impossible these days to move legislation through Congress in so little time.

Yet President Trump himself promised a beefy set of 100-day accomplishments, and he has boasted, with typical hyperbole, of historic achievements at the start of his presidency.

Here’s a more realistic list of winners and losers so far under President Trump:

WINNERS

Wall Street banks. Trump’s promise to undo regulations governing banks, especially the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, portends bigger profits for Wall Street. The KBW bank index is up 23% since Trump won on Election Day last November. That’s roughly twice the gain of the overall stock market.

Stock investors. The S&P 500 stock index has risen 11% since Election Day, with investors expecting deregulation and tax cuts to boost corporate profits. The so-called Trump rally stalled in early March, however, as the prospects for tax cuts got fuzzier. The rally could fizzle if Trump has as much trouble getting tax-reform legislation through Congress as he did the failed Obamacare repeal bill.

CEOs. Trump hosts business leaders at the White House virtually every week, to hear their ideas on how to turbocharge economic growth and create more jobs. Trump seems to be listening – he has modified his stance on trade protections and voiced support for other ideas favored by the business lobby.

The Pentagon. Trump wants to boost defense spending by $54 billion per year, which would be a 10% hike. He wants to raise the money by cutting the budgets of most other agencies. Congress may not give Trump everything he wants, but many lawmakers do favor stronger defense spending.

Energy and auto companies. Trump has allowed the construction of two oil pipelines President Obama blocked, and executive actions to ease offshore drilling are reportedly on the way. And Trump’s pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, could roll back rules on pollution emissions and automotive fuel-economy requirements.

Ivanka Trump. Despite an ongoing effort to boycott retailers that carry Trump-branded items, sales of Ivanka’s namesake brand have reportedly surged, as Trump’s daughter gains cred as a presidential confidante and cool-headed (and unpaid) White House adviser. Ivanka Trump has stepped down from her company, letting others run it, yet the brand still seems to be benefitting from her White House role and newfound access to potentates everywhere.

800 Carrier workers in Indiana. Trump and the state of Indiana persuaded air-conditioner-manufacturer Carrier to keep an Indiana plant open instead of moving it to Mexico, preserving 800 jobs that would have been lost. But that early success hasn’t stopped other firms from moving operations offshore.

LOSERS

Obamacare participants. Trump and his fellow Republicans failed spectacularly in their bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, earlier this year. But the threat of its demise has impacted enrollment, which fell by nearly half-a-million this year, compared with 2016. Trump has also threatened to withhold subsidies that help about 7 million lower-income Americans pay for health insurance under the ACA. And there are other things he could do—or neglect to do—that would weaken the market for insurance under the ACA and drive up premiums to levels that might be unaffordable.

Federal bureaucrats. The federal government employs 2.8 million people, and Trump wants to see that number plummet. He also seems to have changed his definition of “draining the swamp” from chasing out corporate lobbyists to hounding out federal employees.

Immigrants. Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration, as promised, but that may be discouraging legal immigration as well, plus plain old travel to the United States. Trump’s executive orders banning immigrants from a handful of Muslim nations are still tied up in the courts, but there’s evidence that fewer foreigners are researching flights to the US, with some simply choosing not to come. That could harm the US travel industry and keep out talented immigrants who could help boost economic growth.

The weed industry. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the legalization of marijuana, and the White House has suggested it will beef up enforcement of the federal law banning weed, even in the 8 states that have declared it legal for recreational use. Weed has grown into an $8 billion business, but the risk of a Trump crackdown has chilled investment and led to the cancellation of some industry events.

The “forgotten men and women.” These are the displaced Americans Trump vowed to help while campaigning, but there’s no evidence yet that any Trump policies have improved the prospects for underskilled workers whose jobs have been disappearing. Trump hopes a pro-business strategy will boost profits and trigger more hiring, but it could take years, and maybe longer, for gains to filter down toward the bottom of the economic food chain.

Donald Trump. His approval ratings started low and have drifted lower, standing at 40% in Gallup’s latest poll. That’s the worst ranking of any president at the 100-day mark in modern times. Trump’s rating would probably improve if he were able to notch a legislative win on something important like tax reform, with at least some bipartisan support. But more likely, short term at least, are petty fights over funding the US government and the risk of a federal shutdown, which is usually intensely unpopular with voters. Like they say, it’s often easier to campaign than to govern.

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Online:

https://finance.yahoo.com/

Rick Newman is the author of four books, including Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.