I was recently listening in on yet another webinar about the Department of Labor fiduciary rule when the speaker made a comment that raised eyebrows (mine, obviously. I couldn't see anybody else).
“Most of us don’t really know what Donald Trump thinks about this rule, if anything,” said Bradford P. Campbell, counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington.
I thought later how fascinating that was to me, as well as a little disconcerting. Here’s a nonpolitician running for the most powerful office in the world, so we should want to know in very specific detail what his plans are – right?
Instead, it’s seemingly the opposite. Trump has some very vague plans, and vague is not usually a good thing for financial services.
Shameless plug: in your September issue of InsuranceNewsNet, we will let you know where Hillary Clinton and Trump stand on issues such as taxes, regulations and other hot topics of interest to the financial services industry.
By comparison, I looked back four years ago to the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. In September 2011, 14 months before the election, Romney unveiled a 59-point job and economic proposal.
The blueprint was so specific, it included five bills and five executive orders he would make on Day One. Items a would-be President Romney vowed to tackle almost immediately after taking his oath of office included reducing the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent, halting regulations “that burden the economy” and beginning steps to reverse the Affordable Care Act.
Whew! Romney didn’t win, but the man had a plan. Finally, it seems Trump is listening to advisors and putting forth more serious details with about three months to go until the ballots are cast.
Monday, Trump made a ballyhooed economic speech in Detroit. In it, he revealed a few more nuggets of his economic policy. Trump said his plan would include imposing a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations.
He also modified what appeared to be unworkable tax proposals. Trump wants to reduce the federal tax brackets from seven to three, which certainly has appeal. This week, he upped this proposed rates from 10, 20 and 25 percent to 12, 25 and 33 percent.
The change is fairly significant as it puts Trump in line with the GOP platform and House Speaker Paul Ryan. The Republican candidate is still vowing to tear up trade deals, which won’t endear him to Congressional conservatives, but baby steps are better than no steps.
We’re finally getting somewhere. Trump added a 13-man team of economic advisors last week, which led to a conference call Sunday and the policy speech Monday.
Clinton is slated to speak on the economy Thursday in Michigan. Her campaign said the Trump plan would give tax breaks to the wealthy and big companies, and would hurt working families and trigger a recession.
Clinton wants to raise taxes on high earners, a strategy Trump says is to blame for the current sluggish economy.
Who is right? Both are probably right and both are probably wrong.
It’s been that kind of election.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected].
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