We’re standing on the front porch of the general election, but if the party is one for Donald Trump voters still aren’t sure exactly what they’re going to get.
Here are six policies we still don’t have a plan for or a straight answer on:
1. The Minimum Wage
In a story over the weekend, NPR pointed out that the financial markets have been freaking out when Hillary Clinton drops in the polls. The reason is that a Trump presidency is so erratic and unpredictable and financial markets favor stability and a level headed leader.
In fact, because Trump has never held office, there’s no way of knowing where he is on any issue unless he’s specifically stated it and he doesn’t list it on his website. On the minimum wage, NPR couldn’t find a mention of it anywhere on Trump’s website and his speeches are all over the place.
“Trump is – he’s switched his opinion,” Marilyn Geewax explained for NPR. “First he said that he was against a higher wage. Then he said he was for it. But he’s also said he thinks it should be up to the states. I went on his website. I couldn’t find an official position on it. So it’s not entirely clear where he stands on that.”
2. What happens after we get rid of Obamacare?
Trump and the GOP have made it clear that they will get rid of Obamacare on the first day of a Republican White House. What they don’t do is explain what happens to the millions of people who signed up on Obamacare, what they’ll do about ensuring young people can stay on their parents’ plans or if preexisting conditions will be covered.
Trump advocate Steve Cortes was questioned on MSNBC a few weeks ago what Trump would replace Obamacare with. The answer was a ‘federalism’ program that sounds exactly like what Obamacare already is.
“In health insurance,” Cortes began, “we want the states to be free to experiment, to be laboratories of democracy and they at the local and state level can decide what works best.”
Obamacare already gives subsidies and allows consumers to use the subsidies to shop for whatever insurance policy that works for them through state exchanges. The feds manage the exchanges for half of the states that have attempted to opt-out of Obamacare.
Trump has traveled all over the country touting his repeal of the plan and while he get’s huge applause lines, his statements end there. There is no plan, unless you consider changing the name “Obamacare” to something that doesn’t have “Obama” in it.
3. What are we cutting and where?
Trump, like most Republicans, love talking about how big the federal government is and how much they want to cut wasteful spending. Though, he doesn’t clarify where he plans to cut.
The biggest ticket item in the federal government is defense spending, with a whopping 57 percent of our budget, according to PolitiFact. Pulling out of NATO isn’t going to reduce the deficit.
At the same time, Trump also wants us to go to war with anyone who looks at us the wrong way. He also wants 30,000 troops on the ground to defeat ISIS. He explained that he’d have Congress sign a declaration of war to fight terrorism. Such a strategy would give Trump a blank check to spend whatever he wants on wars.
That doesn’t exactly sound like spending less. What would have to be cut to offset that? The Environmental Protection Agency? Cut the Labor Department? No one knows.
4. How will the United States pay for the deportation of millions of people?
Ban the Muslims and kick out undocumented immigrants, are Trump’s big homeland security and immigration plans. The problem Trump faces is that law enforcement is already overextended. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is already overwhelmed with people that they are processing to return to their countries that they’re trying to snag private prisons being closed down, just so they have a place to put people.
There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. Even though Trump wants to triple the number of ICE officers, there will likely need to be more than that to handle 11 million people. All of this while Trump says he plans to cut spending. So, what programs will be cut to offset the influx of federal employees?
5. No, really, how do we afford that wall?
Trump’s signature policy is to build a wall across the southern border of the United States. A wall he says Mexico would pay for. Trump has explained that the country will foot the bill after the wall is built, however, they’ll do so after it is built.
In his speech touting his “Contract With the American People,” Trump famously explained that there would be legislation passed “with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of the wall.”
Even if Mexico eventually paid for it, ten or two years down the road, how does the United States afford it right now? He’s claimed that it would only cost approximately $8 billion, but most agree that is a lowball estimate, unless Trump plans to stiff the contractors. More realistic estimates look like $300 billion if not more. Even if Mexico eventually pays for it, it wouldn’t be until the wall was finished, which could take much longer to achieve than Trump’s time in office. That would leave the growing bill in the lap of another president. He or she is less likely to go to war with Mexico over the wall, which means the wall gets added to our national debt.
6. What the hell will happen with taxes?
“I would take carried interest out, and I would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it’s outrageous,” Trump told Bloomberg last year.
How quickly things change. In September, the campaign released a plan that made Grover Norquist happy. The proposal would cut taxes for the wealthy by making the top marginal tax rate 25 percent. The plan would cut $10 trillion in tax revenue coming into the federal government, which would add to the debt he claims he’s going to cut.
In May, Trump explained that he would increase taxes on the wealthy, but said that even with his increase, they’d still be paying less than they are today.
“I said that I may have to increase on the wealthy — I’m not going to allow it to be increased on the middle class — now, if I increase it on the wealthy, that means they’re still going to be paying less than they’re paying now. I’m not increasing it from this point, I’m talking about increasing from my tax proposal,” Trump said in a CNN interview.
Then, Trump threw out his entire plan and did a speech in August that outlined a whole new strategy. Even that plan has some confusing contradictions to what Trump has said in speeches.
In the end, we’re all going to the polls with no idea what Trump really thinks. His opinions and plans are all over the place, and at times his website will say one thing while he says another. It all comes down to one major Trump plea, “Believe me,” and Americans have to decide if they do.