After Big Promises, Where Do Trump's Plans For Economy Stand?
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
During the campaign and since his election, the president-elect has promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. He says he will lift restrictions on oil and gas drilling. He'll push for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline and major infrastructure projects. To talk more about the new president's economic plans, we're joined now by one of his economic advisers, Stephen Moore. He joins us from member station WGCT in Jacksonville, Fla. Mr. Moore, thanks so much for being with us.
STEPHEN MOORE: Hi, Scott.
SIMON: Is President-elect Trump talking about spending a lot more money than most Republicans usually do?
MOORE: Well, I think that the real heart of his economic program is actually the tax reduction. And that's something we think we can get done potentially in the first hundred to 150 days of his new administration. And we do think that's going to generate a lot of new jobs, a lot of new businesses and capital moving into the United States and actually deter companies from leaving. We think we can use some of the money, by the way, from the repatriation tax. That's the 10 percent tax when companies bring foreign profits back to the United States. We think we can raise about a hundred and fifty billion dollars over the next few years from that tax reduction. And that will, we think, help raise the money to pay for the infrastructure rebuilding that needs to be done.
SIMON: How important is debt to President-elect Trump?
MOORE: Yeah, well, it's hugely important. I mean, look, Donald Trump has talked a lot about the fact that a great nation - a world economic superpower - cannot continue to run trillion-dollar deficits. But we also believe that we've got to get the growth rate up. The big problem with our economy right now is we've only grown at one and a half percent for the last year, and that's just not nearly fast enough to get the kind of jobs and the kind of wage increases, nor the revenues to the federal government. So we think that priority number one is to get the growth rate up from one and a half percent. And you've heard him say this, Scott - we think we can get up to about 4 or 5 percent. If you do that, you're going to generate a lot of revenue, and that will be used to help bring this gigantic deficit down.
SIMON: Mr. Trump is - has often referred to himself as a dealmaker. Is it your impression, Mr. Moore, that some of these positions we've cited and others that he's cited are principles or starting points for negotiation?
MOORE: That's a great question, and you know he is - his famous book is "The Art Of The Deal." You're right about that, and he has called himself a deal maker. We'll see what he does in terms of reaching across the aisle to Democrats and saying, you know, let's get some stuff done here. We'll give you some of the things you want. You give us some of the things we want, and we can get some legislation passed that'll grow this economy. I think he could say to the Democrats, look, we both want infrastructure. We this is going to be a lot of union jobs. Why don't we do our business tax cut? And I'll give you some of the money for the projects that you want - for infrastructure projects, for roads and bridges and highways and things of that nature. So that would be a good example of a deal I think that could get cut that would make both parties happy.
SIMON: You scratch my tax cut. I'll scratch your infrastructure spending.
MOORE: (Laughter) Well, possibly. And, you know, when it comes to these - you mentioned energy policy - we think we can raise significant amounts of revenues for the federal government by opening up more of our federal lands for leases for oil and gas development and coal development. And the energy companies will actually pay the federal government to be allowed to drill and mine on some of these lands. We're not talking about environmentally sensitive lands, but lands that just have been taken off the grid. We think we could raise hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. And by the way, that's also money that could be used for some of the spending Democrats might want to do.
SIMON: You mentioned reaching across the aisle to Democrats. Aren't there some Republicans he's going to have to reach over to his own side of the aisle to work with, also?
MOORE: You know, Scott, that's - this point has been made about the differences between, say, where Paul Ryan is on some of his economic ideas and Donald Trump. But I actually believe that the differences are not all that great. I mean, the one area that I've worked most closely with, with respect to Donald Trump, has been the tax cut. Paul Ryan has his tax plan that they've put together in the House. And our tax plan that I helped put together with Donald Trump is very close to the one Paul Ryan put together.
So I would envision that passing the House in 30, 60 days, and then move it over to the Senate. And I think we can get 10 or 15 Democrats onboard that tax cut, too, in the Senate and have a real right-out-of-the-gate victory because we're very oriented toward trying to get victories early because we think there is an emergency in this economy. We're very worried about another recession on the horizon.
SIMON: Stephen Moore, economic adviser to President-elect Trump, thanks so much for being with us, sir.
MOORE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.