Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump’s Tuesday presidential announcement has sparked intrigue from many and ire from some groups like the Club for Growth, which immediately—and foolishly—called for Trump to be banned from the Republican presidential debates.
But the Club for Growth’s slick press release uses old charges to obscure an otherwise powerful fact: Trump, perhaps more than any other presidential candidate, has already laid out his conservative plan for “making America great again” with crystal clarity, backed up with serious policy prescriptions.
Indeed, in his 2011 bestseller, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, he explained in great detail the bills and reforms he says will revitalize the American economy, generate jobs, and strengthen and restore America’s standing on the international stage.
Here, then, are just five of Donald Trump’s solutions for turning the nation around.
- Foreign Interventions Must Require Cost-Sharing Plans to Reduce U.S. Costs and Guarantee Veterans and Their Families Are Protected
“Money is itself a weapon,” writes Trump.
Before America spends trillions of dollars fighting other nations’ battles, Trump says the U.S. should implement cost-sharing agreements similar to the one advocated in a September 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to reduce the cost burden on U.S. taxpayers and provide funds for the families of fallen or wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
“It’s hardly a radical idea,” writes Trump. “In September 2010, our own GAO and others studied the issue in depth and concluded that a cost-sharing plan is feasible and wise. The report, titled “U.S. Cost-Sharing: Iraq Has a Cumulative Budget Surplus, Offering the Potential for Further Cost-Sharing” noted that the Iraqi government is running a $52.1 billion surplus. As Trump notes, director of the Defense Department’s Office of Net assessment Andrew Marshall, pointed out that oil revenues could also be used to offset the sticker price for U.S. intervention.
“Why are we footing the bill and getting nothing in return?” writes Trump. “I’ll give you the answer. It’s because our so-called ‘leaders’ in Washington know absolutely nothing about negotiations and dealmaking.”
- Pass NOPEC Legislation to Break OPEC’s Grip on Energy Prices
In Time to Get Tough, Trump advocated passage of the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC—S.394) which would amend the Sherman Antitrust Act to allow the U.S. government to sue OPEC for violating antitrust laws.
Trump notes the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee four times with bipartisan backing, “and in May 2008, the NOPEC bill passed the House” before “President George W. Bush got spooked and threatened to veto the bill” over fears of “retaliatory action” with wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Passing NOPEC, wrote Trump, would have allowed the U.S. to bust up the OPEC cartel.
“Imagine how much money the average American would save if we busted the OPEC cartel. Imagine how much stronger economic shape we would be in if we made the Iraqi government agree to a cost-sharing plan that paid us back the $1.5 trillion we’ve dropped on liberating Iraq.”
Trump added, “Just those two acts of leadership alone would represent a huge leap forward for our country.”
- Crack Down on China’s Currency Manipulation by Calculating Taxes on Imports Based on How Much a Manufacturing Country’s Currency is Undervalued
Trump says he believes passionately in free trade, but only when the rules are fair and currency is properly valued. He cites a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics that finds that even a 20 percent revaulation of Chinese currency would create 300,000 to 700,000 American jobs.
“Getting China to stop playing its currency charades can begin whenever we elect a president ready to take decisive action,” writes Trump. “[Obama] could start by signing into law a bill the U.S. House of Representatives approved on a 348 to 79 vote in September 2010. It would allow our government to calculate taxes on imports based on how much the manufacturing country’s currency is undervalued.”
Trump notes Obama’s then-Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner warned such a move might spark a “trade war.”
“It’s the utter weakness and failure to fight for American interests from Geithner and Obama that have left us underwriting China’s economic rise and our own economic collapse,” writes Trump. “It’s a plain fact: free trade requires having fair rules that apply to everyone.”
- Spur Job and Wealth Creation through a 5-Point Tax Plan
“People are smart,” writes Trump. “They know you can’t be ‘for’ jobs and against those who create them.”
That, says Trump, is why America’s president should advocate for and win a five-point tax plan to spark economic growth and allow Americans to keep more of what they earn.
First, Trump says the U.S. must repeal the death tax. He cites a CBO study that found the death tax is a proven jobs killer that “will strip $1.6 trillion of small business capital out of the hands of job creators” and will result in a loss of 1.5 million new jobs.
Second, Trump says smart tax policy includes lowering the tax rate on capital gains and dividends. “Capitalism requires capital,” writes Trump. “When government robs capital from investors, it takes away the money that creates jobs.”
Third, Trump would reduce the corporate tax rate to zero. “How can we expect companies to hire American workers and locate their businesses in America when our government taxes them at exorbitant rates for doing so?” writes Trump. “I want to encourage American companies to stay here and hire American workers, and I want foreign companies to relocate their businesses to the United States and create jobs here.”
Fourth, Trump says he would impose a 20 percent tax on those who outsource jobs overseas. Trump says “for those companies who made the mistake of sending their businesses overseas but have seen the light and are ready to come home and bring jobs with them, they pay zero tax.”
Finally, Trump says its time to implement a fairer and simpler income tax:
- Up to $30,000, you pay 1 percent
- From $30,000 to $100,000, you pay 5 percent
- From $100,000 to $1 million, you pay 10 percent
- On $1 million or above, your rate is 15 percent
- Finish the Border Fence, Boot Out Criminal Illegals, and Reform America’s Legal Immigration System
Trump cites a 2011 GAO study that found America’s prisons house 351,000 criminal aliens who committed crimes after illegally entering America. “The GAO says that the annual price tag to incarcerate these thugs is $1.1 billion. And get this: criminal aliens have an average of seven arrests.” He says criminal illegal aliens must go.
In addition to specific reforms for America’s legal immigration system, Trump says the Commander-in-Chief must enforce existing immigration laws and finish the border fence.
Citing several studies, Trump says “properly built walls work. We just need the political will to finish the job.”
Trump’s Time to Get Tough lays out several more detailed conservative policy reforms, including cracking down on entitlement fraud, ending Obamacare, and reforming America’s ever-growing welfare state. As he puts it, America needs “a safety net, not a hammock.”
Put simply, GOP establishment figures eager to dismiss Trump’s candidacy do so at their peril. Like it or not, Donald Trump has serious policy plans to offer—and the star power and savvy to make them heard.