For those interested in the viability of Trump’s proposed plans (found here), here is a critical political analysis:
- “Term limits on Congress.” While the idea of term limits on Congress is appealing, the process is daunting. In order impose term limits in Congress, a constitutional amendment must be passed (the process is outlined in Article V of the Constitution, or an explanation can be found here). For those who want a summary, here it is: A constitutional amendment can be called for in two ways – a 2/3rds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. (Note – all of the previous constitutional amendments have been called for with a vote in Congress).
The president has no role in the Constitution Amendment process. Therefore – according to the Constitution – Trump is not able to do this. It is up to Congress and Congress alone to propose and later pass an amendment to the Constitution. Further, if your goal is to fix the corruption in Congress, do not allow private citizens or corporations to donate such large amounts of money to a politician’s campaign. If a politician isn’t attempting to fulfill a deal made for a monetary contribution, he/she is more likely to fulfill the commitments made to the people who actually elected him/her.
- “A Federal Workforce hiring freeze.” The Federal Workforce makes up three specific branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The Executive branch is split into two sectors, Civilian and Uniformed Military. The Civilian branch includes: Cabinet agencies, such as Agriculture, Commerce, Defence, Education, Energy, etc. (a complete list can be found on page 82 of this report released by the White House); and Other agencies – excluding postal service which functions as a quasi-federal program – such as Broadcasting Board of Governors, Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, etc. If you want more information on the composition of the federal workforce, I encourage you to read more of the above linked document.When reading said document, I found a disturbing statistic. The size of the Federal civilian workforce relative to the country’s population has decreased significantly over the past decades. If you look at the Historical Federal Workforce Tables, the most recent data from 2014 shows that the United States employed less federal employees than in 1962. In fact, the federal government only employs 56,000 more individuals in 2014 than the lowest number ever employed (in 2000). Further, the employees of the Federal Workforce are twice as highly educated as comparable private firms – with a rate of growth less than half that of the private firms. Further, the Pay Agent Report found that ‘in 2015 Federal jobs paid 35 percent less than comparable non-Federal jobs’.
From a critical perspective – Trump has vowed to decrease an already decreasing sector of extremely intelligent individuals who have chosen to pursue a career to better our nation rather than making large amounts of money in private firms. This does not seem like a ‘job building’ measure (a point he campaigned on), but rather one to cripple the already overworked federal government. Further, how is this going to limit corruption? (A legitimate question, if you know how this would limit corruption please comment below.)
- “For every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated” ….. How? How do you plan on implementing such an ignorant policy? Executive order? Law? This is basically saying that for every law that is passed, two more must be repealed. But more intricately, many laws have multiple regulations in them. So again – how? It makes me wonder if Trump even understands how our government actually works. Or what the extent of his Presidential powers actually are.
- “A 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.” This is probably one of the only things I will agree with Trump on. It is unfortunately a common practice for politicians to pass unpopular laws, and when they are not re-elected (or chose to retire), they move to the private sector. But then again, with such a good idea, I decided to google to see if it had been done before. And it has. By Obama. In 2009. The only difference? Obama put a ban for 2 years, not 5 years. The executive order can be found here. Trump is simply calling to extend policies already put in place by the Obama administration.
- “A lifetime ban on White House Officials lobbying for a foreign government.” As far as I am aware – and as far as my research has found – no White House officials lobby on behalf of a foreign government currently. (If this is incorrect, please comment below with the link to the evidence that this does actually happen.) But okay, I understand this is to appease the tensions from the leaked Clinton campaign emails.Also, bear in mind – there is the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which is a “disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.”
- “A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.” Okay, yes. The leaked documents showing that the Clinton campaign may have accepted money from a lobbyist acting on the interest of a foreign nation is cause for concern. And yes, I also agree foreign nations should not have significant roles in our politics. So agreed – points 5 and 6 are important. They are also the only two I partially agree with.However, bear in mind – the changes Trump proposes will require congressional action – which the Washington Post’s Catherine Ho says is ‘unlikely’. Further, in her professional opinion as a journalist covering lobbying on Capital Hill, the “longer ‘cooling off’ period … would deter people from taking government positions in the first place, knowing that their post-government employment options would be limited.”
According to GOP lobbyist Stewart Verdery – “What you’ll end up with is people serving in government who are wealthy or super ideological to advance a partisan cause because it’ll make it very hard for someone to cycle in and out to do public service for the good of the people.”
This policy analysis intended on informing people as well as creating a discussion on the proposals made by Trump. If you have any comments, thoughts, or disagreements with the analysis or information provided, please comment below.
Edit: I intended on analyzing each of the points in Trump’s 100-day-plan. However, after attempting to go through each point, I got much too frustrated by how outrageous each point was (hence the part 1; I had intended on going through each section one-by-one)… And then, when I did publish the first 6 points, I realized it may be too soon for a real intellectual debate of Trump’s proposals – yet. So, I will continue this series, but I will continue it after some time has passed.