Greg Valliere has been analyzing developments inside the beltway for over 31 years, focusing on how federal policies will impact the broader economy and financial markets.
Like many analysts and pollsters, he didn’t expect Donald Trump to win the presidential election, calling the victory a “shock” to the status quo, but unlike some, he now says the focus should be on the policies Trump will pursue, not speculation of the personalities he will pick to fill his cabinet.
“The policy changes will be staggering,” writes Valliere, chief strategist at Horizon Investments, in his second post-election note. (In the first he apologized for his erroneous electoral college vote forecast.) “Obamacare will be killed or restructured, with no clear alternative in focus yet; Dodd-Frank, which banks were getting used to, may be scrapped; NAFTA will either be re-negotiated or it will die; stiffer tariffs, aimed at China, are coming; and regulations on everything from climate change to the fiduciary rule will be re-written or killed. This is a policy earthquake, a 9.0 on the Richter scale.”
Valliere doesn’t seem to be buying the argument put forth by David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, and others that “both the new President and Congress will likely act more slowly on dismantling the Affordable Care Act or trade agreements, until some better alternatives can be found.”
“Trump has enough support to get things done; most Republicans in Congress dislike him, but they respect what happened [Tuesday],” wrote Valliere in his first post-election analysis. “Watch Paul Ryan – he will fall in line.”
Ryan, R-Wisconsin, the Speaker of the House, had been critical of Trump during the campaign but nevertheless maintained his endorsement of the Republican nominee for president. On Wednesday, Ryan called Trump’s triumph the most “incredible political feat” he had ever seen and said that his team and Trump’s “are going to hit the ground running,”
Both Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said repeal of Obamacare was a priority. Republicans had passed a bill to repeal the ACA in 2015 but President Obama vetoed it. No veto is expected when Trump becomes president.
“This Congress, this House majority, this Senate majority has already demonstrated and proven that we’re able to pass that legislation and put it on the president’s desk,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “Now we have President Trump coming who is asking us to do this.”
Ryan plans to accomplish repeal through a strategy known as budget reconciliation which is not subject to a Senate filibuster and therefore would only need a majority vote in the Senate — which Republicans have — to pass.
Valliere, recalling a talk with a “leading Republican” on Wednesday, writes that “Trump will accept whatever Paul Ryan sends him, because for Trump the key will be winning deals, not the details.”
In addition to repealing the ACA , Ryan’s legislative plan, known as “A Better Way,” also includes other priorities shared with Trump: personal and corporate tax cuts, revamp of Dodd-Frank, anti-poverty programs and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid reform.
“We’re moving at warp speed, and now it’s a matter of floating trial balloons and seeing what can fly,” writes Valliere. “Don’t expect policy details from Trump… but watch Ryan. He’s like a kid on Christmas morning; he can get much of his wish list.”
Indeed, after meeting with Paul Ryan on Thursday, Trump said, “We can’t get started fast enough,” citing his plans to lower taxes and “fix health care.” Ryan said the meeting was “fantastic, productive.”
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