Post Election Outlook

The election is finally over.  Markets are beginning to price in the upside potential of a shift to a pro-growth government led infrastructure-led fiscal spending.  This is something I have cited over the past couple of years as the missing piece of policy that could stimulate the economy, given that monetary policy has run its course.

Trump didn’t include a lot of detail in his campaign rhetoric.  Maybe he doesn’t know the details, but we can certainly ascertain his drift.  We do know an administration is a lot more than one person, and collectively, these others will bring the expertise to Trump’s agenda.

We can expect an increase in infrastructure spending.

Trump White house, 2018

Trump White house, 2018

Trump is known for putting his name on large buildings.  Just imagine if he were President.  According to Capital Group, the spending he has suggested would add up to half a percent per year to GDP over the next four years.

Trump has pledged to lower tax rates for individuals and corporations.  One way to pay for cuts would be to expand the amount subject to tax, which points to a deal for repatriation of the estimated $2 trillion of US corporate earnings held overseas.

Trade is the area most directly controlled by the President.  Trump’s threats to bully concessions from trading partners might work, but also carry the risk of starting trade wars or worse.  However, as occurred with Brexit and Grexit, the votes and threats created leverage, and pressure for concessions.  Perhaps he can negotiate a better deal.

Trump likes to negotiate from a position of strength and has emphasized the need for a strong military.  Increased defense spending to beef up homeland security and offensive capabilities should benefit defense contractors and industrial suppliers.

Health care is another area of focus.  Trump campaigned on repealing the Affordable Care Act.  It is unlikely the 20 million people added to health insurance rolls will be dumped, but the program will be rebranded and modified to reduce the worst imbalances.  Insurance companies will muddle through changes and pharmaceutical companies will still contend with pressure for price regulation.  While more positive than we would have expected a Clinton administration, the outcome is not clear.

He says he wants to repeal Graham-Dodd.  Banking regulation has placed serious regulatory burdens on financial companies.  Some question whether the regulations are adequate, but there is evidence of overreach and unnecessary compliance overhead.  It would be nice to see fewer rules based institutional regulations and more principles-based enforcement of laws to control individuals that compromise the public interest.

It might be best to view the Trump impact as a change in drift, not a full overhaul.