On the positive side, the call for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending is good – provided it does not degenerate into a public-private privatisation scam:
The concern with re-shoring US manufacturing and open support for protectionism is excellent.
Trump even invoked Lincoln and the Republican protectionism of the 19th century, and linked this with immigration restriction:
Ending illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration is what America needs, so a reduction in legal immigration by a shift to a merit-based immigration system (if this is what will happen) is a step in the right direction. This is a pro-working class position.
In my opinion, however, this doesn’t go far enough: H-1B visas in America should be abolished immediately and a moratorium on all Third World mass immigration should be introduced. If any government wants to raise wages and increase job opportunities for its citizens, then breaking the addiction in the West to the unending flow of cheap Third World labour is vital, and immediately.
I don’t see how Trump can (a) cut taxes and (b) increase defence and infrastructure spending without massive Federal deficit spending. Hopefully immigration restriction, with industrial policy, and massive Keynesian stimulus with actually turn the American economy around. A real danger is another financial crisis and the temptation Trump might have to give in to the fiscal conservative hawks.
On the negative side, deregulation was always going to be part of the Trump program (we knew this from the beginning), but that can be fixed by a future Democratic government that isn’t a Neoliberal train wreck.
The health care reform seems a mess, and the only effective solution is a universal system free at the point of delivery: the rich and upper middle class can continue to buy private health care. A universal system free at the point of delivery would increase disposable income for households and help corporations reduce costs, so that it would be part of an industrial policy.
The government debt hysteria was unfortunate. The poorly-regulated financial sector and the huge level of private debt are the two biggest issues that are not being addressed.
On foreign policy, the anti-Iranian moves cave in, to some degree, to Neoconservative and other lobbies in Middle East, but hopefully this won’t go too far. It is unclear whether the administration is retreating from what might have been a badly-needed détente with Russia.