It has been several weeks since the conclusion of a truly remarkable election.
By way of full disclosure, Donald Trump’s transition team has not yet contacted me about advice for its first 100-day plan. But just in case, I will make the following list available to them gratis:
1. The economy: Evaluate the corporate tax code to determine if lowering it to 15 percent will really be cost-effective, and bring corporate headquarters back from overseas and/or create more jobs in the United States. (Note: Most corporations pay far less than the current 35 percent; on average, 17.4 percent.)
2. Domestic security: Trump has loaded his Cabinet team with military brass. The attrition of our armed forces is well-known and requires a committed effort in planning (without fiscal redundancy) and funding for strategic weapons and manpower.
3. Law and order: The disrespect for police has been a bellwether issue for the outgoing administration. The failure to support our local constabulary is an invitation to violence, burglary, homicide and generalized lawlessness. Many of the so-called and publicized “police violence” issues have been legitimate enforcement of the law when the facts have been assembled.
4. Health care: It is obvious that the Affordable Care Act has been a financial disaster, and will crumble under its own weight whether or not it is effectively repealed by budget reconciliation. Whether the 15 million to 18 million people directly affected by Obamacare will have a safe haven remains to be seen, but underwriting their health care should not be another elephant placed on the backs of taxpayers. It’s another example of liberal idealism that should be rethought and largely tanked.
5. Education: Throwing billions of dollars at failed municipal public school systems or unpayable loans for worthless college degree programs is wrong-headed and a prescription for a failed national education system in perpetuity. The rational model for education in other Western countries is to evaluate students at middle-school level for the best career paths based on their native abilities and provide proper direction going forward.
6. Foreign policy: This is a busy one.
Establish open lines of communication with the leaders of China (Xi Jinping) and Russia (Vladimir Putin); ignoring two superpowers is a nonstarter.
Reassure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States will continue to be Israel’s strong ally.
Meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and demand that the Saudis play a much more meaningful role in the Middle East conflict if they wish to retain a “favored nation” status.
Establish a favored trading relationship with the post-Brexit United Kingdom.
Meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and begin a collaborative program to improve.
Revisit the North American Free Trade Agreement, as the pros and cons, such as the loss of jobs for the United States, are well-known.
7. Draining the swamp: Getting the Clintons and their sycophant entourage gone was a good start. The tough one here is a legitimate campaign to limit congressional terms and post-congressional eligibility for lobbyists. The very Beltway culture that Trump campaigned against is the major obstacle to returning government to the people instead of their so-called elected officials. Having a Cabinet of millionaires and billionaires is the first step toward liberation of the pay-for-play mentality that has kept the swamp well-nourished.
8. Advise and consent: This is another tough one given the personality of the new president:
As a political neophyte, choose advisers who will tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear.
Think frequently before you tweet.
Do not think that you are required to be on television 24/7.
There is virtue in taking time to think things over before issuing a response.
Park your financial interests at the front door, required or not.
As the new year is now upon us, here is the good news: Trump is replacing the epitome of narcissism in the White House. An outgoing president who says that he could have easily won a third term, or a first lady who now knows what “loss of hope” looks like, are easy acts to follow. Good riddance, and I hope Trump learns from their example.
(The writer is an Augusta obstetrician and gynecologist.)