January 17, 2017
The Transformation of Washington: Perspectives on the Trump Administration
Now it is the Republicans’ turn. With an ambitious yet vaguely detailed agenda intended to radically transform decades of domestic and foreign policy, Donald J. Trump is about to begin to assert control over the levers of power in Washington. He is the first Republican president since 1953 to enter office with his party having a decisive margin of control in both chambers of Congress.
Republicans are single-minded about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), easing corporate taxes and sharply reducing regulations over labor, banking and the environment, among other areas. The new administration has foreshadowed that it will be more hospitable to corporate mergers and transactions generally, although critical of companies that transfer jobs or profits overseas.
But there remain fundamental disagreements within the Republican Party about how to replace the ACA, negotiate or renegotiate international trade and investment agreements and increase fiscal spending for infrastructure projects. Battles are shaping up between Republican leaders and the White House in these and other areas that promise to have profound implications for a wide range of industries and companies.
He inherits an economy with sustained growth and near full employment, but with stagnating wages for millions of Americans as well as a deeply divided electorate. Senior advisers say his administration will attempt to pursue a path that builds upon his campaign success of focusing attention on the well-being of the American worker. The theme of helping manufacturing workers keep their jobs will continue to animate his initiatives.
Succeeding with a slogan of “America First” and a platform that a top aide has called “economic nationalism,” Trump is bringing ideas to Washington that may upend decades of policies and approaches premised on a more global outlook. As the first president to make aggressive and seemingly unfiltered use of his Twitter account as a political weapon, Trump has routinely attacked automakers and other manufacturers and accused them of exporting jobs. He has also taken on defense contractors and drug companies, complaining about excessive prices.
Businesses hoping to stay above the political fray may find themselves drawn in anyway because of Trump’s willingness to attack companies seemingly without provocation. No business decision has been too small to grab the president’s attention prior to the inauguration, and companies have started to experiment with the best ways to push back. Rising above the fray requires that senior executives be agile – adapting to the new landscape and getting ready to respond quickly – to protect and defend their company’s interests.
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