Evaluating Trump’s first ‘Hundred Day’ economic plan
Religion & Liberty Online

Evaluating Trump’s first ‘Hundred Day’ economic plan

In a radio address on July 24, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, a session that produced a record-breaking volume of new laws.

Despite the fact that the 100 days referred to a legislative session and not the beginning of a presidency, the term has become a metric for what a new president can accomplish and how effective they will be during their term. For this reason, president-elects often lay out a proposal for what they hope to accomplish during the early days after the Inauguration.

During a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania last October, Donald Trump laid out his own plan for what he’d do in his first days.

Below is a summary of all the actions related to economics that Trump promised to tackle in his Hundred Days and an evaluation of what he actually accomplished:


The following are actions Trump said he would take either through the executive orders or through the other powers of his office:

Promise: Issue a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

Evaluation: Promise kept. Ten days after taking office the president signed an executive order titled, “Reducing Regulation And Controlling Regulatory Costs.” One of the provisions of the order is that whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it must identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.


Promise: Announce his intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

Evaluation: Promise deferred. According to Trump, he was all set to announce his intent to renegotiate NAFTA—and then had his mind changed by phone calls with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.


Promise: Announce that the United States will be withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Evaluation: Promise kept. Trump withdrew from the trade agreement three days after taking office.


Promise: Direct his Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

Evaluation: Promise broken. “They’re not currency manipulators,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in April.


Promise: Direct his Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that “unfairly impact American workers” and direct them to use “every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.”

Evaluation: Promise kept. In April Trump signed an executive order calling for the completion of a large-scale report to identify “every form of trade abuse and every non-reciprocal practice that now contributes to the U.S. trade deficit.”


Promise: Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

Evaluation: In process. Trump signed an executive order to that will begin rolling back some of the energy restriction put in place by President Obama.


Promise: Remove any obstacles to “vital energy infrastructure projects” (e.g., the Keystone Pipeline) so that the projects can move forward.

Evaluation: Promise kept. Four days after taking office Trump signed a memo clearing the way for construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Promise: Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

Evaluation: Pending. Trump included this in his proposed budget, but it’s unclear whether Congress will cancel the payments.


The following are proposals for economic-related legislation that President Trump said he would send to Congress:

Promise: Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act — An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.

Evaluation: Partial credit. In an attempt to get something out before the Hundred Day deadline, the Trump administration released a one-page outline on tax reform. No detailed plan yet exists, though, and nothing has been sent to Congress.


Promise: End The Offshoring Act — Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.

Evaluation: Promise broken. No legislation has been proposed by the Trump administration.


Promise: American Energy & Infrastructure Act — Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.

Evaluation: Promise broken. No legislation has been proposed by the Trump administration.


Promise: School Choice And Education Opportunity Act — Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.

Evaluation: Promise broken. No legislation has been proposed by the Trump administration.


Promise: Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act — Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.

Evaluation: Promise deferred. Neither the Trump administration nor Republicans in Congress have a way to fully repeal Obamacare, and the current plan to make changes has been rejected by both Democrats and conservative Republicans.


Promise: Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act — Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.

Evaluation: Promise broken. No legislation has been proposed by the Trump administration.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).