“The Election: Implications for Policy Change?”

That’s the title of an informal panel at the UW La Follette School of Public Affairs on Tuesday. Here are the slides that underpin my presentation.

For now, let the following figure summarize the choices.

Source: “Trump vs Clinton: Polarization & uncertainty,” Research Briefing (Oxford Economics, 19 Sept. 2016) [not online].

The other panelists are Pam Herd, Greg Nemet, Rourke O’Brien, and Tim Smeeding.

34 thoughts on ““The Election: Implications for Policy Change?”

  1. Erik Poole

    FWIW, I expect Clinton to soften some of her promises, example, increase affordability of post-secondary education but not make tuition zero cost to students.

    I have trouble imagining her increasing capital gains taxes but who knows.

    It is interesting to contemplate how the rest of the world would react to a shock wave of US protectionism. With the right leadership, other major trading partners could continue or create freer trade groupings that would exclude the USA. US based operations of many companies will shift resources to economies with access to bigger markets.

    That said, if The Donald is indeed elected president I would expect him to throw out most of his campaign promises.

  2. Steven Kopits

    Nice looking presentation. Don’t believe any of it, though. Not Clinton, not Trump. These are two low credibility candidates in terms of linking announced agendas to actual plans.

    Hillary is likely to be heavily influenced by the policy successes the US saw under the second term of her husband. These involved fiscal restraint, modest tax increases and fiscal balance., thus, borrowing under Clinton is likely to be less than the current trajectory, in my opinion.

    As for Trump, it’s virtually impossible to tell where he might come down. His degree of preparation on these topics seems superficial at best, and thus, actual policy positions–after analysis by staff and lobbying by influential Republicans–may prove vastly different than the rhetoric we’ve heard.

    I would concede, however, that the variance around Trump’s policies is likely to be greater than the variance around Clinton’s. Of the two, Trump is likely the more mercurial.

    The only predictable difference between the candidates, in my opinion, is in the choice of Supreme Court judges.

    1. 2slugbaits

      actual policy positions–after analysis by staff and lobbying by influential Republicans–may prove vastly different than the rhetoric we’ve heard.

      I don’t know why you would say that. I would expect that the people who are advising him today would be the same people who would be advising him if he won. Why would you expect him to replace them? Trump is a high functioning idiot who knows nothing about anything, so it’s not like he is in a position to identify smart folks sitting on the GOP bench….assuming there are any. His whole history has been one of hiring family and sycophants. He’s a little old to turn into someone else. I agree that there would likely be big differences in the Supreme Court picks. I’ve seen Trump’s candidates and they’re awful. Welcome to the Security State.

      As to Clinton, I’m not a big fan, but I don’t have any reason to doubt that she believes most of the stuff she talks about. She clearly knows and believes in something like Obamacare. She clearly believes in a strong NATO, unlike Trump. Her budget plans at least add up and don’t blow up the debt by creating structural deficits. And zero tuition student loans was really a Bernie issue, not a Clinton issue. Clinton has always talked more about making education more affordable. No specifics though. On the issues I’m fine with Hillary. And Clinton is light years ahead of Trump on climate change, which is easily the single biggest long term issue we face. The problem is that Clinton will start planning her reelection at 12:01PM on Jan 20th. And she’ll want a boatload of money for that reelection effort, which means she’ll start cozying up to Goldman Sachs executives. The good news is that if she did too much of that she might face a primary challenge from Sen. Warren, and I’m not at all sure that Clinton would win that fight. So Warren acts as a kind of Damocles’ sword keeping Clinton honest…or at least as honest as a Clinton can be.

      Why oh why didn’t Joe Biden run? Sigh.

      1. PeakTrader

        Speaking of idiots, if Hillary wins, Obama will pardon her. They’ll both have a good laugh.

        The fix is in.

        1. baffling

          peak must have been listening to another hour of the conservative echo chamber again!
          an interesting study would be to measure a listeners blood pressure before and after listening to rush or hannity for an hour. i bet most of those listeners are addicted to their hormonal spikes caused by the on air rants-that’s what keeps them coming back for more.

        2. 2slugbaits

          Peak Trader Apparently you never took a ConLaw class in law school. Let me help you out. Obama would not issue Clinton a pardon for the simple reason that such a pardon would in itself constitute an impeachable offense against Clinton. Why? Because the SCOTUS has ruled that accepting a pardon is also an admission of guilt, which would justify impeachment. If you really believe Clinton is guilty of something (God only knows what…and I don’t believe she is), then the more likely scenario would be a resignation followed by a pardon from (now) President Kaine. All that said, the new NYT revelations about how Trump managed to avoid paying taxes would be a slam dunk impeachable offense. Even Trump’s own lawyers and accountants told him that what he did would not fly with the IRS. And then there’s this very curious business of a spike in internet traffic between Trump’s server and a Russian bank well known for laundering plutocrat money. So maybe it’s Trump who should be thinking about what shade of orange jumpsuit he wants to wear to match his hair.

          1. PeakTrader

            There’s some debate on that. It may go to the 4 to 4 Supreme Court.

            “A president or governor may grant a full (unconditional) pardon or a conditional pardon. The granting of an unconditional pardon fully restores an individual’s civil rights forfeited upon conviction of a crime and restores the person’s innocence as though he or she had never committed a crime. This means that a recipient of a pardon may regain the right to vote and to hold various positions of public trust.”

  3. Steven Kopits

    My daughter in Harvard’s Mikado, Nov. 3 – 6.

    On a purely personal note, my daughter is playing the role of Yum Yum in Harvard’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado.

    For those in the Boston area looking for an inexpensive night on the town, I recommend the performance. My wife, who has seen the show several times (no hovering parent there!), described the production as ‘superb’. Best $15 you’ll spend in Boston this week.

    More here: https://hrgsp.org/happening-now/

    1. 2slugbaits

      Your link on the false promises of Obamacare is very weak on the facts. You really need to do better than link to garbage websites like Forbes and the Telegraph. Here’s an idea. Why not buy a subscription to NBER and check out some actual economic analyses of healthcare policies (located under JEL class “I1”)? Uwe Reinhardt (Princeton) and Amy Finkelstein (MIT) are always good academic sources for healthcare economics. In fact, Finkelstein won the John Bates Clark medal a few years ago. An NBER subscription is a bit pricey, but worth it if you want to understand economic issues. Of course, you could also pay for individual working papers.

      As to the Fortune article, there’s a lot of misrepresentation going on. I’ll just pick on one example. Admittedly, Obama’s “promise” that you’d get to keep your doctor was clumsily worded; but as is often the case, Obama assumed voters are smarter than they really are. It was always obvious to anyone with a three digit IQ that he was really pointing out that Obamacare was not single provider, which was something that the Republicans tried to insinuate with clueless voters. Now obviously the government has no direct control over who your doctor is…either positively or negatively. Your choice of doctor is largely decided by your health insurer and doctor/hospital network. The insurance subscriber gets to pick a general practitioner from a list of approved candidate doctors. If you need more than a GP, then you have even less control. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing because most patients are not doctors and don’t have a clue which doctor is good and which isn’t. But dimwitted voters misunderstood Obama and though he meant that under Obamacare people would be guaranteed the ability to select their own doctor. Anyone who gave it a moment’s thought had to know that this didn’t make any sense, but a lot of voters don’t give a moment’s thought to many issues. Obamacare was silent on how your medical provider was determined. That’s all Obama was saying. Still, I do blame Obama for overestimating the intelligence of the typical voter. He’s made that mistake before and he should have known better.

      1. Bruce Hall

        As a famous, former President once said, “It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” You can keep your doctor… you can keep your insurance … your costs will go down. Spin that.

        Face it. Obamacare was a badly conceived idea, badly structured, badly implemented, and badly supported. Other than that, it’s a great example of how “policy” matters.

          1. Bruce Hall

            Is that like asking an economist if they are a member of the Federal Reserve board because they are analyzing policy? Or maybe a Las Vegas bookie if he plays football when he is analyzing an upcoming game?

            You have to do better than a Clintonesque deflection.

          2. baffling

            no bruce, just want to be clear on what skin you have in the game.

            i do not have obamacare, since i am full time employed and have been so for years. however, i do pay for a family member who now has obamacare. prior to that, we had to purchase that insurance on the open market. the current insurance is much, much better. has it increased in price? of course. but it is still much better than what was available prior, when pre-existing conditions and limits made most of the available market policies a joke.

            i find it rather fascinating how many people, who have actually no involvement in obamacare itself, are so insistent on rating its performance. why do you think it is necessary to stick your nose into somebody elses business. granted, if you actually had obamacare, i would be more interested in your opinion. but you do not. and all you are interested in doing is taking that opportunity away from others who need it. such behavior is simply baffling.

  4. Joseph

    if Hillary wins, Obama will pardon her

    Pardon her for what? Typically you would expect for there to be a crime before there is a pardon.

    1. PeakTrader

      Just because our government hasn’t charged her with crimes doesn’t mean she didn’t commit them. I suspect, Obama will pardon her. He’ll say something like it’ll be for the good of the country.

      “President Ford absolved his predecessor of all crimes he “has committed or may have committed or taken part in” between inauguration day 1969 and resignation day 1974.”

      1. baffling

        and if trump wins, we should immediately begin an investigation into his tax avoidance. although, i would recommend an investigation if he loses as well. i bet you have more evidence of criminality in trump’s situation than hillary.

        and as carl bernstein said, watergate was a much bigger issue than hillary and her email. certainly if a republican crook such as nixon can be pardoned, you should have no problem extending such a simple courtesy to hillary. mostly because of the spiteful behavior republicans have shown in congress.

        1. PeakTrader

          Tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is illegal. Hillary’s crimes are potentially much greater than Nixon’s. The difference in pardons would be Hillary rising to power and Nixon falling from power.

          1. baffling

            “Hillary’s crimes are potentially much greater than Nixon’s. ”
            except the investigation came to the conclusion it was not a crime. your problem is you do not want to accept the conclusion of the investigation. because nothing short of your desired outcome, guilty, is acceptable.

            regarding trump, we have not even had an investigation into whether he committed tax avoidance or evasion. lets have that investigation and let the fbi look into the situation. would you agree? especially if trump is elected.

      2. 2slugbaits

        Just because our government hasn’t charged her with crimes doesn’t mean she didn’t commit them.

        What crimes do you think she committed? Apparently the FBI doesn’t think she committed any crimes. They said she was careless with her private server, but not a criminal. And the latest caper isn’t even about Clinton’s server; it’s about emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, for which there is not even a whiff of evidence that she had anything to do with.

  5. Joseph

    Just because our government hasn’t charged her with crimes doesn’t mean she didn’t commit them.

    By that standard, I suppose we should presume that you are also a criminal. Have you sought a pardon for your crimes?

    Have you been watching Alex Jones because you are sounding like a crazy person? What crimes would the President pardon Clinton for?

    1. PeakTrader

      If I were a criminal that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve been charged of any crimes. FBI Director Comey explained some of Hillary’s crimes months ago. You can be guilty of crimes and not be charged. Where have you been? I know, people like you believe Hillary is an angel.

      1. baffling

        the fbi already stated the situation was such that no reasonable prosecutor would bring criminal charges. in essence, her actions were poor, but not criminal. i just find it fascinating that we have so many rats in the world who continue to promote this conspiracy theory, due to their hatred of the clintons. such behavior is certainly not demonstrated by people who are interested in upholding the rule of law. if that were the case, you would hear from those same rats regarding the illegal waterboarding and torture policies implemented by the previous administration. but we have had dead silence on breaking those laws…

  6. Joseph

    FBI Director Comey explained some of Hillary’s crimes months ago.

    Okay, now I know you are one of the crazies. If you read Comey’s statement he most explicitly declared that Clinton did not commit any crime.

    It must be terrifying to have all the things rattling around inside your brain. So what other crimes are you imagining?

    1. PeakTrader

      Comey stated Hillary was extremely careless handling classified information. That’s gross negligence. She could’ve been prosecuted.

  7. Joseph

    Comey stated Hillary was extremely careless handling classified information. That’s gross negligence. She could’ve been prosecuted.

    Gross negligence is a legal term with a legal definition. Comey is an accomplished, precise lawyer and if he intended to use the term “gross negligence” he would have. He did not because the activity he was describing did not rise to the level of gross negligence. You cannot simply take his language and magically translate it into your own.

    Further, Comey stated there was no element of intent. And more, there was no indication that national security was endangered in any way.

    So that’s one. What are the other “crimes”.

    1. PeakTrader

      Extremely careless of classified information is gross negligence, unless you believe U.S. classified information isn’t important. Comey suggested Hillary shouldn’t be handling classified information. He didn’t say Hillary didn’t commit a crime as you stated. He suggested U.S. adversaries secured the classified information (maybe that explains Obama’s foreign policy disasters).

        1. PeakTrader

          Menzie Chinn, right, a diversion is needed to throw people off track. And, why not keep trying to blame Bush?

      1. 2slugbaits

        … unless you believe U.S. classified information isn’t important.

        Well, a hell of a lot of it isn’t important. I remember sitting in on classified (SECRET) briefings on the daily weather reports from Iraq. Seriously. And I don’t mean forecasts. I mean the current temperature, wind speed, etc. I was always pretty sure that Saddam’s army knew the current weather in Baghdad. You’d be amazed at how trivial a lot of the classified stuff really is. The main reasons stuff gets classified has more to do with budgets and internal bureaucratic politics than actual national security.

  8. Joseph

    He didn’t say Hillary didn’t commit a crime as you stated.

    Actually that is exactly what he said. In fact, he said “It wasn’t even a close call.” You are just making things up. Read the reports.

    He suggested U.S. adversaries secured the classified information.

    Again, he said the FBI found no evidence that there were any unauthorized access of the email. Read the reports.

    As for the type of classified information, do you remember the three classified emails Comey made such a big deal about in his report? The ones marked with a (c) on one paragraph? That means confidential, the lowest classification. They were about scheduling a phone calls to Kofi Annan and the president of Malawi. Turns out the State Department later testified said they were mis-classified.

    Really, you should turn off the Alex Jones. It’s making you stupid. You’ve made one false statement after another here.

  9. 2slugbaits

    Peak Trader Regarding your quote on pardons. You’ve clearly (and I think deliberately) took things out of context and did not include key points. Here is an excerpt from the US Attorney General:

    As these opinions confirm, a presidential pardon removes, either conditionally or unconditionally, the punitive legal consequences that would otherwise flow from conviction for the pardoned offense. A pardon, however, does not erase the conviction as a historical fact or justify the fiction that the pardoned individual did not engage in criminal conduct. A pardon, therefore, does not by its own force expunge judicial or administrative records of the conviction or underlying offense.

    I believe your quote relied upon the SCOTUS Garland decision in 1866. That ruling was reversed many times. In particular, Burdick v US (1915) states quite specifically that a pardon implies guilt. Again, quoting the AG:

    In subsequent cases, the Supreme Court backed even further away from Garland’s expansive dictum. Thus, in Burdick v. United States, 236 U.S. 79 (1915), which addressed whether a would-be pardonee could refuse a pardon, the Court wrote that a pardon “carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it.”


    Also, the Constitution refers to “high crimes and misdemeanors.’ At the time of Watergate the conservative Constitutional scholar Raoul Berger wrote a whole book about that phrase. The history of the word “misdemeanors” in the context of English Common Law applied to more than just petty crimes. It meant a general unfitness for office. If someone accepts a pardon, then that someone is admitting guilt of a serious crime. And that admission would constitute unfitness as understood by the “misdemeanors” wording.

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