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Ron Insana: If I were Trump, here's what I wouldn't do

  • I wouldn't threaten a trade war when the threat of an actual conflict looms.
  • I'd stop insisting on a border wall that is both unnecessary and ineffective, along with the fiction that Mexico will finance it.
  • I wouldn't accept any tax reduction program that adds $6 trillion to the national debt without any meaningful funding mechanism to keep the reform "revenue neutral."
  • I would not tie hurricane relief and rebuilding funds to the successful raising of the federal debt ceiling.
Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

Call me crazy, but if I were running the country, there are several things I likely wouldn't do if I were attempting to solve several complex issues simultaneously.

With respect to freezing North Korea's nuclear program, with an eye toward de-nuclearizing the peninsula, I would not:

1. Criticize the South Korean government as one that appeases Pyongyang.

2. Threaten a trade war with South Korea, while the threat of actual war looms with North Korea.

3. Threaten to stop all trade with countries that do business with North Korea, including China, and risk a global depression.

With respect to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program:

1. I wouldn't repeatedly claim that Mexico and Canada have cheated the U.S. when three-way trade among NAFTA nations has grown from $300 billion in 1992 to $1 trillion today.

2. I'd stop insisting on a border wall that is both unnecessary and ineffective, along with the fiction that Mexico will finance it.

3. I wouldn't claim that Mexico is the bigger beneficiary of NAFTA when American consumers pay less for their goods but Mexican workers still receive slave wages.

4. I'd also question my own logic about NAFTA's success in Mexico if I also were constantly complaining that Mexicans would still rather sneak into the U.S. than remain south of the border.

5. I wouldn't be restricting any kind of immigration at the moment, legal or illegal, given the shortage of skilled and unskilled laborers in the U.S. and a noticeably slowing birth rate.

6. I wouldn't threaten to send children of undocumented immigrants back to their respective homelands, many of whom are from Mexico and are productive, tax-paying workers with unblemished records.

With respect to tax reform:

1. I'd abandon the idea altogether unless comprehensive tax reform were truly being debated, as opposed to taxpayer-funded rate reductions for corporations and the rich.

2. I wouldn't accept any tax reduction program that adds $6 trillion to the national debt without any meaningful funding mechanism to keep the reform "revenue neutral."

3. I wouldn't grant a "repatriation holiday" unless the collected revenue was separated and earmarked for an infrastructure bank.

4. I would abandon the fiction that corporations pay more than their fair share of taxes when the amount of corporate tax revenue is the smallest percentage of tax collections in modern history. (easily proven)

With respect to Hurricane Harvey (and possibly Irma):

1. I would not tie hurricane relief and rebuilding funds to the successful raising of the federal debt ceiling, especially when Harvey's total cost, currently estimated at $180 billion, could exceed that of Katrina, and especially as the funds are needed immediately.

2. I certainly wouldn't tell those seeking refuge in relief shelters to "have a good time" after they might have lost all they possessed.

3. I wouldn't continuously weaken every environmental safety rule for flood containment and other natural disasters when more storms are expected to hit our shores, possibly within days.

4. I wouldn't steadfastly maintain that climate change is a hoax and refuse to consider that there might be ways to re-create a more stable and hospitable environment.

But that's just me. Call me crazy.