The Country’s Top Economists Weigh in on What the Next President Should Do

Date: September 02, 2016

Infrastructure revamps, lower taxes, less regulations, and a whole lot more—see what economists want to happen with our next president.

When Pres. Barack Obama departs the White House on Jan. 20, 2017, it will usher in an opportunity for an entirely new approach to handling the economy. 

Recently, and in regards to small business, presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has talked about her plans to unlock access to capital, open new markets, and support small business owners and entrepreneurs. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has talked about slashing taxes and regulatory burdens to bolster the economy. 


But do the candidates’ policies reflect those of the nation’s economists? In the most recent Bankrate Economic Indicator quarterly survey, 23 economists answered the question, “What’s one thing that the next U.S. president and Congress could do to help the economy?” Here’s a closer look at some of their answers.

1. Infrastructure spending 

Out of 23 respondents, 10 called for an increase in infrastructure spending. “Infrastructure spending would boost economic growth in the short and longer term and support continued job growth, all at low cost based on low interest rates,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. 

Bernard Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, however, believes there may be an issue to consider. “The one potential problem is that despite a number of unemployed construction workers, there is a shortage of some skilled construction workers. However, if implemented properly, these projects would help attract the necessary workers and provide the means to train and hire in these skill areas.” 

2. Tax reform 

Seven of 23 respondents said the next president and Congress should focus on tax reformations or some kind of fiscal policy. “That enables spending [and] improves expectations,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of the National Retail Federation, adds, “Tax reform is an important ingredient that would help the economy jump its trend growth of 2 percent. We cannot continue to have the consumer serve as Atlas to the economy. Increased business investment is a critical path, and right now there is too much uncertainty.” 

3. Reduce regulatory burdens and lower the deficit and debt. 

Four respondents also talked about regulatory burdens and the deficit and debt. “Given the absolutely crucial role small and midsize businesses play in generating jobs and capital investments in this country, one major goal for Congress should be to reduce the regulatory burden on such firms,” says Bernard Baumohl, an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

“Reducing the U.S. debt and deficit is key, since interest payments are likely to rise as the debt and deficit increase,” says Nayantara Hensel, former chief economist for the U.S. Navy. “Moreover, if interest rates increase in the future, interest payments on debt could also increase; this could be further impacted if demand for Treasuries as a ‘safe haven’ declines.”

*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB.

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