Editor's note: This story was originally published in October. As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will appear in a town hall in New York tonight, it's worth taking another look at what the U.S. economy may look like under a President Trump. Also, check out our Donald Trump Stock Portfolio, which we'll be tracking until November 8. The sections below on immigration, taxes and trade have been updated.
The economy isn't something Trump looks forward to tackling. In a January interview with "Good Morning America," Trump offered up a bleak assessment of the U.S. economy but added that, in terms of fixing it, it's a task he'd rather skip.
"We're in a bubble," he said. "And, frankly, if there's going to be a bubble popping, I hope they pop before I become president because I don't want to inherit all this stuff. I'd rather it be the day before rather than the day after, I will tell you that."
In an April interview with the Washington Post, Trump reiterated his doomsday view of the economy, suggesting we might be headed for recession. But this time around, he appeared more open to the idea of his being in charge of finding remedies. "I can fix it. I can fix it pretty quickly," he said. And most recently, he maligned the Federal Reserve for creating what he says is a "false economy."
Many Americans appear to believe that is the case and that, more broadly, a Trump presidency would be good for the economy. According to a March CNBC All-America Survey, Americans rate Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton evenly on key economic issues. And a recent CNN/ORC poll shows Trump rating higher than Clinton on the economy among voters.
Trump has certainly been this election cycle's most riveting figure. He initially focused his attention on immigration reform, calling for a wall to be built between Mexico and the United States and demanding the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has wavered on that last point as of late.
He has since rolled out other policies and positions: a major tax code overhaul; repeal and replace Obamacare; renegotiate or "break" NAFTA; stop hedge funds from "getting away with murder" on taxes; reforming the Veteran's Administration; and impose import tariffs as high as 35%. All while keeping the deficit in check, growing the economy and leaving entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security untouched. Immigration remains a major pillar of his campaign, and he has moved on to the question of Muslim immigration as well. He has laid out a plan to make Mexico pay for the wall, too.
Trump has made plenty of enemies along the way as well, including but limited to fellow GOP contenders Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly, the media in general and even the Pope.
Those who fear Trump's plans should find common cause with those who love them: "I'm not sure how much of what he actually says today will be his positions a year from now," said Michael Busler, professor of finance at Stockton University.
Trump's own campaign has suggested he is playing "a part" to garner votes.
While Trump certainly has some grandiose ideas -- and equally lofty rhetoric to accompany them -- deciphering the exact nature of his economic policies is a complex task, according to John Hudak, a fellow in governance studies at Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Brookings Institution.
Not to mention the fact that if he does make it to the Oval Office, Trump won't have a free pass from Congress, even if it remains under the control of the Republican Party (as you'll see, many of his positions don't exactly hew closely to GOP policies).
Taking legislative hurdles out of the equation, what will the U.S. economy and markets look like if Trump becomes No. 45.
Trump's Expensive Immigration Plan
Trump's immigration plans cost him a handful of business deals, but they might cost the United States much more.
The American Action Forum, a right-leaning policy institute based in Washington D.C., estimates that immediately and fully enforcing current immigration law, as Trump has suggested, would cost the federal government from $400 billion to $600 billion. It would shrink the labor force by 11 million workers, reduce the real GDP by $1.6 trillion and take 20 years to complete (Trump has said he could do it in 18 months).
"It will harm the U.S. economy," said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Immigration is an enormous source of economic vitality."
The impact would be felt on both supply and demand.
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