Trump's Cabinet Choices: So Far, So Good
Mitchell Stern, Fiscal Policy Contributor
Since being elected, Trump has been busy meeting with politicians, generals, businessmen and Kanye West seeking to create his cabinet. For much of his campaign, fiscal conservatives and libertarians were concerned by a number of the positions Trump had taken on the economy. Many brought up his past support for single-payer healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, support for tariffs, massive infrastructure spending, higher minimum wage, and mandatory paid maternity leave. However, so far, Trump’s choices for his cabinet pertaining to economic policy largely gives reason to be more optimistic about his choices.
One example of Trump’s good picks is Andy Puzder. The CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. has been selected for Secretary of Labor. Puzder, as a businessman, is well aware of the harmful effects of over-regulation on businesses. He has been a staunch critic of raising the minimum wage - a break from a position Trump took on the campaign trail but a welcome one for advocates of the free market. Puzder’s understanding of the impact labor over-regulation has on businesses makes him a terrific choice for this department.
Another example is his choice of Betsy DeVos for the Department of Education. DeVos sparked outrage from teachers’ unions and other entrenched interests. She was labeled as the most anti-public school nominee for this department. This misrepresentation is the result of her staunch advocacy for expanding school choice - both in the form of vouchers and charter schools. Despite the fact that school choice benefits parents and children, especially for minorities, unions and progressive activists are appalled by school choice initiatives and regard them as attacks on public education. DeVos meanwhile understands empowering parents to send children to the best schools available is the way to go.
Trump’s choice for director of the Office of Management and Budget is another terrific pick from a fiscal conservative perspective. Congressman Mick Mulvaney is a staunch foe of debt growth. He is unafraid to stand up for reigning in government spending, even if it means taking on sacred cows such as Pentagon spending. Mulvaney should be reassuring to those who feared Trump would be fiscally irresponsible.
Another good pick by Trump is his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. While recognizing the need to protect the environment, Pruitt has a record of standing against EPA overreach. Considering the tendency of the EPA to overreach and its general lack of accountability, having a man in the position who understands this overreach is a problem is a welcome change.
Overall, Trump’s choices indicate a desire to pursue a fiscally conservative agenda. While having fiscal conservatives in his cabinet in no way guarantees fiscal responsibility will take hold, it is a promising sign. There are certainly plenty of reasons to be optimistic about these choices from a fiscal conservative standpoint.