By Chip Rogers, AAHOA President & CEO
On Nov. 8, American voters witnessed the biggest political upset in recent memory. The heir apparent to President Obama, Democratic candidate, and former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conceded victory to a brashly outspoken Republican nominee with no military or political experience. Donald J. Trump, president-elect of the United States, will take up residence in the White House on January 20, 2017.
It was a long and difficult fight for the 70-year-old billionaire, whose campaign was plagued from the start by allegations of wrongdoing ranging from sexism to tax evasion. Then, in the days and weeks preceding Election Day, media reports were filled with dire warnings of the disaster that would inevitably follow a Trump victory. Crashed markets, demolished foreign relations, and mass deportation of minority religious and ethnic groups were touted not only as likely, but virtually guaranteed consequences should Americans see fit to place him in the Oval Office.
Reality is much less dramatic.
Mr. Trump has not – it is true – articulated his proposed policies as clearly as have past presidential candidates. But his campaign rhetoric, liberally sprinkled though it was with often-unflattering commentary on certain groups and individuals, did focus almost entirely on his own identified causes of America’s social and economic woes – illegal workers, entrenched bureaucracy, a broken healthcare system and lopsided trade agreements – and the (admittedly drastic) measures he planned to take to address them.
He did not shy away from naming names or pointing fingers toward those at fault; he was anything but predictable; he made pollsters and pundits uncomfortable. And the media’s alarmist portrayal of Trump as a loose cannon is the result – a product of the establishment’s inability to control or influence him.
But he struck a chord with tens of millions of voters weary of the status quo and, among them, many of the 28 million American business owners worn financially to a nub by the Obama Administration’s endless rulemaking and regulating.
Mr. Trump’s business-tax plan calls for a 20-point drop (from 35 percent to 15 percent) and elimination of the corporate alternative minimum tax, both of which would be welcomed relief for businesses both small and large. He also supports the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval of all proposed executive rules with a minimum yearly economic impact of $100 million, and has vowed to repeal Obamacare.
Mr. Trump is not a politician and never claimed to be. Nor is he an especially gifted public speaker. He is a businessman whose assessment of America’s woes rang true among a majority of voters in most states, and whose proposed solutions resonated deeply with an increasingly disenfranchised populace. For all his personal shortcomings and political missteps, Mr. Trump spoke the language of truly monumental change that voters – and especially business owners – needed to hear.
In the coming months, I hope every AAHOA member will join me in supporting Mr. Trump’s efforts to cut red tape, reinvigorate our economy and make the federal government more business-friendly. Let’s do our part, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, to make America great again.