Donald Trump’s Small Business Platform

Trump is running on the message that he wants to bring the U.S. economy back to its pre-COVID levels. Trump has claimed many times that he was able to steward the country to an unprecedented level of prosperity.

“This president has helped small businesses thrive by removing burdensome regulations from the Obama-Biden administration, allowing additional tax deductions, and helping small businesses keep their employees on the payroll throughout the pandemic with the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Courtney Parella, a spokeswoman for Trump’s re-election campaign.

Whereas Biden has proposed a plan for the next four years, Trump has campaigned on the accomplishments of his first term. Though we pushed the Trump campaign for information on the president’s plans for the next four years, we did not receive any response. Based on our research, however, here are some of the points Trump is running on as they pertain to new small businesses:

Aspirations of a surging economy
For most of his time in office, Trump has had a strong economic reality as part of his message to the American people. A poll taken by CNBC and Survey Monkey back in February showed that nearly two-thirds of small business owners “approved of the way President Trump [was] handling the U.S. economy.” The campaign also highlights that, in 2019, new business applications rose to nearly 3.5 million, marking about a 20% increase from three years earlier.

By the spring, the economy had taken a massive backslide, with millions of people making initial jobless claims each week for several weeks. Though times have been tough, Trump emphasizes that he and Senate Republicans pushed the CARES Act, which created the Paycheck Protection Program, provided $350 billion in forgivable SBA loans and issued $10 billion in emergency grants, among other things.

Though there hasn’t been a comprehensive explanation of Trump’s platform moving forward, the campaign has released a list of his economic agenda on the campaign’s website.

Trump’s tax plans
Trump may have run as an outsider in 2016, but his tax policies are very similar to long-established Republican efforts. With the largest tax reform legislation already on his résumé as president, Trump has begun floating some ideas that he may act on if reelected. Though specifics aren’t easy to nail down, the president has shared his interest in a potential payroll tax cut, as well as a cut to the individual tax rate to 15% and a reduction to the capital gains tax.

As for small businesses in general, Parella noted that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established a 20% tax deduction that pass-through entities and other small businesses can take advantage of on up to $326,000 of income. More than 90% of U.S. small businesses can claim that deduction, according to the campaign.

Healthcare under a Trump second term
Republicans in Congress have long held that they want to repeal and replace the ACA, and Trump echoes those sentiments. Though neither side has offered a concrete plan beyond the “repeal” part, the campaign is touting the president’s previous efforts that can affect small businesses.

One issue that many small businesses may be familiar with is the expansion of health reimbursement arrangements and association health plans that give smaller companies the ability to group their coverage. By doing so, they can increase their buying power and earn lower-cost health insurance benefits for their employees.

Other potential pro-small business healthcare moves that the president may consider in a second term are the reduction of prescription drug prices and health insurance premiums, and the elimination of surprise billing.

Key takeaway: Trump has largely been able to draw on the state of the U.S. economy before the pandemic. If reelected, he would likely push for the end of the ACA, add more business tax cuts and try to find a way back to an economic normal.

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