Can Trump be talked out of his worst idea?

From the pages of In Business magazine.

This was originally going to be a column lamenting the Republican Party’s ability to put forth quality candidates, but Donald Trump defied the odds with his stunning victory. Now, can he be talked out of his worst ideas, starting with the notion of deporting 11.3 million people who fall under the category of undocumented immigrants?

Roughly two-thirds of them are gainfully employed at American companies — companies that depend on their availability and would otherwise face a more acute labor shortage than already exists. As IB noted earlier this year, the American Action Forum, which is no liberal institution, says removing that many people would shrink the workforce by more than 6.4% over the next two decades and shrink the U.S. gross domestic product by an estimated $1.6 trillion. So let’s not send the economy in reverse by sending millions of reliable, taxpaying workers out of the country.

Another reason for the president-elect to backtrack on this one is the sheer cost of the deportation process. It’s not just a matter of rounding people up and sending them home because there is a costly legal process involved. AAF contends that it would take 20 years for the Department of Homeland Security to complete a mass deportation program, with a full cost of between $420 million and $620 million.

Given our deteriorating fiscal situation, with higher deficits and entitlement spending looming and federal revenues flattening out, we’re going to need all hands on deck. While Trump’s tax and regulatory plans should boost growth on one hand, his immigration and perhaps his trade policies could well undermine growth on the other.

My biggest worry is that the president-elect will be so full of hubris that he’ll simply ignore the pleas of wiser heads in the Republican Party. House Speaker Paul Ryan could have filled this role, but he understandably distanced himself from Trump after the Republican nominee was caught on videotape talking about women in a lewd way. Ryan’s revolt caused a psychologically roiled Trump to fire occasional blasts his way, and several sore Trump backers threatened to get even. They might still try.

While Trump and Ryan have since said all the right things about working together, something tells me that Ryan’s influence with the temperamental Trump stands somewhere between slim and none. Perhaps RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who will become Trump’s chief of staff, can save the day.

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