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Past & Present: The First 100 Days

The first 100 days of a new U.S. presidential administration provide an important vantage point to assess how effective (or ineffective) the nation’s chief executive will be.

One of the most famous early presidencies was that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During his first 100 days, he championed his “New Deal” initiative, which sought to proactively respond to the Great Depression.

With considerable hoopla, Donald Trump has provided us a preview of what his first 100 days in office will entail. Among the components of his “Make America Great Again” agenda are significant tax cuts and a trillion dollar infrastructure program.

Despite Trump’s bravado in terms of what he’ll be able to do as president, reality suggests that he will be in for a rude awakening. For instance, on March 15, the current debt-ceiling agreement expires. President Trump will need to have the debt ceiling raised to pay for his proposed infrastructure program and tax cuts. Yet, considering how Tea Party-influenced Republican congressmen have vehemently opposed recent debt-ceiling increases, it could get very ugly during related discussions on Capitol Hill.

Needless to say, it is impossible to predict future events with definitive precision. Yet, one can safely surmise that Donald Trump, during his first 100 days, will quickly realize that it is much easier to run for president than it is to actually be president.

Robert E. Weems Jr. is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.