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Trump's first 100 days: U-M experts can discuss

EXPERTS ADVISORY

Donald Trump marks his first 100 days as president this Saturday. University of Michigan experts can assess what has happened in the White House regarding various issues.

President has accomplished little despite having GOP majorities in Congress

Richard Hall, professor of political science and public policy, conducts research on American national politics.

"In his first 100 days, President Trump has accomplished things that are easy for a president to do," he said. "It doesn't take skill to sign an executive order, direct cabinet secretaries to review regulations, order more aggressive immigration enforcement, drop bombs in Syria, or announce a one-page proposal to reform the federal tax code.

To push through a legislative agenda, in contrast, a president must be good at bargaining, strategic thinking and persuasion. But on the legislative front, President Trump has accomplished very little—despite having Republican majorities in both chambers. Even Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, ostensibly Trump's greatest accomplishment, was an easy test. Previous presidents have had to marshal 60 votes in the Senate to approve a Supreme Court nominee. Trump secured only 55."

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National arts/humanities funding threatened

Mark Clague is an associate professor of musicology and director of entrepreneurship and career services at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

"What the future holds for federal arts and humanities funding is far from clear," he said. "President Trump seems to have little passion for, or for that matter, little passion against the arts. His proposal to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities has simply adopted longstanding ideas of the Heritage Foundation and other sources.

"As congress people on both sides of the aisle engage with the arts and most of the funding goes to the states for redistribution, there will be a lot of counter proposals and budgetary trades that may well keep the endowments alive, even if their funding level will likely be reduced.

"The creation of the NEA and NEH stretches back to a time when the arts were used as proxies in a cultural Cold War between democracy and communism. Arts in the Soviet Union were critiqued as propaganda, while the United States celebrated its vibrant creative sector as a hallmark of the democratic spirit."

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The latest on the Affordable Care Act

Richard Hirth, professor and chair of health management and policy in the School of Public Health, can discuss the Affordable Care Act and efforts to repeal and replace it. His research is in the areas of economics of health insurance, health care costs and payment system design.

"The Republicans have seen that governing is harder than campaigning," he said. "They failed to lay out a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish and did not do the groundwork necessary to build support from various constituencies. Parts of their plan proved to be deeply unpopular as they would have resulted in higher out-of-pocket costs and reduced or lost coverage for many Americans."

Hirth is leading a teach-out May 12 called "The Future of Obamacare: Repeal, Repair, or Replace?" The free weekend-long learning opportunity on the edX platform will help participants understand the facets of the Affordable Care Act and how different options for its future will impact the U.S. health care landscape.

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Courts hamper Trump's efforts on travel ban, punishing sanctuary cities

Margo Schlanger, professor of law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and served as the officer for civil rights and civil liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She can discuss sanctuary cities and immigration law.

"In his first hundred days, President Trump has tried to implement a discriminatory travel ban, but been stymied by the courts," she said. "The Trump administration has tried to punish cities that want to welcome rather than scare away immigrants, but, again, been stymied by the courts. It's tried to strong-arm Congress into funding an unnecessary boondoggle of a border wall, but been stymied by political opponents.
"So the President has been far less effective than he wants. Still, he's managed to do plenty of harm. He's doubled the arrests of noncriminal undocumented immigrants. He's sowed fear in immigrant and Muslim communities, undermining public safety. And he's betrayed core American values—equality, the rule of law and our pride in being a nation of immigrants. It's quite a record."

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And now that the U.S. Supreme Court has nine justices

Richard Friedman, professor of law, is an expert on U.S. Supreme Court history and evidence.

"The appointment of Justice Gorsuch restores the ideological balance of the Court approximately to where it stood before the death of Justice Scalia," he said. "But the end of the filibuster means that if Justice Kennedy or any of the more liberal justices (most likely Ginsburg or Breyer) leave the Court while Donald Trump is still president and the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, it will be relatively easy for the president to move the ideological balance considerably to the right.

"It would be surprising if Justices Ginsburg or Breyer retired. But the choice of Justice Gorsuch, a capable and highly credentialed jurist, may have been designed to give Justice Kennedy, and perhaps Justice Thomas as well, confidence that retirement would lead to the choice of a respectable successor.

"The personnel change aside, this is a relatively quiet term on the Court. It would not be surprising if next term the Court addresses the constitutionality of two of the president's executive orders or the question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be construed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Coming down the road will be cases involving the status of transgender persons and—if the balance of the Court does shift to the right—an attempt to overrule what is left of Roe v. Wade."

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How have tax policies been affected by the Trump Administration?

Joel Slemrod, professor of business economics and public policy, is director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the Ross School of Business. In 1984-85, he was senior staff economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and was a member of the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Advisers, 1996-2004.

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