My top priority is to prevent interest rates from rising too high, strong devaluation of our dollar, or in a worst-case scenario, economic collapse by getting our budget and our debt under control. Simply by paying off our debt, we can reduce our deficit. In 2016, we paid $241 billion just in interest on our national debt.
Some of the best ways to grow an economy is to export goods and services and to import people and their wealth. If we want to export our goods and services, we have to play fair in the global economy. If we try to block out the exports of other countries, it is likely that they will also block our exports. We need trade agreements that are fair to everyone and open up markets to American goods. In 2015, nearly half of our exports went to countries with whom we have free trade agreements, totaling $710 billion, with a $12 billion trade surplus.
Simplifying our immigration process (see my immigration stance) can add a huge boost to the economy. Immigrants start proportionally more businesses than US-born Americans, including 18% of Fortune 500 companies, and employ millions of Americans. They increase the workforce themselves, and add consumers to our economy.
We also need to address the disturbing trends of increasing poverty, crime, and unemployment in rural areas. This trend can be reversed by a combination of the entrepreneurial spirit of rural residents, and by bringing in new professionals and businesses to these areas. Some of the largest emerging industries are renewable energy, health and wellness, and tech industries. With the space available in rural areas, many of them are ideal areas for generating solar or wind power, or for converting trash to energy, as well as for producing clean, organic, sustainable, healthy foods. The low housing costs and costs of living should make them attractive to professionals to move in and set up shop. As the world becomes increasingly connected, working remotely becomes easier and easier, especially in the tech industry. We need to encourage developers, entrepreneurs, and professionals to take advantage of the low cost and barriers to move into these areas to help revitalize the economies in our rural communities and small towns.