If Donald Trump assumes the presidency, his proposed tax plan will create a national debt load that will dwarf his tallest tower, said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust.
"Trump's proposed tax plan would greatly increase the deficit as well as the debt by $9.5 trillion over 10 years," said Tilley. "It's highly unlikely, bordering on impossible, that economic growth would be sufficient to overcome those deficits."
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton's proposals raise revenue and would help long term deficits, Tilley said. Nevertheless, that's before considering the dynamic impact of growth -- or a possible slowdown.
"Hillary's tax proposals would raise about $1 trillion in revenue over 10 years, but that's before taking into account the possible loss of growth," said Tilley.
Tilley added that it is almost needless to say that "either plan faces a very tough road in an evenly divided Senate." As a result, Tilley is maintaining a pessimistic 10-year view of U.S. economic performance because of daunting federal debt projections and the unwillingness of Congress to address it.
Clinton and Trump are both pessimistic on trade deals. In Tilley's view, pulling back from the world and becoming more protectionist is unambiguously negative for the long-term health of the economy.
One possible positive, however, is that both candidates seek an infrastructure rebuilding plan, which is sorely needed.
"Both candidates have voiced large support for major infrastructure plans which would be beneficial in the short term for growth," said Tilley. "However, they need to be paid for to avoid a long-term impact on the debt."
Finally, there is a popular narrative that markets show significant patterns with the election cycle. Election years plus the following two years have had average equity market price returns of 6% to 7%, and the fourth year has had an average of 17% from 1950 to the present.
However, that cycle completely failed to materialize over the past two election cycles.
'No one should rely on this narrative for investing,' said Tilley. 'It's worth noting, but not acting upon.'