Conservative and liberal economists are saying that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s economic plan for U.S. growth is a “ridiculous” fraud that bears no resemblance to real economic proposals.
TheHill.com spoke to a number of economists and said on Sunday that in spite of their political leanings, the researchers were unanimous in stating that the Trump plan for economic growth is equal parts wishful thinking, pixie dust and the substance the comes out of the back end of a bull.
Trump has criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, saying that under Obama, the GDP is too low and recovery coming along too slowly.
“We’re bringing GDP from, really, 1 percent…and if she got in, it will be less than zero,” he said at Wednesday’s presidential debate. “But we’re bringing it from 1 percent up to 4 percent. And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.”
Trump is counting on robust and lasting economic growth to cover the cost of his policies. Without it, Trump’s plan will add “trillions of dollars to the deficit and likely damage the economy,” said The Hill’s Peter Schroeder.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics told The Hill, “His growth expectations are not realistic. The economy’s potential growth is 2 percent, and to get stronger growth will require immigration reform that provides a path to legalization for the undocumented and a significant increase in skilled legal immigration. He is strongly opposed to this.”
“Even then, [immigration reform] will increase potential growth to closer to 2.5 percent. We may be surprised and get stronger growth, but it wouldn’t be prudent to count on it,” Zandi explained.
Even conservative economists are skeptical of Trump’s economic wish list, which seems to give everyone involved exactly what they want.
“He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, and his policy platform is so incoherent that he has to make claims like that,” said Stan Veuger of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
Zandi said that Trump’s dream policies like slashing taxes on the wealthy and mass deportations of undocumented workers would have a direct destructive effect on the economy, shrinking growth and crippling revenues.
Trump’s chief economic adviser Peter Navarro lashed out at Zandi on Sunday, saying that the award-winning economist is “a Democratic shill for, and major donor, to, Hillary Clinton. He has been unmasked by CNBC and exposed by factchecker.org for conduct unbecoming an objective source. The US grew at 3.5 percent from 1947 to 2001 and we can easily hit that goal or higher by cutting taxes, reducing regulation and eliminating our trade deficit. End of story.”
Forbes magazine has described Navarro as an economic shyster full of nonsensical and even “dangerous” ideas about the economy.
A letter Navarro sent to the Wall Street Journal to complain about its Trump coverage, Forbes said, was truly astonishing: “Rare is it that so few words have been so pregnant with falsehoods and misunderstandings.”
Other economists like Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute scoffed at Trump’s ideas about how to rev up the economy.
Bivens looked over Trump’s proposals and said, “It’s not economically literate.” Anyone who understands how money and economies work, he said, would never produce this.
For example, Trump’s depictions of the growth rate in India and China outstripping that of the U.S., Bivens explained, fail to take note of the fact that the U.S. economy is already advanced.
“They have a lot of reasons why they can hit very fast productivity growth rates,” Bivens said of China and India. “The fact that they’re growing fast is totally a function of the fact that they’re starting at a much lower level.”