On Saturday, The New York Times examined what it might look like if President Donald Trump has to deal with a recession in 2020.
One of the grim takeaways was that Trump would likely be incapable of digging America out of the hole he had created — because he would be unable to overcome political rivalries to do so.
“You could get a widespread fiscal response to a recession,” said Harvard Kennedy School senior fellow Megan Greene. “That would be really nice, but I’d also like a unicorn for my birthday.”
The fundamental problem — even aside from how Trump has bullied the Federal Reserve out of its monetary policy tools and passed a gigantic tax cut for the rich that weakened fiscal policy tools, is that Trump would have to negotiate with House Democrats to get any kind of emergency economic measures passed.
President George W. Bush had to do this in 2008, working hand in hand with a Democratic Congress to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as well as a $152 billion stimulus program. But it is hard to imagine Trump using the same level of interparty diplomacy under pressure.
Making matters worse, it is Trump’s trade policy that is directly worsening the chances of the recession happening in the first place.
“It is potentially a self-inflicted-wound type of recession,” said George Washington University economist Tara Sinclair. “But how deep that gash goes depends on many other characteristics of the economy and the policy response thereafter.”