CNN Economic Analyst: Donald Trump's Trade Proposals Are “Either A Bad Idea Or Impossible”

Rana Foroohar: “Hillary Clinton Has A Much More Realistic Plan”

From the May 6 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): Let's start with the Trump economic plan and see what he is proposing. Here are some of the tenets of it. Eliminate national debt in eight years. That would be nice. Impose tariffs on countries not trading, quote, “fairly” with the U.S. End trade deals like NAFTA, and he's open to raising the minimum wage. What jumps out at you? 

RANA FOROOHAR: Well, the trade is the most interesting part of this. A lot of what he's proposing is either a bad idea or impossible. Tariffs, slapping tariffs penalizes everybody, it makes stuff more expensive, it tends to create trade wars. 

CAMEROTA: But he says it's not a fair, level playing field. 

FOROOHAR: It's true it's not a level playing field. Tariffs are not the way to fix that, though. You've basically you have to bring countries like China a lot of the emerging markets into the World Trade Organization and really make them play by the those same rules. Now, there's a lot of ways to do that, but tariffs are not the way. What I do think Donald Trump is hitting on though is this sense on Main Street that the rules of the game for trade really haven't benefited a lot of people. And that's an important point. 

CAMEROTA: Okay, let's look what Hillary Clinton proposed on her economic plan. She says that she is willing to raise the minimum wage to $12, or maybe even above to $15. Tighten the tax code, close tax loopholes. Make tax incentives to encourage training, corporate profit sharing, and appoint more Wall Street regulators and prosecute firms that play outside of the lines. What do you see here? 

FOROOHAR: So Hillary Clinton is right to be focusing on the tax code, that's where a lot of action is in terms of creating the right incentives for the financial system, for wages, for companies to do the right thing and take long-term positions. I think she's going to probably get criticism from Trump around Wall Street still. She is somebody that wants to work within the existing Dodd-Frank framework, strengthen it. But she's taken a lot of flak for her relationships with Wall Street donors. I think that Trump is actually going to try and run to the left of her economically in some ways --

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

FOROOHAR: It's a sort of a bizarro thing. You can hardly imagine it. But his position around trade, being very anti-free trade, really talking up up how bad of a deal NAFTA was which was negotiated in the '90s by her husband. That's something that's going to put him really to the left of her.

CAMEROTA: So then how do both of these play on Wall Street where they'll be looking for donors? 

​FOROOHAR: Well I think that --​​ first of all, Trump is certainly a creature of Wall Street. He may say he's not but ​he's done some of the most highly leveraged commercial real estate deals ever. I don't believe that. But he will be talking in a populist way about Clinton's relationships with donors. He'll say, “I'm not taking money.” He will make people feel like, can we trust what Hillary Clinton is saying? That'll be his strategy. Hillary will say “look, we can't just worry about breaking up the big banks, we've got to look at financial system as a whole,” She'll try and put out a more nuanced message about reform. Whether or not that resonates with the voters though, as viscerally as that sort of Trump trade message does is a big question. 

​​CAMEROTA: Is there any way to tell which one of these is better for the economy?

FOROOHAR: I think Hillary Clinton's is definitely more realistic, it's something that can be done. The tax code is where the action is, in terms of tweaking it, making it favor savers and equity more than debt, closing loopholes that allow companies like Apple to offshore a lot of money and issue debt here to pay back shareholders. That's something we can do, hopefully she'll have a Congress that'll work with her if she's president. 


CAMEROTA: People say that their top concern this election is the economy and jobs. And Donald Trump has made it his overarching theme that he will bring back jobs to this country. Have you heard specifics in terms of how that would happen? 

FOROOHAR: No, not at all. And that's what I think is interesting about the way he's become so popular with a lot of working people and middle class people even, in this country. He's giving the right rhetoric. He's touching something in people's felt experience which is that globalization, the current system of capitalism, isn't maybe working for them as well as it might. But his plans are not going to get us the jobs. He's not going to renegotiate trade deals with China and bring back jobs en masse to the U.S. 

CAMEROTA: Why not?

FOROOHAR: There are ways -- because the Chinese have got their own agenda. Frankly it's a very difficult political time for them right now. There is no way Xi Jinping is going to roll over and let Donald Trump say what the next trade deal is going to look like. He's dealing with social unrest in his own country; it's just not politically going to happen. So he is touching something in the felt experience that is important but I think Hillary Clinton has a much more realistic plan for how to go about fixing some of these things.


Washington Post’s Waldman Explains How Donald Trump And Conservatives Spread Misinformation About The US Economy

Media Trash Trump's “Impossible” Proposal To Erase The National Debt In Eight Years

Watch A Conservative Economist Tear Apart Trump's Economic Messaging

CNN Economic Analyst Explains How Republican Tax Plans Won't “Actually Cut The Deficit”