Watch Two Economists Deconstruct Trump's Economic Policy Vision

Trump's Economic And Jobs Goals Are “Not Feasible” After You “Add In The Negatives” Of His Other Policies

From the September 15 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:

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JAKE TAPPER (HOST): The reason that you bring up the immigration and trade is because Mr. Trump has promised 25 million jobs over the next ten years and you think that kind of job growth is not feasible, Mark, with these other components, including immigration. 

MARK ZANDI: No, it's not feasible. The reason is -- the only way you would get there is if you significantly increased immigration. In fact, you would have to more than double current legal immigration into the country to have enough people here to actually create that many jobs. The simple reason is that the Baby Boom generation -- that's the big Baby Boom generation that people in their 50s and early 60s -- they're retiring, and they're going to retire en masse over the next ten years. And so the labor force -- if we don't change immigration law, if we don’t allow more immigrants in the country, the growth in the labor force -- and the labor force is the people who are willing and able to work -- is going to grow very, very slowly so that it's mathematically impossible to create that many jobs. 

TAPPER: Interesting. And Doug, let me ask you, Mr. Trump first promised that the U.S. economy would grow at a 3.5 percent rate. Then he said it’s his goal to get the U.S. economy to grow at a 4 percent rate, possibly even more. Are those figures possible or are they likely? 

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN: They're not likely. Mark’s on to the right arithmetic. GDP output, the economy, however you want to label it, grows because we have workers and you can have growth in the number of workers -- that’s going to be slow -- or output per worker productivity. So he needs a productivity boom of unprecedented proportions to get to those kinds of numbers. And the places he’s pointing to -- energy, I don't think so. I am a big critic of the Obama administration's regulatory burden, but getting rid of that isn't going to deliver a percentage point of growth. So it's hard to make this all add up, especially when you add in the negatives. The immigration is a negative and trade is a negative. So, he's going to try to make it all add up and grow more rapidly -- I give him points for that -- but the numbers aren't there. 

TAPPER: Mr. Trump said today the Fed -- the Federal Reserve -- is quote, “totally being controlled politically.” The Fed, obviously, is an independent agency. James Pethokoukis, who writes about the economy for the American Enterprise Institute, responded to that accusation on Twitter. He wrote, quote, “So Trump is deliberately smearing US Central banks so people will think an economy where jobs/incomes are growing is artificial and will crash.” Mark, is that what Trump's doing, or is there any evidence that he is right? 

ZANDI: No, there is no evidence that he is right. I don't think it's productive to argue that the Federal Reserve is conducting monetary policy, setting interest rates, for political reasons. There is absolutely no evidence of that and it does no one any good. I just think that's patently false and wrong. And again, it's not helpful. I don't think that's the thing that would lead to investors that are confident about the U.S. economy, invest in the U.S. economy and drive this economy forward. So, no that’s just wrong. 

TAPPER: What do you think, Doug?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Jake, I think Mark’s being too nice. It's counter productive and something that no presidential candidate should do. And if you think about it, what he is saying is the Fed, they do what the administration wants them to do. If elected, he would be appointing Fed officials. Is that what he wants people to think about his Fed officials? It's a very bad place for him to go. 


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