Barron's Editor Debunks Fox Business' Pro-Trump Spin On The Jobs Report
Jack Otter: It's "Unrealistic" That Trump's Tax Cuts Will Boost Economy To Mythical Reagan-Era Levels
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From the May 5 edition of Fox Business' Mornings with Maria Bartiromo:
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ROBERT WOLF: Steve, let me ask you something. You know if you look at the GDP numbers, you look at the recent Fed statements, it's more or less steady as you go. You look at these numbers, let's just say we average this year [175,000 jobs per month], even though in '15 we were averaging [275,000 jobs per month], so I don't think we get back there. Right now, we have -- the Republican economists start talking about 4-plus percent GDP, most people do not find that realistic, and so how do you square that circle of going from you know 1 percent, or 2 percent GDP, which is where most people think around 2 percent, to this 4 percent number, based on these numbers, which just kinda steady as they go.
STEVE COSTES: Right, no, listen it's a great question and they have been steady as you go for now, but I think we are about to see a massive paradigm shift once we get tax reform. And what I mean most by that is once we see capital investment, which is something we just haven't seen, capex spending by companies. All they've done in this century frankly, basically since the year 2000 is financially engineer, buy back their own shares, pay out dividends, it's been wonderful, by the way, for the 1 percent, if you are an owner of assets, it's been a terrific decade. For working Americans, it's been an absolute slog. Trump was elected largely to change that and once we change the tax code and incentivize companies to invest in people, in plants, in technology, we're going to see the kind of productivity gains that we haven't seen in this century yet, that we used to have in the '80s, and '90s and that is how we get 3, 4, I think even 5 percent growth, I really think that the American economy -- tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby -- I think the American economy is a horse that has been weighted down, its a thoroughbred that wants to run. Once we take off the Washington weight, that horse is going to absolutely take off.
MARIA BARTIROMO (HOST): Alright, take off. Alright, I like that analogy. Jack Otter, your thoughts?
JACK OTTER: Yeah, so a couple of things here: one, I think that 4.4 percent unemployment rate sheds a lot of light on that discussion between Robert and Steve just then. Look, economists say that full employment is 5 percent; we are below theoretical full employment. I don't see how you get 400,000 people joining the workforce unless that participation rate ticks up dramatically. And, yes, at 4.4 percent you expect wages to go up, right? Because there is so much demand for worker. But frankly, I think it's unrealistic. I talked to a lot of money managers, I haven't found one who is building into his model 4 percent, 5 percent economic growth. Everyone is thinking 2 percent. It's not a political thing, it's just we're a mature economy with an aging demographic.
COSTES: I understand that and I hear that a lot. But by the way, we were a very mature in the 1980s, and we were able to go at 7 percent under Ronald Reagan.
OTTER: Huge difference, Steve. Here are the two big differences: one, woman pouring into the workforce, and also Baby Boomers were at their most productive level. You have this huge bump in people in their 30s, and 40s, at their most productive level in the workforce. You don't have that right now.