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“Breathtakingly horrible”, says Ben Stein in describing Donald Trump’s economic ideas. He also said they were “sheer idiocy”, “nonsensical” and “wacky, wacky as wacky can be” on the CNN newsroom. Stein said he thinks Trump’s ideas on defense and foreign policy are excellent, “but his ideas about the economy are just absolutely bewilderingly foolish.”
Of course we don’t know what Stein would do that would be better.
Economist Ben Stein is a former speechwriter for Nixon and Ford. He’s also an actor and a writer.
“In all of my years as an economist, which is roughly 50 years, I’ve never seen such nonsense as we just heard from Mr. Trump. And it breaks my heart, it makes me want to cry because I’m Republican, I’ve never voted for a Democrat, and to think the guy who’s our likely standard bearer has such nonsensical ideas on every single aspect of the economy is just breathtakingly horrible.”
Trump’s success in business does not translate to understanding economics, Stein said, adding that he is concerned that Trump doesn’t seem to have any real economic advisers.
“You know, I don’t know what goes on in his head. He’s a force of nature. I don’t know what goes on in his head. But it’s frightening that he has no economist advisers. Carl Icahn, a very smart guy on Wall Street who’s made a great deal of money. Steve Wynn who runs best hotels in Las Vegas. But as far as economic advisers, as far as I can tell, he doesn’t have any and he desperately needs some. The things he’s saying are wacky as wacky can be. Just off the charts.”
Stein’s comments stem partly from Donald Trump’s recent interview with The Washington Post and his prior comments about a tariff war.
In an interview with The Washington Post reporters last Thursday, Trump said the country is facing a “massive recession”, he doesn’t need Wall Street, and he will get rid of the $20 trillion debt in 8 years which would mean cutting the budget roughly in half each year though he says he will do it by making great deals.
Trump said we are facing massive bubbles.
“There’s just nothing factual about what he’s saying,” Stein said. “We are not in a bubble. By the way, most of these metrics are measured. The unemployment rate is not 20 percent, something he’s been saying, … [he] might as well say it’s 2 million percent. Might as well count the dead as being unemployed.”
Trump can’t possibly know if there is a recession coming and his ideas won’t fix it, Stein believes.
“There’s no sign we’re heading for a recession, and if we are, he doesn’t know and there’s no way that he’s going to be able to fix it. Cutting taxes is not going to fix it. Renegotiating trade deals with Mexico and China is just a way to start a gigantic recession.”
Donald Trump’s ideas on economics differ distinctly from the Republican platform.
His ideas include massive tariffs on China and Mexico. Trump said a number of times that he would heavily tax imports.
“Let me give you the bad news: Every car, every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax — okay? — and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction,” Trump said in June, playacting a phone call with Ford’s chief executive.
In an off-the-record interview with the New York Times, he talked about a 45% tariff.
A tariff like that would violate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is the law of the land, and the Constitution.
He also supports putting Wall Street pros like Carl Icahn in charge of the economy.
Trump often says that Larry Kudlow loves his plans but Kudlow has said that he supports his tax-cutting plan, not his views on tariffs, and has not endorsed any candidate.