The US President Donald Trump, along with Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, sat down with editors from The Economist to discuss the Trump administration’s economic policy.
Trump says he is for fairer US trade deals, tax reform, a move to merit-based immigration and deregulation. At its core, Trump says of “Trumponomics”: “It really has to do with self-respect as a nation.”
In a wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office, The Economist says Trump left no doubt that his economic agenda was firmly rooted in his America First economic nationalism.
He called for a “massive” renegotiation of NAFTA. But he also showed hints of dealmaking pragmatism, and a willingness to see government deficits soar, as the near-term price of tax cuts.
This deficit-fuelled stimulus, which Trump called “priming the pump”, “is OK, because it won’t increase it for long,” the president said. “What you have to do is you have to put something in before you get something out.”
In its accompanying analysis The Economist gives Trumponomics a poor review. Describing it as “boardroom capitalism”, the cover leader argues that Trump’s agenda is best seen as a set of proposals put together by businessmen courtiers for their king rather than a coherent economic doctrine.
Its goals are internally inconsistent and it neglects the most important challenges facing America’s economy, such as how to retrain hardworking people whose skills are becoming redundant.
Even if it produces a short-lived burst of growth, Trumponomics offers no lasting remedy for America’s economic ills. It may yet pave the way for something worse.
“Trumponomics: What it is and why it is dangerous” is the cover report of the May 13th edition of The Economist.