Economists against Trump

I wouldn’t sign a group letter in a fit.  So what accounts for the 370 mainly academic US economists, including 8 Nobel Laureates, putting their name to an initiative called Economists against Trump, with its own app?

The amazing thing about the letter is how anti-intellectual, imprecise and misleading are the points made.  Anyone with half a brain would balk at the language and query the generalisations.

Seriously?  Do they really think that Bureau of Labor Statistics always gets in right?  (Our ABS makes serious blunders from time to time.)  And NAFTA is a very old-fashioned agreement that has outlived its usefulness.

And when it comes to the economics of immigration, most of these economists simply want to disregard the distributional impacts – the negative consequences for low skilled local workers.

And asserting magical thinking on the part of Trump?  These numpties look as though they live on another planet.

The most disappointing aspect for me, however, is the inclusion of some of the names of the signatories, including Deaton and Alessini, whose work I admire.  I guess the reality is that the vast majority of the US academics are liberal and strong supporters of the Democrats.

Here are the points that were made in early November just before the election.

We, the undersigned economists, represent a broad variety of areas of expertise and are united in our opposition to Donald Trump. We recommend that voters choose a different candidate on the following grounds:

 He degrades trust in vital public institutions that collect and disseminate information about the economy, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by spreading disinformation about the integrity of their work.

 He has misled voters in states like Ohio and Michigan by asserting that the renegotiation of NAFTA or the imposition of tariffs on China would substantially increase employment in manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing’s share of employment has been declining since the 1970s and is mostly related to automation, not trade.

 He claims to champion former manufacturing workers, but has no plan to assist their transition to well-compensated service sector positions. Instead, he has diverted the policy discussion to options that ignore both the reality of technological progress and the benefits of international trade.

 He has misled the public by asserting that U.S. manufacturing has declined. The location and product composition of manufacturing has changed, but the level of output has more than doubled in the U.S. since the 1980s.

 He has falsely suggested that trade is zero-sum and that the “toughness” of negotiators primarily drives trade deficits.

 He has misled the public with false statements about trade agreements eroding national income and wealth. Although the gains have not been equally distributed—and this is an important discussion in itself—both mean income and mean wealth have risen substantially in the U.S. since the 1980s.

 He has lowered the seriousness of the national dialogue by suggesting that the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education would significantly reduce the fiscal deficit. A credible solution will require an increase in tax revenue and/or a reduction in spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Defense.

 He claims he will eliminate the fiscal deficit, but has proposed a plan that would decrease tax revenue by $2.6 to $5.9 trillion over the next decade according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

 He claims that he will reduce the trade deficit, but has proposed a reduction in public saving that is likely to increase it.

 He uses immigration as a red herring to mislead voters about issues of economic importance, such as the stagnation of wages for households with low levels of education. Several forces are responsible for this, but immigration appears to play only a modest role. Focusing the dialogue on this channel, rather than more substantive channels, such as automation, diverts the public debate to unproductive policy options.

 He has misled the electorate by asserting that the U.S. is one of the most heavily taxed countries. While the U.S. has a high top statutory corporate tax rate, the average effective rate is much lower, and taxes on income and consumption are relatively low. Overall, the U.S. has one of the lowest ratios of tax revenue to GDP in the OECD.

 His statements reveal a deep ignorance of economics and an inability to listen to credible experts. He repeats fake and misleading economic statistics, and pushes fallacies about the VAT and trade competitiveness.

 He promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options.  (Magical thinking, are they joking?)

Donald Trump is a dangerous, destructive choice for the country. He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality. If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you do not vote for Donald Trump. 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Economists against Trump

  1. Big_Nambas

    Well they got lots of support. Looks like they have little or no influence. If Trump doesn’t get shot they will have a lot of egg on their faces in 3 or 4 years.

  2. Dr Faustus

    If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you do not vote for Donald Trump.

    The American voter correctly analysed this sage advice and voted accordingly.
    Another example of the Haldane Effect.

  3. A Lurker

    The most disappointing aspect for me, however, is the inclusion of some of the names of the signatories, including Deaton and Alessini, whose work I admire. I guess the reality is that the vast majority of the US academics are liberal and strong supporters of the Democrats.

    Elites and collectivists.
    The prolonged dummy spit continues.

  4. Tim Neilson

    He has lowered the seriousness of the national dialogue by suggesting that the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education would significantly reduce the fiscal deficit.
    Well, eliminating the EPA would certainly reduce the deficit enormously by freeing up the economy, thus increasing tax revenues and decreasing the need for welfare spending.
    And eliminating the Federal Department of Education certainly couldn’t do any harm since they have never done one constructive thing in their whole existence.

  5. Blair

    “He has misled the public with false statements about trade agreements eroding national income and wealth. Although the gains have not been equally distributed—and this is an important discussion in itself—both mean income and mean wealth have risen substantially in the U.S. since the 1980s.”
    I guess more than an important discussion was required for a voter who’d lost his job or had his income reduced. He just voted for Trump.

  6. egg_

    Society of Concerned Economists?

  7. jupes

    The clowns must labour under the delusion that people take their opinion seriously.

    LOL. What idiots.

  8. Marcus

    How many of them were out there advocating for Mitt Romney when they had the chance?

    That’s the best response, I think, to any of this wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump. “Not happy with President Trump? Should’ve voted Romney.”

  9. miltonf

    A university campus is another planet.

  10. thefrolickingmole

    Shades of this beclownment.
    http://www.res.org.uk/view/article4Oct12Feature.html

    Faculty of Economics and Politics,
    Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge
    28 March 1981

    The following statement on economic policy has been signed by 364 university economists in Britain, whose names are given on the attached list:

    ‘We, who are all present or retired members of the economics staffs of British universities, are convinced that:

    a) there is no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence for the government’s belief that by deflating demand they will bring inflation permanently under control and thereby induce an automatic recovery in output and employment;

    b) present policies will deepen the depression, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability;

    c) there are alternative policies; and

    d) the time has come to reject monetarist policies and consider urgently which alternative offers the best hope of sustained economic recovery.’

    In that article is the seed of the reason he wrote the statement, Getting pantsed by Uncle Milt.

    At this time I was invited by the BBC to debate monetarism with him live on television. I was forewarned by my next-door neighbour Elaine Sofer (a sociologist, aughter of Benjamin Graham, the father of modern equity investment theory) that Friedman was a dangerous opponent in debate. She, when helping as a student to organise debates at Chicago University, had found that he was a most brilliant and enthusiastic debater. He did not mind being asked at short notice to take part in a debate, and typically would consent before asking what the subject was. If told that it was, say, capital punishment, he would say ‘Great, which side?’ and perform brilliantly whichever side he was on. Although forewarned, I found the way he avoided saying what caused the historical association between money and prices by means of prevarication and mockery so maddening that I lost my temper with him on the live programme. The shame I felt at making a public exhibition of myself imprinted the episode in my memory.

  11. miltonf

    They sure don’t like people who have succeeded in the real world.

  12. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Their voices ring out loud with tired old certainties.
    That is always a problem. Sheer ideology.
    They should be ashamed of themselves.
    I think they are the ones who promote ‘wilful delusion over engagement with reality’.

  13. Dr Fred Lenin

    Economists ,a bit like newspaper racing tipsters , but not as honest ,the racing tipsters have an annual comtest,the winner is the tipster who LOSES the least money on a hypothetical $1 per tip basis .I remember one guy winning it he only lost $609 for the year . Politicians take notice of economists ,serious punters ignore newspaper tipsters .

  14. Sydney Boy

    Trump is dangerous and scary because the US economy has done so well under the steerage of Barack Hussein … (/Sarc).

  15. Cradock's Choice

    Wow.

    370 US ‘academics’ going waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! simultaneously.

    priceless.

    Somebody call the Waahbulance.

  16. Roger

    And when it comes to the economics of immigration, most of these economists simply want to disregard the distributional impacts – the negative consequences for low skilled local workers.

    Not to mention the negative consequences for state budgets (most of the costs associated with high immigration in the US fall on the states, not the federal gov’t). But I don’t suppose tenured academics, even professors in economics, need bother themselves with such mundane matters.

  17. Joe

    Not to mention the negative consequences for state budgets (most of the costs associated with high immigration in the US fall on the states, not the federal gov’t). But I don’t suppose tenured academics, even professors in economics, need bother themselves with such mundane matters.

    They will when the states sack them in an attempt to rehabilitate their budgets under strain from the very policies the academics advocated.

  18. DB

    A good example of an argument from authority fallacy.
    Most academics have no idea how the real world operates and economics academics are probably the worst, with an appalling track record in forecasting and only a moderate track record in hindcasting.

  19. miltonf

    Did the US university sector undergo a post WWII expansion similar to the one in Australia and Britain?

  20. miltonf

    I believe it was Gramsci who spoke of the ‘long march through the institutions’ principally arts, media and educashun. I guess this sort of thing is the result.

  21. Leo G

     He uses immigration as a red herring to mislead voters about issues of economic importance, such as the stagnation of wages for households with low levels of education. Several forces are responsible for this, but immigration appears to play only a modest role. Focusing the dialogue on this channel, rather than more substantive channels, such as automation, diverts the public debate to unproductive policy options.

    Economists against Trump agree that the stagnation of of wages for households with low levels of education is an issue of economic importance, and that immigration appears to play a modest role. However, they argue that it is a waste of time for authorities to consider such households when automation and immigration (read globalization and internationalism) must not be constrained by concerns to mitigate adverse consequences.
    The Dismal Scientists previously claimed we were trapped in a world of population growth straining natural resources and bringing widespread misery. Now they say we must trap ourselves in a world that trades off wage labour for GDP growth and brings widespread misery.
    I suppose I should expect dismalists to have a penchant for widespread misery.

  22. wretch

    Whatever happened to our very own Wentworth Group of Comcerned Scientists? I miss their self important numptiness.

  23. Roger

    I believe it was Gramsci who spoke of the ‘long march through the institutions’…

    That was Rudi Dutschke, based on his reading of Gramsci.

    One of the “generation of ’68”, he later joined the Greens (hello!) before dying prematurely due to injuries sustained in a previous assassination attempt.

    When you think about it, the “long march” is probably the most successful political idea of the 20th C..

    Unfortunately.

  24. Poor Trump. He just doesn’t get the whole point of war, debt and murdering for the petrodollar. Donald, once you have the right theocracies and kleptocracies with the right pipelines, and once you take euros, roubles and gold dinars off the board, you just leave it to the Market! (Of course, you don’t charge the UN at Manhattan rental rates because that might limit its ability to preach for the Market.)

    Fortunately we have our Herd of Independent Minds to bleat, whine and go moo, all in perfect unison, at the slightest threat to the globalist collective. That’s what tertiary education is for.

  25. Robbo

    Another big question is when will Fairfax stop their stupid sulking and admit that Trump won, will be sworn in on Jan 20 and the world will not end on that day. They have been running anti Trump beat ups pretty well every day since the election and its got pretty boring and certainly irrelevant. No wonder their readership is still plunging.

  26. Jannie

    That’s funny, 97 per cent of economists agree that Trump is going to end the world. The science is settled. But everybody knows that economists are supposed to disagree with each other.

  27. miltonf

    Roger I think Malcolm Bradbury’s “History Man” summed up the 68ers perfectly. The TV adaptation was brilliant too but the destruction of Carmody was painful to watch.

  28. miltonf

    Robbo not only Fairfax. Every time I visit the Australian home page there seems to be one or two Trump bashes.

  29. Pyrmonter

    Acemoglu, Sir Angus Deaton, Bill Easterly and Scott Sumner hardened leftists? You could fool me. And the Cat might need to adjust its readings bar.

  30. Fisky

    These people are going to be very embarrassed in 4 years’ time!

  31. Pyrmonter

    Leo G – you’ll find that economists as differing in their perspectives as Wassily Leontieff and David Landes refuted the Club of Rome nonsense at some length.

  32. Charles

    I welcome the intervention by these economists, along with submissions from those like Meryl Streep et al, as they are locking in The Donald’s second term even as we speak. The way they are gong we won’t even see a US election in 2019-20 as credible alternatives won’t bother to turn up.

  33. louis

    @Fisky

    The problem is Fisky that they won’t!

    They don’t know embarrassment. They will simply spend 4 years making arguments and inventing evidence to support their stance. In 4 years time most of these people will be referring to their models or ‘adjusted’ records to prove Trump made things worse.

    There will be 4 years worth of new voters who will know more about the MSM and Hollywood’s caricature of Trump than they will anything of him or his administration. The Democrats will have their new second coming of Obama.

    And if Trump is anything at all like any other conservatives, the left will be better taxpayer funded than they were 4 years prior. e.g. the ever increasing taxpayer funded leftist institutions under Howard, Bush, Abbott

  34. The lunatic left self-identify for special treatment.

  35. Leo G

    Leo G – you’ll find that economists as differing in their perspectives as Wassily Leontieff and David Landes refuted the Club of Rome nonsense at some length.

    My allusion to the Dismal Science wasn’t meant to belittle all economists. Malthusianists and neo- Malthusianists weren’t mainly economists anyway, just people who venerated the apocalyptic projections of a very quaint model of population growth and who should have known better.
    As for those Club of Rome cultists, they’re a more serious problem. Anyone who regards humanity as the problem is not likely to be genuinely considerate about human welfare when guiding decisions about world development.

  36. Someone should digitise all these Not-Trump tirades and turn it into a buzz phrase generator.
    Turn out algorithmic produced essays. Actually, they all sound like someone already did that.

  37. gbees

    and herein lies yet another reason why deplorables voted for Trump. these leftist twats really have no idea that they actually contributed to Trump’s victory. keep it up your imbeciles.

  38. Mother Lode

    In a dramatic own goal, the economists are standing on their own record.

    PositivelyMonty-esque rakedom.

  39. L inden

    Yes I think so, or to use old expression that police called the HQ building, ‘bullshit castle’ LOL

  40. L inden

    funny that hey, still cannot understand what the hell happened there, just like what happens in the economy and they never pick it in the first place, and they like to think of themselves as intelligent! they should of have been comedy writers

  41. Art Vandelay

    So what accounts for the 370 mainly academic US economists, including 8 Nobel Laureates, putting their name to an initiative called Economists against Trump, with its own app?

    As academics, they know that they have to signal their own virtue by being seen speaking out against Trump lest the Thought Police come for them in the future.

  42. Tel

    I think the people who are hurting are unlikely to be interested in opinions insisting that nothing whatsoever is wrong. Traditionally, in a bad economy voters will put the boot into whichever party has been hanging around for a while. Saying louder and louder, “but the economy is great!” won’t fool people who know first hand they are worse off.

  43. Bean Counter

    And in breaking news….370 fat slobs have signed a letter endorsing Peter Foster’s latest slimming tea scam.

    These 370 are stunned to learn that no-one pays any attention to their endorsement of Peter Foster’s slimming tea is the real deal!

    Hmmmm.

  44. Tel

    He degrades trust in vital public institutions that collect and disseminate information about the economy, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by spreading disinformation about the integrity of their work.

    You could write a long list of the human achievements that were attained without requiring central monitoring and economic data collection. You would need to pick up a history book in order to find these things, but in the scheme of things I just can’t see government statistics as “vital”. Often I’m tempted to think they cause more trouble than they are worth.

  45. Max

    Please restart your Twitter feed, nothing there since November last year.

  46. David Brewer

    I think Art is right about virtue-signalling.

    How else to explain supposed free-market economists signing on to this cavalcade of codswallop?

    My favourite is:

    he claims to champion former manufacturing workers, but has no plan to assist their transition to well-compensated service sector positions.

    So not only can the service sector not produce jobs on its own, but it’s up to the president to find these jobs, make sure they are “well-compensated” (whatever happened to “well-paid?”), corral the former manufacturing workers, and apply his plan to “transition” them into the jobs.

    Makes you wonder how the USA developed an economy at all without 5-year plans and the central allocation of resources, manpower, training etc. on the tried and tested Soviet model…

  47. Dr Fred Lenin

    Looks like the racing tipsters ( ecommununists ) are wrong as usual , A big bit of defunding would do these narxist muppets tge world of good None of them has done a days work in their useless lives .

  48. Petros

    The elite just keep learning us plebs. Meryl Streep did just point out to us that mixed martial arts are not art. Thanks for that Meryl.

  49. 1984

    Economists are like psychologists. They give themselves degrees in dark arts beyond the comprehensive of intelligent people. They have little idea, interest or awareness of the goings on of real life. They study past events and twist and turn them until they can impress their peers. Then something different happens,and they waste their pathetic little lives re-engineering the past to fit a future that will never happen.
    Anyway, what did these geniuses say about Obama’s election, and for that matter, about his 410 trillion?
    And how many of them have their snouts in the public trough?

  50. ar

    He degrades trust in vital public institutions that collect and disseminate information about the economy, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by spreading disinformation about the integrity of their work

    Trump made complete arses out of the pollsters, that’s for sure…

  51. Roger

    miltonf,

    I don’t doubt you’re right about Bradbury’s novel.

    I haven’t read it, though, and being old enough to have known such people at university in the late ’70s I have no desire to.

  52. .

    Trump’s economic policies are mostly good.

    I don’t like his views on tariffs, his misconception of a VAT and trade deficits and his comments about printing money were alarming. I will have a lot more faith if he does a budget that is balanced and pays off the debt. He has made a lot of spending promises that arguably are just back payment (VA Hopsitals).

    I don’t get the “trust” thing. Trust of what institutions?

    A 15% corporate tax, flatter and low personal income taxes and wiping out a lot of regulation will be undoubtedly good, as will freeing up oil and gas exploration and extraction.

  53. Rabz

    So where do I sign the “Rational consumers against Fatty Trump” petition?

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

    If you’re an economist, it goes with the territory.

    Everlasting shame at what a joke your so called discipline is.

  54. El Cyd

    If there is low trust in public institutions, that means people are beginning to have an inkling of the truth of matters.
    Agree with the above post that Trump has both good and bad economic policies. Some ideas on trade are the worst.
    But, a right royal boot up Washington is needed.

  55. He has falsely suggested that trade is zero-sum and that the “toughness” of negotiators primarily drives trade deficits.

    Call it a broken clock that gets it right twice per day, but this has merit. Never forget that Trump’s economic policies are consistent with old Australian Labor. It may be rhetoric, but it’s still wrong. I do expect that it’s a criticism of convenience though. I doubt that they actually believe it.

  56. Whalehunt Fun

    What a joy it was for so many Americans to piss in the faces of these fools. The strength of the win indicates not just a disregard for these people, but a pure hatred of them. If none of them are shot, burned or skinned alive during their new President’s term in office it will be a surprise.

  57. Rabz

    No dot – just gone undercover.

Comments are closed.