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CNBC: Economists Fear Trump Ignoring Them



By    |   Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 02:46 PM

CNBC’s Steve Liesman reports that many of America’s top economists aren’t wondering if they will get a chance to work for President-elect Donald Trump but whether he wants economists to work for him at all.

“So far, just one academic economist has been named to the administration. Peter Navarro, the University of California Irvine economics professor, will head a newly created White House National Trade Council,” Liesman reported.

An academic economist is considered as "one with a Ph.D., employed currently at an institution of higher learning who publishes peer-reviewed research papers,” Liesman reported.

Yet that stands in contrast to the then-incoming Obama administration. "With the country's economy in crisis, then-President-elect Barack Obama rolled out his economic team in November 2008, including former New York Fed President Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, Christina Romer to head the CEA and Larry Summers to head the National Economic Council. Both Romer and Summers were highly respected economists (at least by the group who gathers at the AEA) with Ph.D.s.," Liesman reported.

Liesman thinks Trump needs an official bean counter, for lack of better terms, to help get the arithmetic correct.

“Underscoring the need was Trump's colossal economic error at his press conference. He wrongly said that 96 million Americans are out of the labor force and looking for work,” Liesman said.

Trump said that there "are 96 million wanting a job and they can't get (one). You know that story. The real number. That's the real number."

"It is unfortunately very far from the real number. There are in fact 96 million Americans age 16 and older who are not in the labor force. Of this, just 5.4 million, or 91 million fewer than the number cited by Trump, say they want a job. The rest are retired, sick, disabled, running their households or going to school. (This number is 256,000 fewer than last year and 1.7 million fewer than the all-time high for the series in 2013.)," Liesman wrote.

"It may be that the Trump administration simply hasn't gotten around to finding or naming its economists,” Liesman said.

"I think the president can get any economist he wants," said Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School who headed the Council of Economic Advisers in the Bush administration.

Hubbard said the most important value economists add to administration isn’t just crafting policy strategy. Hubbard offers that economists can talk a new administration through relationships between policy, effects of shocks, budget deficits and the relationship of monetary and fiscal policy. "Math has a habit of not going away," Hubbard said.

To be sure, even one of the most respected economic gurus of our time is urging Trump to appoint some extra help to his financial braintrust.

Trump would be wise to appoint a supporting cast of free-market conservatives to his administration, Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes tells Newsmax TV.

"They've got to get some of these people in because the president can do so much but you got to have a supporting cast or at least some players in there who can push this agenda," Forbes told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth on Wednesday.

Among his picks, Forbes touted Newsmax Finance Insiders Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore for possible positions in Trump's administration.

"I hope Larry Kudlow gets in perhaps as the head of the Council of Economic Advisers. Perfect post for him," said Forbes, author of "Reviving America."

"Stephen Moore, whether it's in the White House or with Vice President-elect Pence. Very critical to have his voice in there," Forbes told Newsmax TV.

"Others like David Malpass who understands the Fed better than anyone else. Get him in there. He was a supporter of Trump," Forbes said.

As far as advice to Trump on his economic strategy, Forbes thinks "the real battle is going to come on the economic front. I think they should push for a massive big tax cut right up front, throw the Congressional Budget Office aside and say we need something big to get this economy moving so people feel it right away."

And in Forbes' mind, Trump has made just the right selections in Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council and an assistant to the president for economic policy and former Goldman partner and mortgage trader Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of Treasury. Cohn had been second-in-command at Goldman Sachs

"I think the key thing is, and Trump will make the decision, he's got to make clear this is what he wants done. I think Gary Cohn will go along with it. He's not a policy guy. I think Mnuchin will go along with it. The key is the top has to say this is what has to be done," Forbes said. 

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CNBC’s Steve Liesman reports that many of America’s top economists aren’t wondering if they will get a chance to work for President-elect Donald Trump but whether he wants economists to work for him at all.
trump, economists, cabinet, policy
Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 02:46 PM
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