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Trump advisers are scrambling to sell the idea that a recession isn’t going to happen

After a week of serious warnings about the threat of a recession and the emergence of indicators signaling a coming economic downturn, the White House is scrambling to convince the public that the economy is doing just fine. But experts aren’t so sure President Trump’s advisers are correct in claiming there is nothing to worry about.Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, and Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s top trade advisers, collectively appeared on five television shows on Sunday as part of a concerted effort to calm growing fears that a recession is around the corner. On Meet the Press , Kudlow boasted about a low unemployment rate, growing wages, and consumer confidence, telling host Chuck Todd that Americans should actually look forward to a period of increased growth. “I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow said. “We’re doing pretty darn well in my judgment, let’s not be afraid of optimism.”Todd raised the fact that while working as an analyst, Kudlow wrote in December 2007 that there was no recession coming — just before the biggest recession that the US has endured since the Great Depression struck. Kudlow conceded that he had gotten that one wrong.“Well, I plead guilty to that late 2007 forecast,“ Kudlow said.Liberal critics argue that Kudlow has a notoriously poor record as an economic prognosticator, and that he tends to focus on questions of abolishing taxes at the expense of most other things in his analyses. The adviser promoted this view on Fox News Sunday , claiming the White House is “looking at” a middle class tax cut, as he brushed aside a question about negative impacts of Trump’s economic policy by praising supply-side economics.Navarro also made the case for a strong economy on ABC’s This Week , CNN’s State of the Union , and CBS’ Face the Nation .“Before I came to the White House, I spent a better part of 20 years forecasting the business cycle and stock market trends, and what I can tell you with certainty is that we’re going to have a strong economy through 2020 and beyond with a bull market,“ Navarro told Martha Raddatz on This Week. While he was very confident, it’s worth noting that Navarro holds some extremely niche views on how the economy works, and many economists and members of the business community don’t consider his appraisals reliable. On State of the Union , for example, Navarro maintained — despite being presented with studies that found otherwise — that Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods are “not hurting anybody here. They’re hurting China.”But there is in fact plenty of evidence that the US’s tariffs on Chinese goods (border taxes on imports) have cost domestic businesses billions of dollars by forcing them to raise prices for consumers and costing them sales as a result.And although the numbers literally said otherwise, Navarro said on This Week that he believes there hasn’t yet been a yield curve inversion — a switch in the return rates of short and long term bonds, widely considered a strong predictor of recessions — “right now by technical standpoints.”Investors saw things very differently this week. On Wednesday, the yield rate for two year Treasury bonds rose higher than the rate for 10 year bonds, inverting the yield curve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 800 points — its biggest drop this year — following that inversion. We don’t know if a recession is coming. But there are signs one could be near.Economic experts and forecasters think there ar ...Read more

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