The elevation of Peter Navarro to the White House National Economic Council could have adverse effects on the American economy, according to The Wall Street Journal editorial board.
“If Mr. Navarro gets the job, cash in your stock-market profits,” the editorial board wrote Sunday. President Donald Trump is looking to nominate someone to lead the council after Gary Cohn resigned earlier in March, and neither of the rumored candidates look good to the nation’s top business journal.
Christopher Liddell, another potential candidate for the position, inspires slightly more hope than Navarro, according to WSJ’s editors. Though he “probably also has enough executive skill to manage a fair policy-making process,” Liddell, who is currently the White House director of strategic initiatives, hasn’t made much progress with his present portfolio, which includes reforming Air Traffic Control systems.
Navarro, a former supporter of Hillary Clinton who now espouses Trump-style protectionism and supports the recently announced tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, would be an even worse choice, according to WSJ.
No one knows what effects the highly unpopular tariffs will have on the economy. Trump wants the import duties to promote fairer trade and decrease trade deficits with other nations, particularly China, which he and Navarro agree has been taking advantage of open trade with America for years.
“Since China joined the [World Trade Organization] in 2001, over 70,000 American factories have closed, the average median household income has actually fallen and we now owe trillions of dollars to China,” Navarro told the Los Angeles Times in 2016, after he had become an adviser to Trump’s campaign.”Fully half of our annual trade deficit in goods is with the biggest trade cheater on the planet. This is causality, not correlation.”
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The strong stock market gains and other economic improvements in the first year of Trump’s presidency are at risk of fading, the WSJ editorial board argues, as the tariffs take effect. If Trump refuses to exempt certain countries from the tariff, it could escalate retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.
“The U.S. economy in the last year has entered a faster growth phase precisely because Mr. Trump has promoted the classic free-market remedies of deregulation and lower tax rates to spur more investment and hiring,” the board wrote. “Mr. Liddell sounds like he has the wrong instincts to sustain better times.”
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