More than 700 economists, including multiple Nobel prize winners, urged voters not to reelect President Donald Trump in an open letter blasting the president’s “managerial incompetence” and failed economic policies, sharply undercutting the president’s central campaign message to voters that he should be reelected based on his handling of the economy.

President Donald Trump departs from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona on … [+] October 19, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Key Facts

Trump “failed to achieve” his 2016 campaign promises about the economy and did not generate as much economic growth as he had promised, the economists note, and most of Trump’s economic promises “either [don’t] make sense or [aren’t] achievable using his proposed policies.”

According to Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics analysts, Joe Biden’s proposed economic policies “would actually generate faster growth in both employment and real GDP,” the economists point out.

The economists criticize Trump’s “chaotic and ineffective approach to negotiation” that has hurt international relations and American farmers without reducing the trade deficit, and argue his presidency and immigration policies make the U.S. a less appealing place for high-skilled immigrants and for companies to do business.

The letter rails against Trump’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and claims the president has “dramatically overemphasized the extent to which economic growth and public health are in conflict,” noting countries with strong public health measures have also fared the best economically during the pandemic.

The economists also hit Trump for aspects of his presidency that don’t concern economic policy, including spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories, refusing to release his tax returns and fostering “a culture of unabashed corruption.”

The open letter has so far been signed by 701 economists from major institutions, including seven Nobel prize winners, after 13 Nobel-winning economists previously signed a separate letter backing Biden’s economic policies over Trump’s.

Crucial Quote

Trump “has a poorly-informed, zero-sum view of economics that engenders needless viciousness and cruelty,” the economists wrote. “In just one term in office, Donald Trump has rendered the United States unrecognizable, and has faced no consequences for doing so…We strongly recommend that the electorate do what no one else can: reclaim your democracy by voting to remove Donald Trump from office.”

Chief Critic

In a statement to Forbes, Trump campaign Deputy Press Secretary Samantha Zager called the letter a “baseless admonition of President Trump” by “left-wing academics [who] couldn’t name a single reason why they believe Joe Biden would do anything positive for the American economy.”

Key Background

Trump has repeatedly touted the economy as a key reason why voters should reelect him as president, even as the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the economy into disarray and left large swaths of Americans unemployed. “This is an election between the Trump super recovery, which is happening right now, and a Biden depression,” Trump said at a recent rally in Pennsylvania. The economy, which polling shows is one of the most important issues to voters, has also traditionally been Trump’s strongest area in terms of public opinion, as the president has maintained relatively strong approval ratings on the economy even as his overall approval ratings and polling on other issues, such as the pandemic, are far more negative. Biden has been catching up to Trump’s economic polling as the election has drawn closer, however, and several recent polls show the two candidates statistically tied in terms of which candidate would best handle the economy.

Further Reading

Open Letter: 701 Economists Oppose Trump’s Re-Election 

‘Selfish and reckless.’ Nearly 700 economists strongly oppose Trump’s reelection (CNN)

72% Surge In New Covid Cases Is Slowing Economic Recovery, BoA Says (Forbes)

Only 24% Of Trump Supporters Consider Pandemic ‘Very Important’ In Election, Poll Finds (Forbes)

Economists Still Don’t Expect Things To Get Back To Normal Until At Least 2022, Survey Says (Forbes)


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