A fiery panel on MSNBC's Hardball Monday night with host Chris Matthews and former Obama economic advisor Jared Bernstein taking on economist and Trump advisor Peter Navarro.
Bernstein: Growth of the Economy Is Not Reaching Middle Class The Way It Should
"How is he going to reduce the debt if he's cutting revenue?" Chris Matthews asked Navarro.
"By doubling the GDP growth rate, by regulatory policy, energy policy, tax policy and tariff policy," Navarro said. "That's what everybody's missing here. You can't cherry pick the tax program and not look at the whole Trump plan."
"If he's able to double the GDP growth rate back to its historical average of 3.5%, it's been 1.8 for 15 years of bad trade deals, we will have all the tax revenues we need to more than offset any tax cuts," he aded.
Bernstein said the plan sounds like "supply-side economics."
"If you could eat ice cream sundaes all week and never gain a pound, supply-side economics would work," Bernstein argued. "Their initial plan lost $10 trillion in revenue over ten years. That was scored by the tax policy center, nonpartisan group. They went back to the drawing board and said that's too much on the debt and deficit so they recalibrated and now haven't said how much but probably something in the neighborhood of maybe $3 trillion they are going to lose because they lowered that."
Navarro defended Trump's plan as a way to keep companies from exporting jobs to other countries.
"Why you want to cut the corporate tax rate is not to enrich the corporations. It's to make sure that they are not pushed to Mexico because we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. This is what you guys are missing. You just want to do this Robin Hood kind of thing," Navarro said as he was flanked by the Hardball host and Bernstein.
By this point the panel devolved into everybody talking over each other. However, the conversation was able to move on to the middle class and economic growth.
"Let me get back to basics," Matthews said in an attempt to get the show back on track. "Most people watching are going to pay attention to this. The economy according to the american people, we are heading in the wrong direction."
"If the country is happy with the current economic policies why are more than two-thirds of people against the way things are headed?" Matthews posted to Bernstein
Bernstein said the middle class is feeling the way they do because "the growth of the economy is not reaching them the way it should."
"The growth in the economy is not reaching them the way it should. That's something both campaigns happen to agree on. The problem, and this is very much in the context of what we are talking about, the Trump campaign looked at this problem that the GDP growth isn't reaching the middle class the way it should and said that's why we have to enrich our corporations and enrich the wealthy and eliminate -- eliminate the estate tax, eliminate the estate tax and cut the top rate from 40% to 33%," Bernstein explained.
Navarro fought back and said everything from the crazy balance sheet held by the Federal Reserve to the economy being in the weakest recovery since the depression is causing stagnation.
"Obama got a free pass for the first year or two in office. He's been in there eight years," Navarro said of Obama's handling of the economy.
"Clinton wants to do the standard Keynesian stimulus," Navarro said. "We have a crazy balance sheet at the Federal Reserve with all this easy money. We have gone eight years and got the weakest recovery since World War II. Obama got a free pass for the first year or two in office. He's been in there eight years. Trump is attacking this economy from a structural point of view through comprehensive tax reform, trade reform, regulatory reform and energy reform."
"He wants to leverage all the strengths of our economy. This economy, energy economy alone, we are blessed and Hillary Clinton wants to put coal mining out of business. She said so," Navarro added.