August 06, 2016
Trump's Economic Advisors: "Steve, meet Steve"
Posted by Matt Bodie

Friend-of-the-blog Stephen Bainbridge might be feeling left out of Donald Trump's team of economic advisors, which is almost half "Steves."  However, he might feel lonely there as an academic, as there is only one other professor in the group. Some commentators have expressed concern about the lack of economic expertise -- see, e.g., AEI's Kevin Hassett ("Most campaigns tend to balance academics with business folks.").  But more problematically, the group is all men, and they also seem to be white (although advisor Tom Barrack's grandparents were Lebanese immigrants).  I bring this up because it demonstrates a pattern consistent with his list of eleven potential Supreme Court nominees, who were all white and mostly men.  As I said when those folks were announced , the lack of diversity is a statement by the Trump campaign.  Trump's vision for American leadership is literally an old-boy network.

Trump's economic team also seems to be strangely at odds with his policy proposals.  He attacks Clinton for her connections to billionaire Wall Streeters, but his team has several of them.  To the extent his advisors have taken policy positions on trade, they mostly seem to be in favor of free trade.  Just a few months ago, Club for Growth founder Stephen Moore wrote this editorial in favor of free trade -- one of the Club's core philosophies.  These appointments present an extremely muddle message. One of Trump's key issues is that America needs to be more protectionist in its manufacturing and labor markets.  However, Peter Navarro of UC Irvine -- the one academic in the group -- has advocated against free trade, particularly with respect to China.  You can check out a trailer for Death by China, a documentary he produced, here.

UPDATE: Greg Mankiw, Abby McCloskey, and Justin Wolfers have some juicy quotes here.

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