The Wall Street Journal has an interesting look at conflicting views among Trump’s economic advisers. Some of them are traditional GOP economists, eager to cut taxes and regulation in order to increase incentives for private growth. But those free-market folk aren’t keen to slap tariffs on Chinese or Mexican imports, as Trump has threatened, nor are they on board for big government infrastructure spending. “It’s the supply-siders versus the zero-sum crowd,” says investment strategist Andy Laperriere. Unclear how that will sort out.
But the smartest take of the weekend came from 93-year-old Henry Kissinger, who met with Trump on Thursday and appeared on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show yesterday.
“This President-elect is the most unique that I have experienced in one respect,” Kissinger said. “No baggage. He has no obligation to any particular group because he has become president on the basis of his own strategy and a program he put before the American public that his competitors did not present.”
Zakaria responded that Mr. Trump does indeed arrive with baggage – referring to various inflammatory comments during the election. But Kissinger’s point was that Trump has no policy baggage. His views on economic policy, like his views on foreign policy, are very much his own, and haven’t been put through the hardening that comes with actual implementation. Moreover, they don’t fit within the traditional dogma of either party. (The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz this weekend labeled him “America’s first independent president.”) That gives him immense flexibility in the days and months ahead.
Mr. Kissinger’s advice: give Trump plenty of room to find the right path. “One should not insist on nailing him into positions that he had taken in the campaign on which he doesn’t insist,” Kissinger said. “I think we should give him an opportunity to develop the positive objectives that he may have…We’ve gone through too many decades of tearing incumbent administrations apart, and it may happen again, but we shouldn’t begin that way.”
More news below.