A gathering of economic advisers and supporters of President-elect Donald Trump predicted optimistic future economic growth rates, however, an adviser to President Obama cautioned that a change in president isn’t the only change that needs to happen.
Surrounded by Picasso paintings, conservatives gathered in Dexter Hall at the New-York Historical Society on Monday to discuss what the United States’ economy will look like under a Trump presidency.
The panel, titled The Trump Economic Agenda: Impact on Jobs, Stocks, and the Global Economy, was hosted by The Committee To Unleash Prosperity.
The speakers were a conservative group: Steve Forbes of Forbes Magazine, Larry Kudlow of CNBC, Arthur Laffer of Laffer Associates, Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and a Trump Campaign Economic Advisor and Robert Wolf of 32 Advisors and a former Obama administration official, acting as the lone “Wolf” (sorry for the pun) as the only liberal-leaning member of the panel.
With Maria Bartiromo, of Fox Business News moderating, the conversation covered tariffs, foreign policy, healthcare, productivity, manufacturing, and Middle America.
Moore introduced the event and his organization, The Committee To Unleash Prosperity. Moore said they are committed to help Donald Trump with his economic platform, saying “we will continue to move forward in 2017 to keep Donald Trump’s feet in the fire.”
Bartiromo opened the conversation by saying that she had interviewed secretary Jack Lew that morning. “[He] told me that he is handing over an economy that is as vibrant as ever to Donald Trump,” a statement that received a few chuckles from the audience.
This transitioned into a discussion on whether or not the economy is as good as the Obama administration says it is.
Many of the panelists said that the economy isn’t doing well, and that any recovery we have had hasn’t been felt by many Americans.
“If everything is going so well in this economy, why did Donald Trump win this election?” Moore asked.
Kudlow brought up what he sees as a war on business. The panelists debated over how much regulations and taxes are needed for a successful economy. The conversation went in a theoretical direction, debating the merits of focusing on supply vs. demand. Most of the panelists agreed that the current president came into office and focused on demand when what we need is a focus on supply.
The panel also seemed to agree that growth was a common ground that both the right and left could get behind.
The panel took questions from the audience, which included Adele Malpass, the chairwoman of The Manhattan Republican Party; John Fund, a conservative journalist at National Review; Daniel Henninger, an editor for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page; Kirsten Haglund, a political analyst; and Allison Lee Pillinger Choi, author of Bleeding Heart Conservatives.
The audience questioned the panel on topics from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to universal basic income, to corporate tax reform.
One audience member brought up that the Obama administration has a lot of pro-business policies. The panel responded, with the fact that Obama has helped many big businesses who can absorb the losses from taxes or regulations, but hasn’t helped new and small businesses.
The panel closed with a general sense of agreement: that less regulation and taxes will help businesses, which will help investments, which will help American families. Kudlow noted that jobs can be created through improving our infrastructure –even with automation, manufacturing jobs can be brought back, paired with better training to send students into these fields.
Wolf – the liberal – agreed with the conservative panelists, but questioned their confidence in that Trump will follow these steps, noting that Obama has tried to some of these actions but was blocked by Congress.
“Let’s just wait to see when they vote in Congress,” he said.