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HomeLife InsuranceTrump Tax Ideas Would Lead to 'Mother of All Stagflations': Summers

Trump Tax Ideas Would Lead to ‘Mother of All Stagflations’: Summers


What You Need to Know

  • Trump has floated tariff hikes as a way to pay for some income tax cuts.
  • His anti-immigration stance could squeeze the labor supply, and repealing Biden’s renewable energy subsidies would push up power costs, the former Treasury secretary says.
  • A Trump spokeswoman said his policies would reduce inflation.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers blasted policy ideas floated by former President Donald Trump as immensely damaging to both the U.S. and the global economy.

“This is a prescription for the mother of all stagflations,” Summers said on Bloomberg Television’s Wall Street Week with David Westin Friday, with regard to replacing a major amount of income-tax revenue with tariffs. It would also create “worldwide economic warfare,” he said.

Summers was speaking a day after Trump presented the idea of using tariff hikes as a way to pay for some income tax cuts in a meeting with House Republicans. Trump has also proposed a minimum 10% universal import levy and a punitive rate for China.

A shift to relying on tariffs for revenue would push up not just the cost of imports, but those of goods and services that compete with those imports, Summers said. Consumers would have less to spend on everything else, creating a “downward spiral” in the economy, he said.

“I don’t think there’s been a more inflationary presidential economic policy platform in my lifetime,” said Summers, a Harvard University professor and paid contributor to Bloomberg TV. “Perhaps George McGovern in 1972 in some ways would be a comparison,” he said, referring to the Democratic nominee who lost in that contest.

Campaign Response

Asked about Summers’s criticisms, Karoline Leavitt, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said, “President Trump’s first-term pro-growth economic policies created record-low mortgage, interest and unemployment rates and made inflation virtually non-existent.”

“Americans can expect President Trump’s second-term economic agenda will have the same impact and end Joe Biden’s inflation crisis that continues to rob working families of thousands of dollars every month,” Leavitt said.