Jan 3, 2017

Donald Trump doesn't agree with his top econ advisor

When Donald Trump named Goldman Sachs alum Gary Cohn as Director of his Council of Economic Advisors, critics took aim at the fact that Cohn hailed from the world's most hated investment bank, contra Trump's pledge to drain the Washington swamp.

But the more interesting fact about Cohn should be that he doesn't appear to agree with his boss on economics.

Former Bush Administration economist Scott Sumner flagged a compendium of Cohn's recent public interviews, in which he espoused:

  • That the Chinese yuan is actually overvalued, rather than unduly cheap as the result of currency manipulation;
  • Globalization is a force that can't be stopped by U.S. economic policy; and
  • Skepticism as to whether a Dodd-Frank repeal would be good for American banks and the U.S. economy.

When Cohn was picked Republicans were uneasy over Cohn's history of supporting Democrats. And Trump won the election promoting an economic ideology that is antithetical to everything Cohn represents and has advocated for in recent years.

So what draws Trump to Cohn? As he said in a statement announcing the move, "Gary Cohn is going to put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people." In other words, a winning track record—and looking the part—matter much more to the president-elect than ideology.

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