Donald Trump likes to boast about his ability to hire extraordinary employees. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin joked a couple of months ago, “Donald Trump brags that as president he will hire the best people, the greatest people. They’ll be so great, you’ll be sick of great people.”
If only Trump’s claims were in any way true. In the private sector, the New York Republican struggled to hire the best people, but as a presidential candidate, he’s surrounded himself with a rather woeful team.
And the problem is arguably getting worse. Politico reported yesterday:
Donald Trump’s campaign has enlisted influential conservative economists to revise his tax package and make it more politically palatable by slashing the $10 trillion sticker price. […][T]he campaign last month contacted at least two prominent conservative economists – Larry Kudlow, the CNBC television host, and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and a longtime Wall Street Journal writer – to spearhead an effort to update the package.
I realize that Kudlow and Moore probably aren’t household names, but if these are the folks Team Trump is turning to, it’s a reminder as to just how bad the campaign is at choosing “the best people” for key tasks.
Under a “Send in the Clowns” headline, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman seemed gobsmacked yesterday by the campaign’s selection.
Granted that Trump is deeply ignorant about policy; still, you might have thought that he would try to signal his independence from the establishment by, say, turning to some business economist. Instead, he turned to the usual suspects from the right-wing noise machine. And what a choice!I mean, Kudlow is to economics what William Kristol is to political strategy: if he says something, you know it’s wrong. When he ridiculed “bubbleheads” who thought overvalued real estate could bring down the economy, you should have rushed for the bomb shelters; when he proclaimed Bush a huge success, because a rising stock market is the ultimate verdict on a presidency (unless the president is a Democrat), you should have known that the Bush era would end with epochal collapse.And then there’s Moore, who has a similarly awesome forecasting record, and adds to it an impressive lack of even minimal technical competence.
All things considered, Krugman may be understating matters when it comes to Moore’s qualifications for writing a presidential candidate’s tax plan.
Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and produce a credible blueprint for Team Trump? It’s certainly possible, but according to the Politico report, Kudlow has already started tweaking the candidate’s original plan, and he now believes Trump’s policy will only add $3.8 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
This, evidently, is supposed to be seen as a major step in the right direction since Trump’s original plan added $10 trillion to the deficit.
I can’t wait to see what else “the best people” come up with.