President Donald Trump has picked an economic advisor who believes in growing the nation’s economy by importing workers and consumers, and by expanding free-trade outsourcing, despite Trump’s “buy American, hire American” campaign promises.
Kevin Hassett is slated to become chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors if he is approved by the Senate’s banking committee. If Hassett is confirmed, that will be a win for the corporatist, business-first faction in Trump’s White House, which fights for influence in the Oval Office against the populist, America-first faction that helped Trump win the election in November.
The Axios news site used three bullet points to describe what the views held by Hassett, formerly an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.
China: Hassett warned in 2010 that bashing China-U.S. trade policy would bring the U.S. back to the downward spiral in the 1930s.
Globalization: “An absolute prerequisite for long-term economic growth is full participation in the global economy and trading system.”
Immigrant workers: [E]conomic growth could expand significantly if immigration in the U.S. were expanded.”
The Financial Times said Hassett’s pick shows “nationalist forces have lost some ground when it comes to the economic advice reaching the president.” The Financial Times, in fact, used Hassett’s words to reveal his stance on issues.
• America Needs more workers
… With lackluster GDP growth threatening to become our new normal, allowing more immigrants to enter for the sake of employment is one of the few policies that might restore our old normal. If the U.S. doubled its total immigration and prioritized bringing in new workers, it could add more than half a percentage point a year to expected GDP growth.
• Understanding the role of the United States in the global economy
Liberalized trade — in broadly multilateral, regional, or bilateral agreements — is a key ingredient in the recipe for prosperity. … An absolute prerequisite for long-term economic growth is full participation in the global economy and trading system.
• Analysis of the economic effects of immigration reform
… This paper explores the economic consequences of expanded immigration on the U.S. economy. It begins by reviewing the immigration practices of our OECD trading partners, and documenting that immigration, as a share of the work force, is well below international norms. The literature identifying the economic impact of immigration is reviewed, suggesting that economic growth could expand significantly if immigration in the U.S. were expanded.
That’s a standard pitch from D.C.-based legislators, agency officials, and political advisors, all who stand to gain from a more powerful national economy and a greater inflow of taxes — no matter how immigration changes the distribution of income or the hurts the prospects of ordinary Americans and their children.
Breitbart News reported last year about a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:
“Deep in the report, but not in the press release, it shows how each new unskilled immigrant costs state and local taxpayers $1,600 per year. It shows how the annual cost of legal and illegal immigration to state and local taxpayer is at least $57 billion, and that each unskilled immigrant is a net loss to taxpayers for the next 75 years.”
The same study also showed how cheap-labor immigration cuts salaries and shifts wealth towards investors and company owners:
The jargon-filled, much-caveated, 495-page report does show the information needed to measure how legal and illegal immigration transfers $500 billion a year from the wages paid to working-Americans towards companies, Wall Street investors and to new immigrants. But the report does not provide a dollar figure for the ‘immigration tax.’
Immigration also provides companies with a huge new source of consumers, many of whom rely on welfare payments. For example, immigrants now comprise one-in-seven Americans, sharply increasing annual sales by retail stores, groceries, entertainment companies, and much else.
The inflow of cheap unskilled labor also slows U.S. companies’ investment in the labor-saving technology that would actually increase the average wealth of poor and rich Americans by increasing their productivity. That process is making Americans companies vulnerable to foreign companies that use robots and other machines to increase their workers’ productivity, to lower their production costs and increase their marketplace competitiveness.
But immigration makes the federal government more powerful, so the selection of pro-immigration Hassett is being cheered by D.C.- advocates, including his predecessor, Jason Furman, who chaired the CEA under former President Barack Obama.
Kevin Hassett is an excellent pick. He is serious about substance, committed to dialogue, & knows how to navigate DC. I wish him good luck.
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) April 7, 2017
Michael Strain, Hassett’s colleague at the AEI, also praised the pick. “Kevin is a fantastic choice for CEA chair,” Strain wrote. “He is a first-class economist. He understands economics research, holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and has a distinguished record of peer-reviewed academic papers. His deep knowledge of economics and of the economics literature will enable him to give truly expert advice to the president and to others in the Trump administration.”