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Trump’s economic plan would 'create a pretty noxious economic environment'

Rick Newman
·Senior Columnist

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been sparring with economists recently, taking issue with a report by Moody’s Analytics that predicted his economic plan would cause a lengthy recession if fully enacted.

Trump responded by pointing out that Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and lead author on the study, is a registered Democrat who has donated money to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other Democratic politicians. Trump didn’t rebut the findings of the report, but implied that Zandi’s political leanings may have led to a biased analysis.

“I’ve worked on both sides of the aisle,” Zandi tells Yahoo Finance in the video above, pointing out that he advised Republican John McCain during the 2008 presidential race. “The study was done by a team of economists, with folks from both sides of the aisle, some of whom have contributed to Republican candidates.”

Zandi isn’t backing down on his analysis of Trump’s plan. Trump has articulated three major economic priorities: raising tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports, slashing federal taxes, and deporting roughly 11 million illegal immigrants. “All these things conflate and create a pretty noxious economic environment,” Zandi says.

That’s the prediction if all of Trump’s priorities were enacted. Were they to get watered down – which normally happens when legislation is crafted – the economic impact would be milder, according to Moody’s analysis. Other economists and business leaders have criticized Trump’s economic ideas, suggesting that Trump might want to focus more on mainstream critiques of his plan and less on the political persuasion of economists.

Moody’s Analytics will also publish an analysis of Hillary Clinton’s economic ideas, probably around the third week of July. Clinton has many more proposals than Trump, and Zandi says that is requiring more thorough analysis that takes longer. Whatever the timing, voters will still have months to digest the economic ideas of both candidates.

Zandi also gave some impromptu advice for the candidates. He cites three things that would likely boost a stagnant economy: streamlining the tax code without adding to the federal deficit, investing more in roads, bridges and other infrastructure, and finding a way to let more qualified immigrants into the United States, to expand the labor force. “Doing those three things would be a big plus for the economy,” he says. And it wouldn’t matter which party the president belonged to.

Rick Newman’s latest book is Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman .