IRVINE (CBSLA.com/AP) — A professor at UC Irvine is quickly becoming a key player on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s economic team.
Peter Navarro, a professor of economics and public policy at UC Irvine’s business school, is among the 13 people helping shape the nominee’s economic platform. He is the only academic among a team of real estate and finance executives, and others from the private sector.
“I’m surrounded by billionaires. I’m what you’d call in economics the outlier,” Navarro told CBS2’s Serene Branson.
His relationship with Trump began with a mutual appreciation.
Navarro, who has a doctorate in economics from Harvard, had recently published a book, “Death By China.” Trump favorably mentioned the book in an interview, and Navarro wrote Trump to thank him. Their correspondence grew from there.
Navarro’s harsh critiques of global trade deals, and particularly China’s role in shaping the global economy, have informed much of Trump’s platform.
“The Trump trade doctrine: Any trade deal must increase our growth, decrease our deficit and strengthen our manufacturing base,” Navarro said.
Of course, many economists don’t share his world view. Many of them have lined up in opposition to Trump — something Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has used to bolster her campaign.
Among the criticisms levied is that Navarro’s world view is too simplistic for today’s highly complex global economy.
Navarro responds by saying that the issues are black and white to those Americans who are struggling.
“It is a black and white movie in the swing states of Ohio and Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania,” he said. “You go to those factories. It’s black and white. Those are shut down. It’s not good.”
Trump’s economic proposals took center stage in a speech Monday in Detroit in which the nominee proposed a simplified three-bracket income tax system that hewed closely to what House Republicans have recommended.
He also laid out a vision for a country refocused on manufacturing at home and wary of trade deals abroad — a country bearing little resemblance to the globally focused economy of recent years.
“Americanism, not globalism, will be our new credo,” Trump told the crowd at the Detroit Economic Club. “Our country will reach amazing new heights — maybe heights never attained before.”
Clinton criticized Trump’s speech, saying his tax plan would save his own family — and other families of extreme wealth — billions of dollars.
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