David Frum took a shot today on KRCW at predicting what Trump’s economic policy is likely to be. Frum says it will be a heavy dose of debt financed spending on arms and infrastructure which will help boost industrial employment for (largely) white male workers. That will, Frum insightfully suggests, buy him some popularity, perhaps enough to guarantee a second term.
To those who think recalling history is important this should remind people of the policies implemented by the Nazis under Minister of the Economy Hjalmar Schacht. Massive infrastructure spending (the autobahn, for example) was linked to autarkic trade policy as a way to deal with the collapse of the German economy. The financial hunger of the Nazi regime soon turned to the assets of its Jewish population with Schacht (who expressed some opposition to the more extreme anti-semitism of the Nazi party) suggesting that Jewish property be held in trust by the government rather than outright expropriation.
Schacht funded the industrial and military expansion of the Hitler regime in part by the issue of a new basically fraudulent form of government debt known as MeFo Bills. These were used to hide a massive government debt. Today on CNBC Trump advisor Larry Kudlow basically admitted Trump would be forced to inflate debt in order to cover his planned spending because planned tax cuts won’t generate sufficient growth in GDP.
Countries that try to inflate their way out of economic problems end up in deeper trouble. The signs point to a similar path in the new Trump era.