« Freakonomics Radio

371. A Free-Trade Democrat in the Trump White House

2019-03-14 | 🔗

For years, Gary Cohn thought he’d be the next C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs. Instead, he became the “adult in the room” in a chaotic administration. Cohn talks about the fights he won, the fights he lost, and the fights he was no longer willing to have. Also: why he and Trump are still on speaking terms even after he reportedly called the president “a professional liar.”

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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If you'd like to listen to free economic radio without ads the place to do that is sticker premium five dollars a month and you can get a free month trial by going to stick your premium dot com and use a promo code freak. You also get access to all our bonus. Episodes and you'll be supporting our show to that sticker premium: dot, com, promo code, freak thanks. So your life story- I guess, is really remarkable. Thank you. You were not destined for her Wall Street there Wall Street any street Gary Cone was born in nineteen. Sixty in the suburbs of Cleveland. He had severe dyslexia and was a terrible stood as a consequence. Bouts from school does if there were an award for least likely to succeed, corn might have qualified
His parents were worried, you wouldn't make it your high school is grandparents ran an electrical contracting business were Gary worked after school, he was a wizard inventory and anything else. Numerical goes the rest where it was tellin me you're, going disaster. Europe failure, maybe you'll, be lucky to drive a truck. My grand so I really admire who built the family business like up, saying, you're gonna be fine and they were greatly really influential con did make it through high school in College and American University, where he programmed computers and became obsessed with the financial markets, but back home in Cleveland. The best he could do was a sales job in the home products. Division of U S, steel, work trip to New York. He stopped in at the commodities exchange hoping to somehow landed job there. He hitched to ride to the airport with a stranger, a guy who just been put in charge, The new options- training desk at his brokerage for he admitted,
he didn't know anything about options. Cone replied that he knew everything about which was a lie, but it got Conan interview several days later by then it was no longer corn had read the definitive book on options trading four times over and active extreme stamina for dyslexic. You got the job Several years later. Ninety ninety corn was higher by Goldman Sachs. You wound up Working act, omen for twenty seven years. Last ten president and see oh, oh, but it was the job he took an early twenty seventeen that would make Gary Cone Household Name director of the National Economic Council under President Trump. How did a Wall Street Rationalist deal with the fifth avenue? I purposed I treated the present the United States. The way I like they have been treated. That's how I doubt whether today on for economics, radio, Gary Cooper,
reviews his time in the Trump White House from the fights he won? We got tax reform done to the fighting lost. was not gonna. Take a seventy four year old man whose believe something since he was thirty and convince him that I was right. The fates he was no longer willing to have when the process breaks down then you're, lots of, in my mind, living in chaos. I dont want to live in a chaotic organization. friends, stature and Gunnar productions. This is pre dynamics, radio broadcasts and explores the inside of everything. Here's your home.
Stephen definite I spoke with Jerry Khan, the first week in March it was starting to look like the tree It war between the? U S and China might be moving towards a peaceful conclusion, although, as of this recording, that hasn't happened yet also, I've been yet another report of behaviour unbecoming the president of the United States this time a new Yorker peace alleging. in two thousand. Seventeen Donald Trump instructed Gary Cone to get the Justice Department to block a media deal the Trump disliked corn reportedly told chief of Staff, John Kelly quote, don't you effing. Dare call
justice Department. We are not going to do business that way. Have you communicate with the president's since he left the way? Yes, can you tell us anything that we have a very amicable relationship? We used to talk about. The economy are sometimes by personnel. We talked about personnel and when he had to fill a job or too I've talked to him. I am a little surprised to hear that year on such good terms with present still mostly because I read fear by Bob Woodward and in your kind of the star that book or one of that one of the stars that book gum. The most famous story concerns you removing a letter that somebody drafted for the president to sign a letter to the President, South Korea, that would have terminated chorus, the? U S, Korea, free trade agreement. So let's hear Your version of that is the reporting in fear essentially true and democratic debate on macroeconomic. Ok,
want to come on whether you participated in in the writing of the book. Did you talk to windward her? I'm not gonna come in look. I've said what I'm going to say on the Woodward book and it is as far as I'm concerned, it's not coming car for the record, your own had to say when fear was published. This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House, I'm proud of my service in the Trump administration, and I continue to support the president and his economic agenda, but also for the record.
In fear, cone calls Trump quote a professional liar and in a meeting about steel tariffs, which cone vehemently opposed here's, what he reportedly told Trump and Peter Navarro the presents favorite economist quote: if you just shut the f up and listen, you might learn something. So how can it be that cone and the president are still on speaking terms, but I think the presence about results and when he looks back at our time together, I was part of a team that got a lot done. We got tax reform done. It also says something about the kind of businessmen corn was a team player and not back stabber eager to debate the facts but quick to forget a fight and a man who exercised substantial patients,
omen sex. He was heir apparent to the CEO, Lloyd Blank fine for many years, so the story is when I was asked by Lloyd and the board to become present. Chivalric Lloyd, called me and John. When carried into a room, we were close at the time, it said guys. Will you give me two years? I gotta know your comment for two years and I said Lord, I give you too. I do not part, but you got on his tail. I think these are seven to ten year jobs. I dont think, these are lifetime jobs, and you did it for ten grand for over ten and literally at seven years, I started getting a little antsy lloyd at that point and end up getting sick and you know I wasn't gonna rattled about a rock the boat at all in year, seven or eight hours may-
eight nice treaty for cancer, you work and of the Orient under your technically acting ceo, but you were sent out. I looked. I did whatever I dare to protect the firm. I went right needed to go. I do I need to go in to me the most important thing for long was him for him to get help. We had worked the other alive, but at TAT point who is letting the board know that I wasn't gonna be here forever. So I, sat down. I said I had made it clear that I would be gone by the end of the year. Oh regardless I was gone amateur, the thing was pure lucky coincidence. We should now do things here. The first is it. Recon is a registered democratic, although to be fair, the Goldman Sachs Democrat Isn't exactly and Elizabeth Warren Democratic Cone did make a lotta campaign contributions to Democrats over the years, but also to lots of Republicans, including a political Action committee called every Republican is crucial
I can thing to know: is it Donald Trump was the sort of business man? prone as he was to bankruptcy and hyperbole. The Goldman Sachs avoided doing business with according to William Collins, has written a definitive history of the firm quote: Goldman determined never to do business with Trump and can That message to its new recruits. Keep in mind, this is the same sacks of until recently was habited DU. Bon deals with the government of Venezuela. In any case by the fall of two thousand. Sixteen trump had emerged as the Republicans now Mr President, so you remember after The convention claim on the first debate in September in Austria, was supposed to be an economic debate and remember the operative word. There's supposed that's when cone got a call from
commissioner trumped son in law and adviser and said, hey were preparing Lee Nominee for the echoes, debated. Austria. Can I come in and talk to you about going on: U S economy in our, we had a mutual friend and what was- initial response to whatever the Trump economic ideas were. At that point, so look. I clearly support deregulation. I clearly support lower taxes on corporate repatriation redoing the tax system, so there are a lot of big high level things. I support on the echo excited. You are going to provide the biggest tax increases in history. You gonna drive business out your regulations, are a disaster and by the way my tax good is the because since Ronald Reagan, then, on the other hand, there was trade, Terry relied immigration. So NAFTA is the worst trade deal,
maybe ever signed anywhere pointless for further things. I support on Hilary side, and things like I did support on every side and was interesting, went well Eric called. I walked down three offices to the chief of staff of the executives. Solomon, John Roger is a very political vacuum: so they judge. I mean what we say: remarkably nominee, the Democratic nominally called you'd be one or two right. I go yeah, ok, so go meet with, were you not put off at all by the fact that he was considered by a lot of people to be whatever adjective you want to use them. In the most anomalous major party candidate we ve had probably ever body. still the nominee right. He was still there and elegant nominally more present, but I'm asking you if you were put off as view reputation early for forgetting corner for Goldman, whether whether that was consideration in that's why, when I asked John Rogers, who really is one the most astute political guys, I knew you'd.
in and around Washington for ever been in the treasury, but in the White House as a jot shall do this, because when you ask me of course, you're going to do this yeah. If any nominee for present cause you when the major parties you're gonna, meet with an eye remit, am I met with? Do I met with his advisers once Trump was elected? Cone did meet with him. The meeting went very well, even though cone is what Trump calls globalist believer in free, fair, and trade Trump had essentially run against that position, but cones who's on deregulation and tax reform. Firstly, lowering the corporate rate. They were exactly what Trump wanted to hear. Cone also tried to pitch trump on preparing the huge disruption that automation will bring to labour markets and the need to maintain a strong flow of immigrants. According to the woodwork book, fear Trump was so enthusiasts
that very comedy offered him a number of jobs than in their deputy secretary of defence, director of National Intelligence Secretary of Energy, director of the Office of Management and budget. You know what Trump finally said. I hired the wrong guy for Treasury secretary. You would be the best treasury secretary. This must have been a bit awkward as Woodward reports. Trumps pick for Treasury secretary was also in the room, Steve Malnutrition, another Goldman Sachs alone Condon, except any post at the meeting for some time afterwards. He was offered the role formerly known as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council, time remember, corn was already on the way out at Goldman Sachs, The meeting with Donald Trump happened after I had already made my decision. So I was in motion: did any
say to you. However, Gary this president. An is anomalous and he is a human third rail. And what are you thinking about? Did anyone say that, of course we are and what you say I said look the present the United States has asked me to work for him. I am going to go in and serve and do the best I can for my country. Remember, I am taking an oath to the constitution of the United States to protecting the fat, not enough to the President night states, and I am I going to go- serve the people, the United States. The Trump White House turned out to be stranger than cone or anyone could have imagined. So look the White House, is an amazing organization. In many ways it's the craziest innovation and under any presidency
the amazing authorization under any presidency under Trump Workflow was unpredictable. Protocol is ignored. Turnover was endemic, people started, calling Gary Cone, the adult in the room, disciplined focused and most of all, dedicated to tax reform goal. He shared with the president even if their numbers didn't line up. So you look. This is not a secret that at one point he wanted a fifteen percent corporate tax rate and I just told them a fifteen percent corporate tax rate will not work will not work, will not raise enough money or political Asia, it just a politically and be algebraic. I mean when you. Start understanding the numbers and what a fifteen percent tax rate means we have to manipulate so many, the things in the cold, so I personally would settle for twenty five. The corporates would settle for tat,
five. He then said, look! Ok! I can live with twenty, but if you I give you any retirement Newton and I at the time he's a nice guy started twenty you'll end up going high. I know you, I know you can negotiate that what I said if we started twenty will inevitably will hold. It will hold and we were holding twenty. He was the one they kept willing, was willing to go higher? So what did end up twenty to twenty one? Twenty one cone also helped manage the political process, making sure the president's habit of insulting people be a twitter, didn't undermine congressional poor for the tax plan, wouldn't we were really working taxes hard, There was no way I could deal with the present going after any one of those Republicans like I need everyone they vote like I don't have a spare say: did you steal it? found what you did. Oh no. No. We just wee wee and secretary
New Chin and others we kept reminding him and then look that was one of the reasons that we didn't do anything in tariffs. In the first year, because a lot of our marginal voters are free traders and we didn't want to give any. When an excuse to hold up a tax vote because they were. retaliate on trade? I knew the tax vote while putting together the text plan. Just eight months into trumps term came a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville Virginia. Why There were counter demonstrations as well in violence. Trumps response is
now infamous group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides and it did nothing to eat The tension Gary Cone by the way is jewish. From what I've read. You are ready to resign than in kind had to be talked out of it. You were talked out of it, yet we had had two or three years, I would say very intense, very open, very honest discussions and in it boil down to the present and asking me, as his leader of tax reform in the White House in the person that he felt could could help him get it done to please stay on through tax for art, and I did
rated at Trump signed into law, the tax cuts and jobs ACT of twenty seventeen on December. Twenty second of that year it got through Congress without a single democratic. In addition to lowering the corporate rate, it also incentivize. U S, firms to repatriate money, they parked overseas and to invest some of that money. Here. It also lowered personal tax rates across the board, including a dip at the highest income level. The joint committee on taxation projects, the new tax law- will be very generous to the very wealthy but cone, who is himself very very wealthy. He argues that perception. Indeed, some of the new provisions, her high earners, lower cap on the mortgage interest deduction and a new tab-
thousand dollar cap on the state and local tax deduction were salt, which is especially punitive high earners living in high tech states states, by the way that did not vote for Trump in twenty. Sixteen learn a very big tech company in California. I was at two weeks ago where all the senior management was bitching at me, because how much are Texaco I was at. Please tell Nancy Pelosi cuz. She was the first one that came out and said it was a tax cut for the rich. What was not a tax cut for the rich, It just goes not attack for the rich in New York City or NL in one of the ways that we made the tax tables work and we pushed money down into lowering in brackets. Is you have to find revenue? We found revenue in this deduction which, if you see who had affects the vast me worthy The facts are the high income earners big question: it's been a while now too early for big macro results.
How do you think you're tax plan is working so far, so I'm I'm glad you say that it is too early because it's amazing how everyone wants to take a ten year tax plan and judge it. After one year we talked about increasing economic growth by one percent and eyeing. In essence, we did that in the first year we went from sort of two June two sub two percent too, Ryan, just below three percent growth. We finally have real wage growth. Wage growth in excess of inflation in the United States is still not is higher. we'd like to see it were seen. Job cuts we're seeing movement in in the labour force, and I do think that we have seen the dispose. more income in the system. So when you look at
corporate earnings and you look at what is going on the stock market along that's being driven by excess, disposable income because of the tax rates in in look. I will be happy to be criticised if I'm wrong in the tax system, but we won't know four. Five plus years we gave companies a hundred per cent of capital expenditure, expense for the first five years trying to get companies to make a long term investment in the U S, economy and all- we're here. Right now is how you have companies are paying taxes because they're using that opportunity to invest in capital to to manage Patrick down. That is, gonna pay dividends for the next twenty thirty years, if you want to hear our deeper dive into the tax law, Chica
episode numbers three hundred and thirty one and three hundred and thirty, two in the Freakonomics radio archive they're, called why the Trump tax cuts are awesome. Terrible will be right back with more Gary Cohn right after this For economics, radio sponsored by Petsmart Petsmart makes it safe and easy for you to care for your pet at Petsmart. The health and safety of employees, pet parents and pets are what's most important, which is why they require face coverings, social distancing and stop plexiglas shields and enhanced cleaning to follow CDC recommendations for contact with him, thing just order online at Petsmart, not com or on the Petsmart app?
joy, easy curbside pick up for same day. Delivery powered by door dash free through January thirty. First, two thousand twenty one check out: Petsmart dot com for more details, Gary Cones, but twenty seven years at Goldman Sachs, the massive investment bank in financial services company. You never got the ceo job. He thought he get but publish unfiltered. Sorry for him. Two thousand seven alone, the first year of the financial crisis. This compensation was seventy two point: five million dollars monsieur that again. Seventy two point: five million dollars in two thousand seven, Goldman came through the crisis relatively well because of what to be called the Big short a bet against the mortgage market, whose collapse left any other firms and individuals in big trouble.
I mean Goldman hedged itself really. Well, it really smartly, but for the It should say american voter. They look at me say what are the goods and services they provide. What value to me, and why is a Gary cone wise making seventy two and a half million dollars a year when the euro, economy. The glow economy, were starting to totally crater in men. People really do think of Goldman as the giant vampire squid. You know sucking the sucking the lifeless Anything that they can see persuade me that the activities of a firm like Goldman are not essentially rent seeking and that the profits of such activities are not out of line with how we generally think of
a society like ours which creates opportunities for for all else. I completely understand the question. I'm not offended! You can see. I'm like. I get the question completely the service we provide and we are in the service industry. No different than other services that people pay for and we I serve- call me we're in the service of giving advice, inner mediating, providing liquidity in that's what people were willing to pay for, and we talk about that rent seeking it's interesting, because you even set yourself in in asking the question the the vast majority of the time were selling a bond on one hand, were representing that as well as selling the ban on the other in refining buyers. So we're literally have to do. Both sides of the transaction
and we are not taking a principled position in there- we are finding a buyer- by venezuelan bond at a certain interest rate were too into the Venezuelan Central Bank or the Treasury saying what rate but you issue at and trying to find a meeting of the mines in getting paid a fee in the middle which is fully disclosed above the buyer and seller. To do that, we should say that one case Golden They have been the last the last hardy to have been paid. by the Madeira Government- true, probably eyebrows every couple years, but you Here I mean it was a ninety million dollar payment by Maduro. I think it was the last money that was you know, made available for that kind of market argued that you may be right all the voters in two thousand, sixteen captivated by Donald Trump to dream the swamp Amanda
Gary cone was the swamp, at least at New York outpost. The ultimate insider. Wealthy beyond belief and, worse, yet did not even share trumps nationalist. Well, look! I'm it's no secret I am known as the globalist and the White House, you don't thank you bright Bart for putting little globes. Next, to my name, every time you print my name, it's one of my crowning successes in the White House that I am now known as a global is not, and I don't think I don't think it was a compliment by the way when they put it. It was the council inform requires a couple in Bermuda initiative might. But it was a compliment for me, though, so the fact that I'm a globalist, also a synonym for realist, because I leave? We live in a globalized world and were not putting that toothpaste back in the tube. I may look with the present ran. I call and call jobs I remember vividly
conversation with the president on coal jobs versus solar panel installers. We ended up putting tariffs on solar panels, which I didn't understand either and I did turn them one day, and I said, Mr President, how many Tom I have to have in the United States and how many solar panels large do we have I should like I'm out here trick operates. The answer: is we ve got about I'll, make it less than fifty thousand kilometers and United States in more than three hundred and fifty thousand solar panels lies and by the way, ten years ago we had no solar panels stars, it's a growth industry needs its. In fact, in California, you cannot build a house without solar panels is an industry that is going to continue to grow and we have the wreckage. Nice, where this country is going not with a country has been an was his connection to that's what most people consider an outdated belief was at political
that intellectual was it just kind of spiritual. I think it was all the above. I think your during his, formative years growing up com might have been an integral part in thinking about the the energy sectors, but clearly in states like westward Kenya and parts of Pennsylvania YO. He understood and he was a bit of a more getting genius on this, he understood in West Virginia in some Ohio in Pennsylvania, you better go talk about call any understood.
certain steel towns. When he looked at the empty steel mills, he should talk about bringing back steel jobs. The trump plan to bring back steel jobs, included, placing tariffs on foreign, steel and aluminium, along with solar panels and washing machines and hundreds of other imported goods, especially those made in China, and when you put tariffs on goods that people in the United States consume every day. It's a consumption tax, So all the terrorists dead? Is they made products that Americans we're gonna buy more expensive and in fact we got the final trade data numbers this morning for what trade deficit look like for last year in United States, and lo and behold, we had an all time record high trade deficit globally and which are, despite the best efforts of the White House right, but tariffs don't work. If anything,
They hurt the economy, because if, if your a typical american worker, you have a an amount of income to spend. If you have this, Ben more on the necessity. Products that you need to live, you have less to spend, the services that you want to buy an? U deftly dont, Anything left over to save. So to try and make the goods as cheap as possible, and we don't produce the goods in the United States. We import the goods from other countries and if we could produce the goods as cheaply as other countries do, we would produce a machine. I'd, say now: every Phd economist that I've ever come across
would agree, I would say, probably ninety nine and a half per cent with what you just saw a figure of ninety nine point: ninety nine, nine nine with us all we want, but the one that dozen is in the White House, there's bitter Navarro, there's only one in the world that we know Peter Navarro is director of the White House, National Trade Council position and office. That Trump seems to have created specifically for Navarro, according to Bob Woodward's fear Navarro referred Gary cone as a quote Wall Street Establishment Idiot borrows other ally on tariffs was Wilbur ROS. The investor trumpet chosen as commerce secretary look. I was losing the war on terror of everyday. With present, I knew I wasn't convincing am I was right. I was not going to take.
a seventy four year old man whose believe something since he was thirty and convince him that I was right but believe me, I tried, if I dont think I didn't try dont think I didn't use air Free example. I could try news from those in buildings to steal in buildings to the bike manufacture in Detroit I used every example I could come up and we know that Trump has his ways of thinking. He admits it he's not that didn't changing. We read a lot about how you and others tried to educate him. Things given new options, but at the end of the day it didn't work. So what does that say about? I guess either president, or the ability of our political system to absorb the best information. A deftly makes a statement about the power of the executor of the presidency ultimate like everyone in the White House works at the pleasure. The present
and I was more than happy- I was actually excited to go in and fight with Peter Navarro every day, and I was happy to be on the ninety nine point: nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine percent of the equation and explain in an use, real life, examples to what would happen and what would his defence be cause? It's hard to defend. When you look to be fair, there have been people in history, Copernicus who were outliers, but they were right. Ok, maybe that's Peter Navarro View. What what would his defence of his defence would be that where's the Copernicus that he would be right? I don't thank you or I will live long enough to ever see him right and the data just came out for last year. That proves that so far, he's completely wrong. So so far has been unable to show any one else:
he facts that he's right and when the presidency's these data, why does he not have a change of mind? I dont know I mean that it is data data numbers really dont law, yet you can manipulate numbers, but these are numbers put out by his own. commerce Department. These are not your numbers. These are not my numbers. These are his numbers. His commerce department put out a two thousand eighteen trade debt, of eight hundred and ninety one point something billion dollars. That's all time record I am a China number in. There was the biggest single numbered and all time record. That number, however, coincide with a newly my guess. Resurgent stock market could call writ reliance on him fair. It had a brief downfall you had a one month declared a bad December. It was a bad is about to set wretches, pretend permanent we happen to be speaking now in early march. Flitches pretend for a minute that there's been a bad January embed February to and lets say the marketed fallen, twenty five, thirty percent. Overall. Do you think that
would have substantially changed the president's view on tariffs and trade, particularly China, because I can see him It be easy, did not worry about the deficit numbers when the markets are doing well, a year you're asking a really good fun question you're. What are the benchmarks for success of the presidency? The stock market is the most obvious, most transparent, most talked about by the President benchmark of success. We can debate how much the president should be accountable for the stock market going we're going down. I mean that's an interesting debate. Alright, on the count of three we both say number one to ten. How influential we think was president is overall stock market right. I'm going to think of my number. You got your number one thousand two hundred and thirty three you even more cynical. That's this present. It really uses that he really uses it. Look at you
the term more, when the stack worth going up by the way that it does when going tat right by weight with everyone does what led to the strong market recovery after that bad December colony trip to a number of factors. The end of the month, long partial government shut down indications that the tree we're with China was moving towards Detente and vision by the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates, it's interesting because usually the chair, the FED, is, as we know wildly independent. But here is So the president pretty much came oh and said to J Powell the tariff had reserve. I would really prefer that you stop doing what you're doing and stop talking about raising interest rates. What's your view of that an end may ask a two part question. I know there was I've read at least that you weren't
did in that position? At one point, I don't know whether you under consideration, not your yoshino, don't look. I am totally not the person to be. Chairman of fat. I will I will I that is that, would that would be the worst position you could give to Gary come here to excitable? Oh, I know it's it's it's a real real, real academic position sitting with you now Phd economy. all day long in debating YO the economic tilt slant micro of the. U S, economy, it's not me Skills look want em. Why successes in life is knowing what I'm good at it more bluntly? when I'm not good at. I would not have been good at that. I totally you were there. That said, did you consider- and I don't mean to assail J Powell here, but Was it essentially a key?
the strong word, but was it a capitulation based on the president's wishes and should the FED work that way, I'm going to hope it wasn't going to hope it was I'm going to hope that Jay Paul and the FED governors in seeing all of the data they see they ve got more Phd economists than anyone else. They talk to all the companies, in the world, in the United States and the regional FED system is designed? bring them real time. Data from the local com. I surely hope- and I almost pray that what the FED did was reaction to what they were seeing in dad it that they felt that there was an actual slowing of the economy and they were in the wrong place. After a year in the White House, tax reform done Gary Cooper decided he'd had enough
the chronology goes something like this. We signed tax reform on December, twenty second, the Friday, twenty seventeen twenty. Seventy present left for more logo for vacation. I left with my family for vacation, We all came back in early January and I sat down and have had a one on one lunch with the present than I was at the point. Now, where I was getting ready to move on- and I said, look you know I'm I want to work few to make sure that a smooth transition that you hire someone I'm happy to work with you to transit. that person and I leave As soon as you need me do or I'll stay as long as you need me to, and was this with, the understanding that you were essentially losing the war on trade war. No, no, it really wasn't it
The issue is that the understanding that my my main mission of getting tax reform had been done, cones replacement was named, Larry COD, low and corn received, on the back from the president. This is scary, cones last meeting in the cabinet and of the cabinet and he's been terrific. He may be a globalist, but I still like I'm just to be clear: com, was losing the war on the trade war, but he says the reason you left the White House was because of how he was losing. So let the most important thing to me. And this is the way I have always lived. My life. Whether I was a Goldman Sachs brows at the White House is you have to have a set of policies and procedures to debate,
issues, and as long as you abide by the sets of policies and procedures to debate the issues and everyone gets their ample opportunity to express their point of view in an open form. That's a perfectly legitimate invite We need to work in the bed, idea, win and you're. Never gonna win every argument. You're, never gonna win every fight, but you're part of eighteen, When the team decides you're gonna, do the verses. Why even know your passionately think that? Why is right and axes definite IRAN? You have to be a team player Elliot when I worked the Gormans act for twenty seven years. It is the most team or into place in the world, so I believe in that team oriented approach. What happen in the White House. Is we got to a point, unfortunately, where one or two people
decided that they were will no longer be part of a process and a debate, and they were I use a direct connection to the president to at a meeting in call in sea egos of aluminum companies in steel companies too, who announce steel tariffs and aluminium terrorists with out there being a process and a procedure to set up a meeting without that If a staff, knowing there was a meeting without the Office of legal counsel having an executive order, a memo or anything to sign, and they created that. Meeting without anyone knowing these were Navarro and wheelbarrows. Yet, as institute knows whether Turkey, when the process breaks down, then you're, look sort of, in my mind, living in chaos. I dont want to live in a chaotic organ I live in an organisation- were people vehemently, disagree all day long as long as there's a
policy to be Emily dissipate when people and running the process and start trying to take over, That's, not an organisation that I want to be part of a since corn left the White House. A pattern has emerged, the trouble, illustration uses tariffs or the threat thereof, to leverage trading partners to renegotiate an old deal like NAFTA wars. they actually reconfigure the trading dynamic, as is the case with China. When I spoke with com, there is a lot of talk. New chinese deal with potentially close. That sentiment has proceeded still, I asked him: is it possible that a better? U S, China Trade Deal will come about and that it would have been possible without the tariffs he despises. There's absolutely possibility that they perhaps the one thing, the presently
completely a hundred percent agreed upon, is the chinese stealing of intellectual property? The force technology transfer into China the market, access for businesses into China? That has been a huge sue for the United States for years and the president. I completely agree on the biggest problem- China. I am not here defending China in China Policy in China tactics. I have been on the other side of the chinese issue for a long time. I just differ and how we get to a conclusion. What would you have proposed its different again? Let nothing has been resolved as as raw speak, but basically tariffs were used as a threat. Essentially that may but here's my problem with this, and in so tears were used as the threat did. It hurt the Chinese at all. We had record trade deficits so why
do the Chinese seem to be it at least at this point amenable or is it smokescreen? I think the? U S is desperate right now for a great, an agreement or a headline present. Neither with the only big open issue right now that he could claim is a big win that you hope would have. A big impact on the stock market would be a chinese resolution. Getting the trade deficit down, I will never say, is easy, but of the issues on the table that relatively easy getting the intellectual property, the forced technology transfer and the market access much more difficult. I think market access the Chinese will give because they been close, the giving it for a while. But how are we going to stop the Chinese from stealing intellectual property are not paying for how we can stop them from copyright infringement? What is the enforcement mechanism and what are the punitive damages if they don't stop
On balance, however, corn remains essentially a fan of president trumps economic agenda. The present has come in and looked at the tax system and looked at the economy and looked at the regulatory Invite government meant instead, hey can we can we as a federal gum can. We help stimulate economic growth, something that the administration had tried for eight years and never really got so the present did come in and say: look I do believe in creating a stronger America. I do believe in creating jobs at home. I do leave in wage growth and- and I do when making America more competitive and so those things that he has executed on and you have to give him credit
we ve had. We continue to have a pretty robust market, a pretty robust economy that there's a couple things going on in the: U S, they don't really get the attention they deserve. You know there's. One report that everyone in washing the geek world sort of hangs I've called a jolt reports, jobs, open job lost with seven three million job openings in the United States. These are like fifty sixty seventy thousand dollar jobs with benefits. So this points to you. You ve always been pro immigration generally anti wall. Yep. Did you try hard on that for with the president or look I tried a little bit, but honestly I I disdain my line of the economy. If I had bullets to shoot, I want to shoot him on the economy. I mean it's Polynesia argue that immigration is a major part of the economy, or so we have set, point. Three million job is the United States. We have six point three million unemployed people. If all those people were capable of working
which, though not we still have a million more jobs than people to fill up, so we need a million immigrants today, just a balance the equation. So this is very simple to me and then I think back you'll think about my grandparents, you'll they're all immigrants. There were the ones that help build this country. This country was was built by NATO's, but we had a huge immigrant population that came in and were really all that that the construction control the homes are the bricklayer electricians, the plumbers most of whom were immigrant labour and we were willing to work sixty seventy eighty ninety hours a week and we are willing to give dirty and in working, mostly people built good businesses, and indeed very well, for their families, cones grandmother. He told me recently died at age a hundred and if I live to my grandmother's Asia. I've got fifty years so dear
have you ever plan for year? Remaining yeah sumptuary ladder up have planned, but I'm doing a lot of interesting, thank God. You're, investing guess year. You ve always done a lot of philanthropy, knowing that now you're teaching some I'm teaching what about politics per se, I mean I'm I'm not an elected official and I never intend to be elected official. Let's make sure you know, I don't think I will I know it would never run framing. If I could serve my country again, I would never rule that out. I think it's one. The greatest honours that you can have is to serve your country, treasury secretary, maybe I beg you say: yes knock you to say no, but the others there's lots of ways to serve your country you in and obviously with your eyes, open. No, that there would be substantial disagreements. Are differences would did your expectation you'll? Let me stop you there yet, because you don't know that
right even on trade and tariff seed and look, I knew we would fight but again. I'm not sure. I know for sure that the Donald Trump that ran for office would be the Donald Trump I got when he got to the White House. I didn't I I didn't know you would get a moderate. I didn't know if the pressure of Conall and Ryan and Mccarthy was be able to move him. I just didn't know. First what was gonna happen. Give yourself a grade. That's a good question, never gotten in my life. I think to myself how I got ideas. I don't think it's I think, I'm moving out of the arguments. Appleby, that's a good grateful Jericho.
coming up next time and economics, radio, when you ve already appended food world by rewriting alot of its conventional wisdom. What comes next do know. Is that temptation you can't resist you open a restaurant. What could possibly go wrong these problems are insurmountable like how to fix this. We check in with Lord winning Food Rater Candy Lopez Alt one year after opening his restaurant to see what's working citizens, fine, we put in the money to do the big fix and it's all fine and which not we're making. This money we get people in the door. How do we actually turned into profit? Why you shouldn't open a restaurant next time and frequent
radio economics. Radio is produced by stature in w productions. This episode was produced by Zack Lookin Ski our staff also includes Alison, Craig Logris Ribbon Harry Huggins and Cornwallis a theme song Mr Fortune, hitchhikers. all the other music was composed by we scare. You can subscribe to finance radio and apple pod castle. Where every get your pack s entire archive is available on the stitched up or if we cannot start com but we also publish transcripts, show, notes and more. We can also on Twitter Facebook and linked in or view email radio at for economics that come for economics, radio, also please, on most of your better NPR stations check your local station for details. As always. Thank you very much for listening
Transcript generated on 2021-01-19.