Social Network
16 Nobel Prize-winning economists claim Trump will wreck our economy. This is the reason I don't trust them
June 27 2024, 08:00

There they go again. Sixteen Nobel Prize-winning economists recently penned an open letter arguing that "[President] Biden’s economic agenda is vastly superior to [President] Trump [sic]."  The principal argument, echoing recent Democratic talking points, is that a second Trump presidency could actually increase inflation.  Never mind that inflation never materially exceeded 2% during the Trump administration, nor that President Biden has presided over the highest inflation in 40 years. 

The field of economics purports to be a science, priding itself on intellectual rigor and evidence-based assessments.  Yet just as campus protests lifted the veil on the radical, fact-free academic culture that infects many American universities, academic economists’ recent record of political advocacy is a potent reminder of why Americans have come to dismiss the dismal science. 

The contrast between President Trump and President Biden’s economic records could not be more clear.  President Trump’s record of tax reform and deregulation powered the American economy to the fastest real wage increases in a generation.  Real incomes increased by nearly 10% from 2017 to 2019, with real wages rising fastest among lower income workers. 


The Biden administration’s blowout spending and regulatory restraints on the supply side of the economy unleashed insidiously persistent inflation that has eroded Americans’ finances and purchasing power.  The median inflation-adjusted income for American families has fallen by $2,080 since 2020.  In contrast, real median income increased by $4,400 in 2019 alone, a record increase for a single year.  

Americans’ dissatisfaction with Bidenomics comes not from social media or bad press coverage, but from their lived experience of rising standards of living under President Trump and economic hardship under President Biden. 

Thirteen of these Nobel laureates also signed a 2021 letter in support of the American Rescue Plan and the broader Biden economic agenda, just as it ignited an inflationary surge that peaked at 9.1% in June 2022.  The first signature on both letters comes from George Akerlof, a 2001 Nobel laureate who is married to President Biden’s Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen.  This is transparent political advocacy, laundered through the imprimatur of the economics profession. 


Academic economists have consistently discredited themselves by wrongly warning against the policies of President Trump. In 2020, more than 700 economists, including several Nobel laureates, penned a letter arguing that President Biden’s economic policies would be better for the U.S. economy. 

Similarly, a group of 370 economists, including eight Nobel laureates, warned in November 2016 that a Trump administration posed a "unique danger…to the prosperity of the country." 

As we now know, aggregate real household net worth increased by 28% under President Trump, rising by over 120% for the bottom 50% of households. Under President Biden, real household net worth has stagnated, increasing only 2% on aggregate and 16% for the bottom 50% of households thus far. Evidently, political ideology, not sober analysis, guides much of the economics profession. 

The further politicization of economic "science" is an unwelcome development for a discipline that should be focused on rebuilding its credibility after the economic policy errors of recent years. Contrary to the public predictions of many of these economists, it was not inflation, but their credibility, that turned out to be transitory. 

Harry Truman is said to have asked for a "one-handed economist"—because all the economists he knew seemed to want to have it both ways: "On the one hand … but on the other …" 

Today’s economists seem to have the opposite problem: Their certainty vastly exceeds their knowledge or predictive power. Given their recent records of motivated reasoning, the real wonder is that anyone takes their latest pronouncement seriously, instead of seeing it as the partisan gamesmanship it is.