A senior member of Trump's own economic team has admitted that Trump's shutdown of the federal government could literally crash U.S. economic growth to zero percent if it's allowed to continue much longer.
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, appeared on CNN to discuss the shutdown. Anchor Poppy Harlow pointed out that the shutdown has already shaved off half a percent of growth from the U.S. GDP — and that Hassett's own estimates show that growth could slow to 1 percent if the shutdown continues into March.
"Couldn't we then see zero growth if [the shutdown] persists through the end of the quarter?" Harlow asked.
After Hassett dissembled for a bit, Harlow persisted: "Could we get zero growth? I just want to nail this down."
"Yes, we could," he eventually replied.
The admission is a rare moment of honesty from the Trump team about the wide-reaching harms from Trump's completely unnecessary shutdown.
Trump has shut down the federal government because Congress won't agree to waste $5.7 billion of taxpayer money on a southern border wall that will do nothing to either enhance border security or fix America's immigration system.
Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have passed legislation in the House to reopen the government. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), ever the staunch Trump ally, refused to allow a vote on such legislation until this week — and those votes are likely to fail.
Meanwhile, over 800,000 federal workers are either being temporarily forced to work without pay, or permanently losing income because they are unable to work at all. Many now face food shortages and the danger of being evicted from their homes. This hardship has ripple effects across the entire economy and on millions of American lives.
Americans widely oppose the shutdown, do not believe a wall is a worthy reason to shut down the government, and blame Trump and Republicans for forcing the whole country to endure this debilitating and embarrassing episode.
Trump has already started chipping away at the economic recovery that began under President Barack Obama. Trump and his fellow Republicans enacted a tax scam that gave the ultra-wealthy a boost while doing nothing for working families, and launched a trade war costing farmers billions in lost sales.
Now Trump is presiding over the longest, and likely the most destructive, government shutdown in U.S. history.
A zero-growth quarter would be devastating to America's economy and the global markets. It is not necessary. The only reason it is even a possibility is because Trump is having a tantrum, and Republicans in Congress are giving in to him.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.