White House trade adviser Peter Navarro discusses ‘phase one’ of U.S.-China trade deal and the outlook for the U.S. economy in 2020.
Charles Payne: We’ll hash it out some more. Thank you very much. Meanwhile, business leaders may be worried about a possible recession, and they’re concerned about trade in 2020, but my next guest, well, doesn’t appear all that worried, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Peter, I know you must be bursting.
Peter Navarro: Get those bitters off your set, Charles.
Charles Payne: [laughs] Man, you must be bursting at the seams, because I know you want to say, “I told you so, I told you so.”
Peter Navarro: [laughs] Oh, my, my, my. Hey, you know, my forecasting streak on the line here now. You know, I — day after the election, I said 25,000 on the Dow. Everybody said I was crazy. July, I said 30,000 on the Dow if we got USMCA passed and interest rates down, and we’re going to — 330 points today; we’re getting closer to that. I am bullish, and the reason why I’m bullish is because of the underlying strength of what I call the GDP growth engine, Charles. You know, it’s like four things that drive this economy, right? Consumption, investment, government spending, and exports. Every one of those under President Donald J. Trump is hitting on all cylinders.
Charles Payne: Yeah.
Peter Navarro: You know, the consumer, right? Low unemployment; rising wages; high optimism. That’s going to be the anchor of 2020. But you also have five trade deals that are going to kick in in force in 2020 with Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, and China. Right? Score that for exports. Here’s my sleeper, Charles. I don’t know, there wasn’t enough attention paid to passage of the appropriations bill and the National Defense Authorization Act a couple weeks ago. That is a built-in, beautiful fiscal floor for growth in 2020. And of course, investment, which lagged a bit in 2019 —
Charles Payne: Sure.
Peter Navarro: — hey, it’s coming to the greatest economy in the world right now —
Charles Payne: So —
Peter Navarro: — and the trade policy encourages it to come here because people know that we want production here, and if we don’t get it, they get tariffs.
Charles Payne: Peter, let me go over some of those things you said, because you’re absolutely right. We learned earlier in the week that our goods deficit with the rest of the world, the best it’s been in three years as our exports increase and our imports decline, particularly from China. You know, household formation is up. Consumer spending strong, wages strong, and people are saving money. Savings rate around 8 percent, so they’ve got dry powder.
Peter Navarro: Saving and spending. Beautiful.
Charles Payne: Saving and spending, an amazing combination. The spending is pegged to our wages, right? As long as wages are going up, people are going out and spending that extr money. Here’s what these bears, the professional bears, keep saying, and you heard a couple of them, is that — well, you know, because you just said the magic word “tariffs,” none are ever going to admit the tariffs work. They will never admit.
Peter Navarro: Yeah.
Charles Payne: Two years ago, we heard it was going to be Smoot-Hawley. It has not been Smoot-Hawley. Our economy did not go down 50 percent; our unemployment rate did not go from 6 percent to 25 percent. It is not 1933, 1932. But businesses are holding back. They are holding back, and that’s got some people anxious that, you know what, maybe —
Peter Navarro: Not sure they’re holding back that much more in 2020.
Charles Payne: You think they’re going to unleash their spending?
Peter Navarro: I think they’re going to unleash. I think what turned things around, Charles, was that jobs report, that blow-out jobs report, which basically finished off any doubt that we were going to have a good 2020. And again, you know, the smart money is going to look at what I told you about with that government spending with the appropriations bill and —
Charles Payne: Yeah, but the flip side of that, though, Peter — I’m going to jump in here. The flip side of that, though, is the smart money is saying, “Hey, the spending” — the — our debt, the ticking time bomb —
Peter Navarro: Yeah, well —
Charles Payne: — the Republicans talked about every single day when President Obama was in office. No one’s talking about now. Is it still —
Peter Navarro: Let’s make that —
Charles Payne: — a ticking timebomb?
Peter Navarro: Yeah. Let’s make that a short conversation. Until you see the bond market tell you it’s a ticking bomb, it isn’t a ticking time bomb. It’s basically putting in a beautiful fiscal floor to grow. And, you know, as the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, I’m particularly heartened by the nature of those expenditures because we got a really solid defense budget now. And, you know, I go around the country, places like the Philly Shipyard or the combat vehicle plants in, like, Lima, Ohio or York, Pennsylvania, the shipbuilding up in Marinette, Wisconsin, these are the places where line item by line item in the defense budget, the blue wall states —
Charles Payne: Right.
Peter Navarro: — the Midwest is —
Charles Payne: Right.
Peter Navarro: — absolutely booming. And this is what people don’t understand about President Trump. He not only does all the things at the macrolevel, right — deregulation, tax cuts, unleashing the energy sector, good trade policy — he works at the microlevel, one job at a time. He really takes a personal interest in job creation. And so, you see in the in these factories around the country where there’s steel, aluminum, combat vehicles, shipyards, whatever, these are where this this economy really derives —
Charles Payne: Well —
Peter Navarro: — its underlying strength. And that’s one of the untold stories of 2019 that I hope we can tell in 2020.
Charles Payne: Well, you’re going to have to keep telling it. I don’t think anyone — I don’t think the people that said you were wrong are ever going to admit that, “You know what —
Peter Navarro: [laughs]
Charles Payne: — that this thing is working.” The media is never going to admit it. But I’ve got to tell you, Peter Navarro, I got to let you go, but you deserve a bow in the victory lap, my friend.
Peter Navarro: Hey, 2020 is going to be a great year, Charles Payne. And you’re going to do a great job all through the year. I look forward to talking as much as we can.
Charles Payne: We’ll see you soon. You know, it’s —
Peter Navarro: Bye-bye.