Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, who chaired President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, said Monday he doesn't think Donald Trump knows what his own plans are for the nation's economy but that likely general election challenger Hillary Clinton isn't much better off with her own.
"I don't think he knows what his plan is," Feldstein told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on her "Mornings with Maria"
show. "I sure don't know what his plan is. What he says is [that] I would like to do it, but it won't pass, so what are we supposed to think?"
Meanwhile, Feldstein said he thinks the nation's economy is in "good shape," with an unemployment rate of 5 percent and inflation at 2 percent and rising, but he does worry about what the Federal Reserve is doing.
"You and I talked about it before, with the feds keeping interest rates super low and building risks into the economy," he said. "We want to get stronger growth going forward. Serious tax reform, particularly in the business and corporate area, would be a good thing. Whether we could get that through Congress remains to be seen."
And as far as Trump is concerned, "I think that he knows how to put good one-liners," said Feldstein. "The question is what will get through the House of Representatives. Frankly, I don't think Donald Trump is going to be our next president."
The key question, with Clinton, said Feldstein, will be whether she will negotiate with House Speaker Paul Ryan to get items through Congress, or "does she want to blame Republicans for her failure to get things done?"
But at the same time, the economist said Clinton "doesn't have a very articulate tax plan."
"How's she going to do it?" said Feldstein. "As I said, the key question if she's president is that she wants to negotiate with Ryan, in order to have something to show for the next few years or does she want to spend her time attacking Republicans for their failure to cooperate?"
And, he continued, Democrats could lose seats in the House and Senate, putting Ryan and House Republicans in a place "to prevent bad things from happening."
The nation's big problem, from a fiscal point of view, is the nation's long-term deficit, said Feldstein.
"Our debt is growing very rapidly," said Feldstein. "You have to slow the growth of entitlements. We have not heard that. At least I have not heard from Trump, that but I'm not listening carefully enough. Not heard it from Hillary either. But that's the reality. If we don't do that we will see the deficit and the debt going up and up."
Meanwhile, Trump's language "doesn't sound like a Republican president; on foreign policy it doesn't sound like it. We just don't know. There's too much uncertainty surrounding Trump's policies and foreign policy and trade."
But he does think Trump "has done a wonderful job of marketing himself. I don't say he couldn't do it again...If you have to bet, I would bet that will have Hillary in the White House."
That makes it doubly important, Feldstein said, that Republicans maintain control of the House "to make sure she is forced to negotiate rather than to think that she can simply put the blame for the failure to get policies."
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