Goldman: Trump Accidentally “Reduces The American Economy’s Speed Limit”


When you go out and you do something that everyone tells you is, if not completely crazy, at least ill-advised, the least you can do is make yourself aware of the likely consequences.

Now if you want to write off the societal consequences as immaterial when something like national security is at stake, that’s one thing. I mean don’t get me wrong, giving no f*cks whatsoever about refugees is not a policy I condone. But if you’re convinced that national security demands it, well then you can stomach some protests because after all, if only those protesters knew what you know about all the myriad plots and schemes being hatched in the banned countries, they’d surely thank you. Or something.

But it’s harder to write off economic realities as immaterial. If someone tells you, for instance, that you’re causing untold misery for thousands of people who, as a result of your order, will be forced to return to sectarian hell, you can just resort to the whole “America first” thing. On the other hand, if someone tells you that you just lopped a quarter percentage point off the economy’s potential growth rate, well then you can’t really claim “America first” anymore. You accidentally put “America last.” Or at least “not first.”

Think about that as you read the following short passage from a Goldman note out Sunday.

Via Goldman

Other downside risks are also emerging. In particular, the Trump administration’s travel ban for refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries—now halted by the federal courts—could portend more severe restrictions on immigration than we had built into our assumptions. For context, net immigration currently contributes 0.4pp to annual population growth; we estimate that it accounts for almost the entire trend increase in the labor force and up to one-quarter of the economy’s 1¾% potential growth rate. Greater immigration restrictions could therefore significantly reduce the economy’s “speed limit.”


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