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Over 900 economists, including Nobel Laureates, sign open letter urging Americans to vote against Donald Trump

The letter will be updated until November 3. As of October 28, the letter has 907 signatories including 2020 Nobel Prize winner Paul Milgrom, 2016 winner Oliver Hart and 2012 winner Alvin Roth, besides George Akerlof – Nobel Laureate and husband of former US Fed Chief Janet Yellen

October 28, 2020 / 02:37 PM IST
US President Donald Trump (File image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US President Donald Trump (File image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Over 900 economists, including Nobel Laureates, have signed an open letter urging Americans to oppose the re-election of US President Donald Trump. The letter will be updated until November 3.

As of October 28, the letter has 907 signatories, including 2020 Nobel Prize winner Paul Milgrom, 2016 winner Oliver Hart and 2012 winner Alvin Roth. Also on the signatory list is George Akerlof – Nobel Laureate and husband of former US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen.

On the economy, the signees 'strongly urged' voters not to re-elect Trump listing his “chaotic and ineffective approach to negotiation with trade partners,” which they claim has harmed American farmers and interrupted supply chains.

“He claimed to have the unique ability to generate growth (in real GDP) of between 4 percent and 6 percent, but never surpassed 2.9 percent in his first three years in office,” the letter pointed out, adding that Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics’ analysts have backed Joe Biden’s economic plans.

The letter noted that most of the Trump’s past economic promises – such as reduction in unemployment and fiscal and trade deficits are yet to be met, because they “weren’t achievable using his proposed policies and this remains true in 2020.”

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On the country’s COVID-19 response, they pointed out Trump’s “managerial incompetence” has “damaged the credibility and effectiveness of the public sector”, noting that family members and “acting heads… were put in charge of critical pandemic response initiatives.”

“He has consistently undermined the independence and credibility of our major health agencies, including the FDA, CDC and National Institutes of Health, eroding public trust in their approvals and recommendations at exactly the time when we most desperately need it,” they stated.

They also accused Trump of “overemphasising the conflict between economic growth and public health,” further noting that his personal behaviour, such as undermining mask use, spreading of misinformation and endorsing unproven medical options, has endangered public health.

“In just one term in office, Trump has rendered the US unrecognisable, and has faced no consequences for doing so. He has carried out a sustained assault on democratic institutions, put his family members in charge of critical government functions during a pandemic, called for his political opponents to be thrown in prison, normalised corruption, and weakened the economic recovery with selfish and reckless behaviour. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that the electorate do what no one else can: reclaim your democracy by voting to remove Donald Trump from office,” the letter stated.

Check the full list of signatories here. (Note: Institutions are listed for identification purposes and should not be viewed as signatories to the letter.)

Meanwhile, Samantha Zager, Trump campaign's deputy national press secretary in response noted the lack of mention of opponent Biden in the letter.

“It speaks volumes that in their baseless admonition of President Trump, these left-wing academics couldn't name a single reason why they believe Biden would do anything positive for the American economy,” she told CNN Business.

Notably however, 13 economists – recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (including Hart and Akerlof), endorsed Biden’s bid for presidency in a separate letter, stating that despite “different views on the particulars of various economic policies”, they believed Biden is the better candidate.

“We express our support for the economic principles and policies of Joe Biden. We believe his overall economic agenda will improve our nation’s health, investment, sustainability, resilience, employment opportunities, and fairness and be vastly superior to the counterproductive economic policies of Donald Trump,” the letter stated.

They pointed to Biden’s deference to “science-based, public health solutions” as one of the reasons for the support. “… Biden’s economic agenda will do far more than Trump’s to increase the economic strength and well-being of our nation and its people. Simply put, Biden’s policies will result in economic growth that is faster, more robust, and more equitable,” it added.

Jocelyn Fernandes
first published: Oct 28, 2020 02:37 pm