Coronavirus and Your Money: Special Coverage
By Kerry Close
June 2, 2016
A recent survey of economists found the presidential hopefuls received failing grades for their economic policies.
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Remaining presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders completed their higher education at some of the nation’s most elite institutions. In economics, however, all three are receiving a failing grade.

The field of candidates received a “F” grade from half of 24 economists surveyed by Most of the other experts gave the candidates a “D.”

The economists doled out poor marks because they found the candidates’ plans poorly-formulated. They also bemoaned a lack of serious economic debate throughout the campaign.

The harsh criticism transcended party lines. “Trump’s policies are so vacuous, so lacking in detail and void of logic they are basically useless,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economists at the Economic Outlook Group. “Hillary Clinton’s proposals may be more substantive, but she has flip-flopped on issues as well, and is openly pandering to attract Bernie Sanders loyalists. Frankly, Trump and Clinton are the least desirable candidates for the presidency in recent history.”

Some economists were more generous with their assessments of the presidential hopefuls. Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, gave the candidates a “C.” Seth Harris of Cornell University said the Democrats deserved an “A,” while the Republican side scored a “D.”

Still, President Obama’s economic policies did not make top grades either. The group as a whole gave him a C+ average grade for his economic efforts during his two terms.

“No serious steps were taken to address the underlying economic issues, and the federal debt situation has gotten much worse,” said Robert Hughes, senior research fellow with the American Institute for Economic Research.

However, there is good news for the outlook of the American economy. In the same survey, the economists predicted that the unemployment rate will drop to 4.7% in the next year, and 63% said there’s a less than 25% chance of a recession occurring in the same time period.

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