in-town pool report #4 - brief Navarro gaggle

From: Kim, Seung Min <>
Sent: Friday, December 4, 2020 3:34 PM
Subject: in-town pool report #4 - brief Navarro gaggle

Good afternoon from a still-quiet White House.

A couple of us briefly gaggled with Peter Navarro on the driveway on the day’s economic news, as well as the ongoing coronavirus relief talks on Capitol Hill.

On what a covid relief package should include: Navarro referenced his WSJ op-ed with CEA chairman Tyler Goodspeed: “The issue you're seeing right now is ,all the good we did in phase three …. in terms of relief to small business, in terms of stimulus checks, in terms of enhanced unemployment benefits are or have lapsed, and we have the danger of America falling, a lot of workers falling into a chasm right now.”

“And the argument that we made in that op-ed was, was that we need a fiscal bridge to get us to the point where the vaccine down the road takes hold, and we can get somewhat back to normal but the other thing in that op-ed that's really important is that we're not getting back to normal. It's not going to be 100% normal.

“We have these significant structural changes in our economy that have been brought about by the China virus in key sectors: Entertainment, restaurants, sports, transportation, and when we're having effectively service sector refugees, particularly from our major metropolitan areas, -- which, if you think about it that the CCP virus, the Chinese Communist Party virus hit in the main pillars of our urban areas, right? It's the high rise office buildings. It's the mass transit, and it's the -- it's the concentration of entertainment, restaurants and things like that.”

“That's a hat trick that you never want to have. So, the point is that Capitol Hill needs to do its job right now they need to do it quick. They need to stop fiddling around while Rome is burning.”

On his views on the $908 billion topline, whether he has a view on it: “No. I mean look, I'm just saying. There's a train wreck coming, folks. Okay? And it's your job to flip the switches so, so that the trains don't hit.”

On unemployment compensation: “You can't do the 600 again. I don't think we can get to an agreement on that. One size should not fit all states, and you have obvious cost of living issues, it's a lot cheaper in Maine than California, so you can't give the same size check to each state, that's just, it's just bad economics. And I think the Democrats, understand that as well. If they don't, then they need to.”

Disappointed that current discussions don’t appear to include stimulus checks, does POTUS want that in there? “I'm not getting involved at the micro level, that’s not my job. We got negotiators and things like that.”

On today’s jobs report: “What I'm seeing now I'm not liking it. Today's unemployment report, it  missed its mark, ok? But more importantly it revealed some of these structural underlying issues that we're going to have to deal with.”

Concerned that economy is on verge of contraction: “We have in math what's called a second derivative. The first derivative is, is the all the trends that’ve been moving up for many months now. Okay, very favorable. But they're moving up now at a decreasing rate. That's the second derivative. Right. And when that happens, it's only a matter of time, unless you intervene, that, that the trend flips and you start going in the wrong direction. That's where we're at.”

Seung Min Kim
White House reporter
The Washington Post

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