Trump to Gary Cohn: “Just Print More Money!”

Trump to Gary Cohn: “Just Print More Money!” September 11, 2018

I honestly don’t know if this is more funny, more terrifying, or more sad.

I absolutely believe it to be true.

So for those who still labor under the belief that Donald Trump is some sort of businessman extraordinaire, just hold that thought. I could be wrong, but wouldn’t one of the table legs of business require at least an elementary knowledge of economics?

According to the new Bob Woodward book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” there was a Trump Tower conversation between the president-elect and the man that would serve as his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn.

As Cohn attempted to explain to Trump that the Federal Reserve would likely raise rates during his term, and all that entailed, Trump got excited. His best, good brain was sputtering to life and forming a plan.

“We should just go borrow a lot of money, hold it, and then sell it to make money,” Trump said, according to the book.


While Trump was correct that many private businesses issue debt at a time of low interest rates, Cohn was “astounded at Trump’s lack of basic understanding” about what the government borrowing would mean, Woodward wrote.

That part may be a bit unbelievable. I don’t think there is anyone who has spent more than a passing amount of time with him who are shocked to find Donald Trump doesn’t know something.

During the campaign, Trump ran on a promise to eliminate the federal debt during his presidency. Borrowing more would increase the deficit and add to that debt, Cohn explained. The president-elect offered a solution.

Nope. He still had some juice left.

“Just run the presses — print money,” Trump said, according to Woodward.

Print money.

So simple… Why has no one thought of that before?

Cohn suggested that would be detrimental to the fiscal and economic health of the US, since printing vast amounts of money is thought to lead to inflation. But Trump returned to the idea later in the conversation.

He wasn’t getting it. He wasn’t listening.

“It was clear that Trump did not understand the way the US government debt cycle balance sheet worked,” Woodward wrote.

Trump’s view on the debt is perhaps best espoused by Modern Monetary Theory, a burgeoning theory among some economists positing that the federal debt is not an economic restraint for the US. But MMT is not generally accepted by lawmakers of either party, most likely making it politically untenable at this point.

Can I just point out here that mad spending is not a conservative thing? We keep getting these lessons on “conservatism” by Trump’s most faithful, even though very little of what he does or suggests is actually rooted in conservatism.

Since that time, President Trump and Cohn have had further fallouts, in regards to Trump’s economic and foreign policy.

Most recently, Cohn advised against Trump’s tariffs policy, urging him to reconsider, lest it ruin the nation’s economy.

A lot have advised against that, actually, but he only has advisers for show.

Because of that particular falling out, Cohn resigned.

In the aftermath, farmers are hurting, as are automakers and other businesses.

Trump still insists it will work out.

We’ll see, but if it gets too tough, we can just print more money, right?


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  • JASmius

    There are so many similarities between Trump on one hand and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on the other. The tyrannical instincts, the arrogance, the narcissistic self-regard, the corruption and moral bankruptcy, the congenital mendacity. But the one thing that sets Trump apart from his fellow Democrat predecessors is that he makes no attempt whatsoever to hide his true nature.

    Bill Clinton was almost Thespian in his acting ability – recall the Ron Brown funeral in 1995 when he was laughing and joking until he noticed a camera and instantly began weeping on cue. It was one of the most remarkably phony transformations I’ve ever seen, but it worked, and most Americans bought it. Barack Obama was able to fake gravitas for almost a decade in the confident knowledge that his skin color would insulate him from any substantive challenge to whatever smoothly oily words he spewed into the public firmament. These were very bad men but they were able to project a positive image that helped win them a combined four elections.

    Trump, by stark contrast, never puts on airs; he wouldn’t have the self-discipline to do so even if he wanted to. He is completely WYSIWYG. He perpetually and eternally wears his true self on his faux-gilded sleeve. Something that one would have thought would repulse Republican voters, not enchant them. With Clinton and Obama, Democrat voters were “in on the joke”. They knew who and what those POTUSes really were and what they really stood for, which is most of why there was never any chance of them abandoning either one of them when the going got tough (which it never really did for Red Barry, alas). But Redcaps were duped from day one and stubbornly remain that way. They threw away their principles and core beliefs to “go MAGA”. That reveals not only a moral and ideological equivalency with the left, but also lends credence to the long-touted leftwingnut taunt that there’s a conspicuous intelligence disparity between the Left and the Right. Trump gives ever impression of being determined to drive his “train” straight off the metaphorical cliff, with he and his cult delusionally cheering all the “winning” all the way to the ground below.

    Thus is blindingly obvious ignorance and incompetence, about the national debt, federal overborrowing, and pretty much everything else, celebrated as “shaking up the status quo”. The irony being that it is accelerating the day when the people who wrote the book on metastasizing debt expansion and rampant federal borrowing will once again be running the country.

  • Polarbearpapa

    15 Fools wear themselves out—

    they don’t know enough

    to find their way home.

    Ecclesiastes 10

  • Marcion

    To be fair this is basically how Bush paid for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So really Trump is part of a long conservative tradition here.

  • Polarbearpapa

    And what was the reason GW went to war in those two countries ( it has something to do with the date of your post)…

  • Marcion

    Bush went to war in Afghanistan was because America demanded blood for 9/11. He went to war in Iraq because of lies:

  • Polarbearpapa

    Of course you would say that…

    What other reason would you have posted your first comment if you weren’t a real fan of G W Bush…

  • Marcion

    Of course I’m not a fan. He’s a war criminal who ran a worldwide campaign of torture.

    But beyond his evil I think it’s very telling that conservatives never ask how they’re going to pay for war. It suggests they don’t have any problems with massive spending in principle, just how it’s spent. I think that lack of principle is useful in understanding how the Republican party went from the party of Bush to the party of Trump.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Well fortunately for us here in ‘Murica, Trump will have all that money pouring in from his Tariffs to offset the wars he’s trying to start with N. Korea and in the ME. We’ll also be saving a lot of money by abandoning our allies (just think of the money we won’t have to spend defending them after we exit NATO and our defense alliances with S. Korea and Japan.

    Of course that will leave US without allies should Russia and China team up against us and should Europe turn to Russia for their trade and energy needs and it will likely increase our costs (should the wartime need arise) for transporting our equipment back to Europe not to mention the loss of life should we need to re-conquer European beach-heads again should Russia over-run Europe in a lightning first-strikc, but hey – Trump’s saving us money in the short-term – right ?

    Now if we could only get a working missile defense to protect against the N. Korean, Russian and Chinese ICBMs for when Trump goes nuclear as he has stated he wants to do….

  • Mother124

    Yup…we elected a “very stable genius,” with a “very good brain,” dontcha know!

  • So this is an op-ed piece that is using an op-ed piece for its source.


  • loveandcommonsense

    Polarbearpapa do you really think Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11? More than say, the Saudis, who we shamelessly cozied up to and still do? Open your eyes my friend.

  • Ellen Elmore

    I do not believe Trump was a “brilliant” business man. He was the head of the company but somebody else must have been running it. Just like a shadow government Trump had a shadow CEO. Either that or Trump is the dumbest president in history.

  • Marcion

    Your thinking is too conventional. The real threat isn’t a Sino-Russian alliance conquering Europe. It will come from the sky. The Russians could disguise troop transports as charter flights and use paratroopers to capture small towns in rural Colorado! Then America would be forced to spend billions of dollars arming and training high school students as guerrilla warriors to retake the American heartland. But hey – Trump’s saving us money in the short-term – right ?

  • captcrisis

    Probably his business empire was run like his White House is: everyone knows he is a buffoon, so he’s kept out of the loop, while it’s his family members and his lieutenants who actually make the decisions and run things.