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Trump's policies would cause 'lengthy recession': Moody's

Donald Trump's plan to "make America great again" would result in a two-year-long recession and a sharp increase in unemployment, among other ills, according to a Moody's Analytics report.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he will negotiate better trade deals, clamp down on illegal immigration and enact major tax cuts that he believes will restore American competitiveness. The Moody's Analytics economists, though, see a darker future.

They envision a country with 3.5 million lost jobs, much larger debts and deficits, and an economy that will contract. The billionaire businessman's tax cuts largely will benefit the wealthy while household incomes will stagnate and asset values fall, according to the report from Mark Zandi, Chris Lafakis, Dan White and Adam Ozimek.

"The economy will be significantly weaker if Mr. Trump's economic proposals are adopted. Under the scenario in which all his stated policies become law in the manner proposed, the economy suffers a lengthy recession and is smaller at the end of his four-year term than when he took office," the report said. "By the end of his presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7 percent, compared with below 5 percent today.

"During Mr. Trump's presidency, the average American household's after-inflation income will stagnate, and stock prices and real house values will decline."

Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Moody's said it will soon release a similar analysis on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
Ralph Freso | Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Trump has vowed to replace the current tax code and slash top marginal rates across the board. He wants to triple the size of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement force and has threatened a 35 percent tariff on products from companies that outsource labor. He also has proposed a raft of other spending increases, from veterans benefits to military spending, while allowing for no cutbacks in Social Security or Medicare benefits.

Moody's is not the first to point out the spiraling debt and deficit problem the proposals will engender. Most other economists have estimated the national debt will increase by about $11 trillion, or near the same level it has grown during President Barack Obama's administration.

For his part, Trump has promised that burgeoning economic growth will pay for his plans, and has emphasized that the proposals are starting points that he will negotiate once in office. But economists remain doubtful.

"Under the scenarios in which Congress significantly waters down his policy proposals, the economy will not suffer as much, but would still be diminished compared with what it would have been with no change in economic policies," Moody's said.

The report said Trump's tax proposals resemble others in Washington in terms of reducing rates and closing loopholes and deductions. What sets his apart is scale — $9.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade, which would take revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product to its lowest level since World War II.

Moody's estimates that the recession from Trump's proposals would run from 2018 into 2020, during which time GDP would fall 2.4 percent, or more than the decline during the Great Recession, while the jobless rate would peak at 7.4 percent in 2021 (it was 10 percent at the height of the last downturn).

"For the typical American family, Mr. Trump's policies will mean that their standard of living will effectively go nowhere, at least during his term in office," the report said, adding, " It will be a difficult four years for the typical American family."