Trump Adviser Says Goldman Sachs Economists Are Playing Politics

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration may have a preference for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumni, but it’s less of a fan of the firm’s research.

The bank’s economics team "almost at times looks like the Democratic opposition," Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. “Maybe they’re just trying to make a partisan point before the elections."

Hassett was taking issue with recent estimates from the firm’s strategists that a 25 percent tariff on imports from China could erase earnings growth for S&P 500 companies in 2019. He also criticized the bank’s analysis of last year’s tax cuts, which he termed "really, really wrong and timed in a partisan way."

In January, Goldman Sachs economists led by Jan Hatzius predicted tax and spending increases would widen the fiscal deficit by at least 1.5 percentage points by the end of 2021 relative to the Congressional Budget Office’s June 2021 forecast.

Leslie Shribman, a spokeswoman for New York-based Goldman Sachs, declined to comment.

Hassett worked with Goldman Sachs’s former president Gary Cohn, who served as head of Trump’s National Economic Council until he resigned earlier this year after failing to block tariffs on steel and aluminum. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also spent more than a decade at the bank.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.