Almost 700 economists — with the November 3 election right around the corner — have strongly opposed the re-election of US President Donald Trump, stating that he has carried out a "sustained assault on democratic institutions".
In the open letter, the economists, citing several reasons to back their stance, said: "[Trump] put his family members in charge of critical government functions during a pandemic, called for his political opponents to be thrown in prison, normalised corruption, and weakened the economic recovery with selfish and reckless behaviour."
Prominent economists from major institutions, including Nobel laureates Paul Milgrom (2020) and Oliver Hart (2016) and Alvin Roth (2012), and George Akerlof, the Nobel winning husband of former federal reserve chief Janet Yellen, signed the letter, reported CNN.
The economists said that Trump's "chaotic and ineffective approach" to negotiation had damaged relations with trade partners, interrupted supply chains, degraded international norms, and harmed American farmers — all without achieving his stated goal of reducing the trade deficit.
"Even his landmark trade deal, the USMCA, is not projected to have a meaningful impact on either GDP or the trade deficit," the letter said.
Voicing support for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's economic plans, the letter, citing analysts at Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics, said that if implemented, it would "actually generate faster growth in both employment and real GDP".
"[Trump] claimed to have the unique ability to generate growth (in real GDP) of between 4% and 6%, but never surpassed 2.9% in his first three years in office," the letter said.
The economists, slamming the US president's response to the pandemic, said that health experts had described it as turning "a crisis into a tragedy" and having underperformed relative to other democracies by "orders of magnitude."
The open letter observed that Trump had "consistently undermined" the independence and credibility of America's major health agencies, eroding public trust in their approvals and recommendations at exactly the time when the country "most desperately need it".
Trump's behaviour during the COVID-19 outbreak endangered public health, the economic recovery, and the safe re-opening of schools, the letter said.
"He undermined mask use and social distancing, held indoor rallies, encouraged the use of unproven and potentially dangerous medical substances, downplayed the severity of the pandemic, and hosted a super spreader event that incapacitated the White House and forced military leadership into quarantine," it said.
The letter also highlighted that Trump "regularly spreads dangerous misinformation", even during times of crisis, and that he had been the single largest source of misinformation during the pandemic.
"For these reasons, we strongly recommend that the electorate do what no one else can: reclaim your democracy by voting to remove Donald Trump from office," the letter concluded.