Climate Change

Mnuchin Tells Climate Activist to ‘Study Economics’ Before Speaking

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke to the press at Davos, Switzerland this morning where he was asked about teen climate activist Greta Thunberg's call for the world to divest from fossil fuels.

Rather than seriously address the issue, Mnuchin said Thunberg needs to 'study economics' and get back to him.

"Is she the chief economist or who is she? I'm confused," Mnuchin said, before adding this was "a joke. That was funny."

"After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us," Mnuchin said.

Thunberg, alongside 20 other young climate activists, has called on global leaders attending the forum to stop the "madness" of ongoing investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction and "completely divest" from fossil fuels.

You know who really needs to study economics?

Steve fuckin' Mnuchin.

Mnuchin also participated in an interview with CNBC while at Davos this morning where he said the federal deficit is becoming unsustainable and, while he's not necessarily wrong about that, he said the Trump regime's $1.5 trillion tax cut is not responsible for the widening deficit.

He also said the White House is drafting more tax cuts.

As he acknowledged the administration of Republican President Donald Trump was considering additional tax cuts to stimulate the economy, Mnuchin blamed government spending - and Democrats in Congress - for the federal deficit.

In an interview with CNBC, Mnuchin said increased military and non-military spending was the cause of the deficits, not the tax cuts pushed through Congress by Trump in late 2017.

He said he remained convinced that those cuts would pay for themselves over a 10-year period. Yet economic growth rates have slowed this year as the benefits of the tax cuts fade and tariffs imposed on Chinese imports hurt American farmers and manufacturers.

So, tell me, who is the economic neophyte here?

Is it the teen climate activist or is it the 57-year-old movie producer who still believes tax cuts pay for themselves even though that has literally never happened and is not currently happening? As Treasury secretary, Mnuchin can look directly at the data himself and see that the tax cuts aren't paying for themselves. There's no excuse for him to say such nonsense.

Thunberg actually has some big guns on her side including BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink who recently announced that the $7 trillion asset manager, the world's largest, would divest from coal and require all of their clients to present their plans for sustainability and climate change.

The European Union is also organizing a $1 trillion investment fund to transform the bloc's economy and become carbon-neutral over the next 30 years.

  • muselet

    Greta Thunberg replied in impressive fashion:

    ”My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.” [from her Twitter feed]

    “So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she continued.

    I wonder if Steve Mnuchin realizes he just had his arse handed to him by a teenaged girl.

    I like the reaction of TPM commenter ‘j.dave’:

    Quite a juxtaposition of personalities.

    On one hand, there’s an egomaniacal in-way-over-their-head adolescent with nothing better to do than attack serious people around the world who are working on grown-up solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

    On the other hand, there’s Greta Thunberg.

    Mnuchin is an archbishop in the Holy Church of the 1%. He genuinely believes the nonsense that falls out of his pie hole. Tax cuts are always appropriate and beneficial. Government services are evil (except when they benefit the well-to-do). Economic growth will surge if only we cut taxes and services and regulations enough. Clap harder, peasants, or your impoverishment will be your own fault!

    I was much happier when I could ignore useless meatsacks like Steve Mnuchin (and his boss).


    • katanahamon

      Yes. It’s so..depressing. I’ve decided to start baking croissants again, there’s a great organic butter, Straus, at Whole Foods that’s 85% butterfat. Found a fantastic recipe on a great site, I’ll post the link. I’ve made bags and bags of these, they freeze great either before you bake, or after. Next project, learn to bake Hermé macarons..

      • muselet

        Baking is too fussy for me. Besides, I’d likely sit and wolf down an entire batch of croissants before they were cool.

        But you’re right: a distraction is necessary in times like these.


        • stacib23

          I baked some tiny apple tarts (at least that’s what I’m calling them) that were topped with caramel and pecans. This size is a perfect ratio of pie crust to apples. Straight out of the oven, OMG, you can eat yourself into a bellyache. My pan will bake 24 in a batch. Between my mother and me, we knock out 8 or 9 in the first couple hours.

          • muselet

            Sounds delicious.


  • katanahamon

    You know, every morning I wake up, then realize the terrible plight plaguing our, how can I help the poor corporations and richest people? Can there please be more tax cuts to get desperately needed funds back into the coffers of corporations still reeling from the massive influx of cash from recent tax cuts and corporate giveaways and stock buybacks? Can’t we allow these struggling entities to dump their toxic waste into our streams and burn their waste pollutants to be filtered through our lungs to ease their terrible regulatory burdens? And the rich, the rich, how they struggle and suffer to maintain and grab more wealth, oh, can’t we please give them more relief through yet more tax cuts, tax breaks, using public funds for their desperately needed private educations? Can’t we cut public spending on unnecessary Medicare benefits that only keep old and infirm people alive or help ameliorate things like hurricanes or rampant Coronavirus outbreaks? Oh, it’s such a cruel, crew-ell world for the rich!!

    • muselet

      Excellent snark. I doff my cap to you.


    • gescove

      Up vote x 100!

      • katanahamon

        You know, I’m actually sorry, this level of snark just exposes my frustration and depression at the current situation..I’d love to have the energy or disposition for a rational comment and helpful, problem solving suggestion, but my brain is too fogged by being pissed off!