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Steve Bannon, a top adviser to Donald Trump whose appointment has drawn intense criticism from civil-rights groups and Democrats, advocated using negative interest rates to rebuild various infrastructure across the country.
In a interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon said that he is not a “white nationalist” – a common attack since Trump named him as a top adviser – but rather an “economic nationalist.”
“Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy.”
Bannon has been under fire since his appointment as an adviser to the president-elect for leading the news site Breitbart – which has at times pushed anti-Semitic, misogynist, and Islamophobic views. Over 150 members of Congress, mostly Democrats, have called on Trump to remove Bannon from his position. The Southern Policy Law Center, a leading civil rights group, has also called out Bannon for actively courting white nationalists.
In the interview, Bannon also said that central bank’s policies of negative interest rates would be a boon for the US economy.
“I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan,” said Bannon in the interview. “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”
Many economic analysts have shown that negative interest rates can actually be a negative for the economy. Additionally, the US currently does not have negative interest rates. And the overall effectiveness of fiscal stimulus is not guaranteed according to economists.
Bannon also said that the movement created by Trump will be similar to previous periods in American history.
“It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution – conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement,” concluded Bannon.
Both eras cited by Bannon included large increases in the national debt, which Trump campaigned against.