Thursday, March 15, 2018
Larry Kudlow : The Right Person at the Right Time as President Trump's Economic Advisor
THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS ALL ABOUT LARRY KUDLOW. There are some things that just feel right. They resonate inside us like a moist and rich piece of chocolate cake. That's how I feel about Larry Kudlow's appointment as President Trump's National Economic Council Director. • • • CNBC LOSES KUDLOW TO THE WHITE HOUSE. It was fitting that CNBC, where Kudlow has for a long time been the conservative economist guru for the business network, should break the news on Wednesday that Larry Kudlow, 70, will replace Gary Cohn as Trump's top economic advisor. Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council, bringing with him not only his advocacy for free trade -- which may occasionally clash with Trump's nationalist-protectionist trade views -- but also his Arthur Laffer-instilled supply-side economic views that favor low taxes as the best way to stimulate economic growth. Kudlow has credited Art Laffer, the godfather of supply-side tax cuts, as being formative in his own economic views. Kudlow, in turn, became an economic guru to many Republican and conservative tax cutters, including Jack Kemp and Rush Limbaugh, and served as a member of the Reagan economics team. • President Trump offered Kudlow the job on Tuesday night after other conversations between the pair on Sunday and Monday. Kudlow told CNBC : "I've known him and interviewed him for over 20 years. I'm very comfortable with him and I can't wait to start." If what Larry told CNBC actually happened, he is already on the job -- he said in an interview on CNBC, that he would be flying down to Washington, DC, Wednesday night and reporting to work at the White House Thursday. • Kudlow is described by White House officials as someone who "clicks" with the President personally and politically. Trump now sees that kind of close rapport as central to his presidency, especially after clashing with Tillerson and others who have worked in the administration over the past year but have since departed, the officials said. In a statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration "will work to have an orderly transition and keep everyone posted on the timing of him officially assuming the role." • The President this week reportedly acknowledged that he and Kudlow “don’t agree on everything,” but that he welcomes having a difference of opinion among his close advisors : “I like having two people with different points of view. And I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it. I like seeing it. And I think it’s the best way to go.” On Tuesday, the President said he would welcome disagreement from Kudlow : "We don't agree on everything, but in this case I think that's good. I want to have different opinions. We agree on most." • Kudlow told CNBC he got a call from Trump on Tuesday night as he got into an Uber after dinner. He had a conversation with the President in the car, and the driver "had never seen anything like this," Kudlow said. • • • WHAT WILL LARRY KUDLOW BRING TO HIS NEW JOB? The National Economic Council director advises the President on economic issues and works to implement policy goals. Gary Cohn, who resigned last week after losing his fight against tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, is not too different from Kudlow on the free trade issue and generally opposes tariffs. When Cohn left, Kudlow expressed his disappointment with the move and Trump's tariff actions. However, he has appeared to warm to at least some targeted trade actions. Kudlow told CNBC he has been in near constant contact with Cohn in recent weeks. Cohn was instrumental in shepherding the Republican tax overhaul, Trump's signature achievement in his first year in office, through its passage in December. Kudlow strongly supported the tax bill, and told CNBC "there may be more action on that front." It is clear that by bringing in Kudlow, Trump adds an economics advisor who supports his push for lower taxes, fewer regulations and a merit-based immigration system. Kudlow has praised the President’s work on tax reform, writing last year that : “Trump and the GOP are on the side of the growth angels with the passage of powerful tax-cut legislation to boost business investment, wages, and take-home family pay. The Democrats, meanwhile, are left with stale class-warfare slogans about tax cuts for the rich.” • Kudlow is best known for his advocacy of tax cuts. As an informal advisor to the Trump campaign and later the White House, Kudlow helped develop some of the ideas that became the Trump tax cut plan in 2016. Last year, Kudlow and co-author Brian Domitrovic published a book lauding the tax cuts of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Kudlow, Breitbart reports, was once an advocate of relatively open immigration but changed his mind in 2015 following terrorist attacks in San Benardino and Paris. The US should “seal the borders” and end all immigration and visas until the system can be made safer, Kudlow wrote. Although Kudlow criticized the President’s call for sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, when the administration exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, and said it was open to providing further exemptions, Kudlow appeared to back away from that critical stance. For his part, Trump said Kudlow’s disagreements with tariffs were not a dealbreaker : "He now has come around to believing in tariffs as a negotiating point." • One critical area where President Trump and Larry Kudlow agree is China. People who have spoken to Kudlow told Breitbart he is “100 percent on board” with the Trump administration’s economic struggle against Chinese domination. Kudlow has praised the administration’s attention to the issue of intellectual property theft -- equal to about 1.5% of the US GDP per year -- and forced technology transfers by China and Chinese companies. Trump won the presidency partly on his promises to shred or renegotiate US trade deals and crack down on trade practices he deems unfair. He argued that the North American Free Trade Agreement, in particular, sapped manufacturing jobs from the United States. On Wednesday, Kudlow told the Associated Press that he opposed Trump's tariffs but is "in accord with his policies." Kudlow indicated that the Trump administration was readying a larger round of tariffs against Chinese imports. China has earned a “tough response” for not playing by the rules of trade, he said. “China needs a comeuppance on trade, I believe that," he added. • Kudlow was a budget aide during the Reagan administration, and informally advised Trump on taxes and other economic issues during his 2016 run for President. Talking to CNBC on Wednesday, Kudlow highlighted his "strong relationships" with lawmakers in Congress. Kudlow said House Speaker Paul Ryan called him in recent days and "is very, very enthusiastic" about him taking the job. He added he is "looking forward to working with" Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and noted that trade advisor Peter Navarro was a regular guest on his CNBC show "The Kudlow Report." Navarro, who has pushed for aggressive actions to counter China's trade practices, sparred with Cohn over tariffs. • Kudlow says his job will be "not to rehash things but to execute" policy : "I'm looking forward to serving the President. The way I was brought up in the Reagan years, you talk it out and you argue it out, but once the President has made a decision, that's it. My job is to execute. You don't go through these endless bureaucratic things and delays. The National Economic Council is in some ways an information broker and I look forward to that role." • Those of us who worked in the Reagan administration know how right Kudlow is about following the President's decisions. President Reagan never shouted or threatened anyone, and he listened attentively to all opinions brought to him, but when he ordered any course of action, it was not negotiable; it was implemented. End of discussion. • • • LARRY KUDLOW, THE PERSON. Kudlow was born and raised in New Jersey, and he shares with Trump a hard-charging personality and a history of mixing the worlds of politics, entertainment and elite business. Both men have hosted television programs. In past decades, they have frequently connected socially at business and Republican functions. “So handsome,” Kudlow joked in a Wednesday appearance on CNBC, describing Trump’s reaction to seeing Kudlow’s image on television. Both men are New Yorkers at heart. Kudlow had just left Cipriani, a chic restaurant in Manhattan, after dining with friends on Tuesday when Trump called while Kudlow was in the Uber cab, according to one person briefed on the discussion. Throughout Trump’s first year, Kudlow has offered informal advice on his economic agenda. Trump hinted at his need for a personal sense of comfort and loyalty when he said : “Larry has been a friend of mine for a long time. He backed me very early in the campaign. I think the earliest -- I think he was one of my original backers. He’s a very, very talented man, a good man.” • Larry Kudlow’s long career in finance includes working for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and serving as a chief economist and senior managing director at Bear Stearns, the defunct investment bank that failed during the 2008 financial crisis. Kudlow also served as the associate director for economics and planning in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during former President Ronald Reagan’s first term. Kudlow is now a CNBC senior contributor and was previously the host of CNBC's prime-time "The Kudlow Report." • • • KUDLOW'S PAST. Larry Kudlow is easily the most recognizable and most often quoted supply-side conservative economist in the world today. That makes him a target for all the mainstream media who would prefer that President Trump continue the tax-and-spend policies of President Obama and his economic advisors Austan Goolsbee and Lawrence Summer. So, the barbs and derogatory descriptions of Larry Kudlow were immediately spun out. • The Washington Post's infamous Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey wrote on Wednesday (notice the loading of negative words) : "The choice of Kudlow -- a longtime TV analyst and generational peer -- illustrates how Trump is increasingly looking to stack his inner circle with longtime loyalists after more than a year of frustration with aides and Cabinet officials who sought to temper his extemporaneous and combative style. The hiring came a day after Trump abruptly fired via Twitter the Secretary of State he disliked, Rex Tillerson, and announced his intent to replace him with a close confidant, CIA Director Mike Pompeo -- part of a wave of departures and firings that have rocked the West Wing at the start of Trump’s second year....Conversations between Trump and Kudlow in recent weeks have focused on coming to an understanding on trade even as they expressed broad agreement about the economy, the people familiar with the appointment said. Kudlow’s view of the current economy is mostly sunny. 'When [the Republican-authored tax law] is combined with President Donald Trump’s deregulation agenda, we see no reason why the economy cannot grow for a sustained period at 3 to 4% growth -- up from 1.6% in Obama’s last year,' he wrote in February, adding he remains concerned about the prospect of a 'weak and depreciating dollar, surging inflation, spiking interest rates, plus financial or commodity bubbles.' ” • LET'S STRAIGHTEN OUT WHAT KUDLOW ACTUALLY SAID IN FEBRUARY. The Kudlow article referred to by Robert costa -- co-written by Arthur B. Laffer, and Stephen Moore, and published by CNBC on February 16 began with these words : "The Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress have passed one of the best pro-growth tax bills ever. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ranks in the all-time hall of fame of legislation, along with Ronald Reagan's 1981 and 1986 Tax Acts and John F. Kennedy's posthumous tax cuts of 1964. The announcements by Apple, FedEx, ATT, Fiat Chrysler and over 300 companies with multi-billion dollar investments in the US are early indicators of good things to come from the tax rate cuts. When this is combined with President Donald Trump's deregulation agenda, we see no reason why the economy cannot grow for a sustained period at 3 to 4 percent growth -- up from 1.6 percent in Obama's last year. But there is still a missing pillar of prosperity in the Trump economic agenda, and that is a sound dollar strategy." NOW PAY ATTENTION. Kudlow then wrote : "The dollar weakened in 2017 and we want it stabilized. There's little in this world that can bring our economy to its knees faster than a weak dollar in the foreign exchange markets. Just ask people who served in the administrations of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush 2 and Barack Obama's first term. All of them were undone by a weak and depreciating dollar, surging inflation, spiking interest rates, plus financial or commodity bubbles." KUDLOW WAS NOT REFERRING TO THE TRUMP FUTURE but to the past mistakes of the weak dollar policies of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush 2 and Obama. Kudlow, Laffer and Moore praised Reagan : "Meanwhile, under Reagan the US dollar increased by 67 percent in value on foreign exchange markets through 1985. The price of gold, interest rates, and inflation all fell as well from double-digit inflationary highs, while the American economy reignited and the stock market launched its 18 year bull market. Or, go back further in time. In May of 1962, President Kennedy's Revenue Act was passed and he reaffirmed that the US dollar was as good as gold -- thus launching the incredible boom called the 'Go-Go Sixties'." The conclusion of Kudlow's article was : "A strong dollar is an essential pillar of economic prosperity with minimal inflation, but we worry that the White House has not adopted this strategy. So we urge the Trump administration to return to the successful 'King Dollar' policies that worked in the 60's, 80's and 90's. Devaluations and weak currencies do not create US jobs. Instead, weakened currencies are accompanied by relative price changes, leading to inflation in the devaluing country. (Americans can, by definition, buy less with weak dollars in their wallets than strong dollars.)....A return to 'King Dollar' will bring a lot more jobs, wage increases, and investment flows back into the United States. It will confirm that, as Mr. Trump told the world's leaders and CEOs in Davos, Switzerland, 'America is open for business again.' Looking forward, the administration should speak of a sound, stable, strong dollar. A great country must have a reliable currency. Additionally, if the dollar continues to trend lower, then the Federal Reserve should step in to retire reserves, and withdraw excess money. That leaves us with lower tax rates, strong growth, and a low inflation prosperity. And, if history is any guide, it raises the probability that President Trump gets reelected in a landslide." That is what Larry Kudlow said, and the misquotes and lies of Robert Costa are simply a way to avoid the truth that the Obama years were catastrophic for the US economy. • LARRY KUDLOW AND THE MSM FOCUS ON COCAINE. The Washington Post and Robert Costa noted that : "In the 1990s, Kudlow publicly acknowledged he sought treatment for cocaine and alcohol problems, which he has since spoken about candidly. 'I had a rough time with the alcohol and cocaine. I had to resign from Bear Stearns. That was in the winter of ’94,' Kudlow told Crisis magazine in 2000, crediting the experience for prompting him to convert to Roman Catholicism." Costa snarfed that : "Trump, who has weathered numerous scandals and dramas in his career, does not care about that part of Kudlow’s past, an official said. Instead, the official added, he wants someone by his side who 'looks the part' and can be a salesman for an administration as it heads toward the midterm elections." That mean-spirited attack on a man who beat his addictions more than 20 years ago, becoming a Christian in the process and then founding his own TV platform to become a leading voice for a conservative approach to solving America's economic issues, is Progressive Swamp politics at its worst. • And, the leftist BBC joined in, although with less bite, when it stated on Wednesday : "In 1994, Mr Kudlow spoke to the New York Times about battling drug and alcohol addiction, saying he hoped his story would help others in the position. The problem had led to his resignation as chief economist from the Bear Stearns investment bank. Mr Kudlow, who calls himself a 'long-run optimist,' subsequently re-invented himself as a media personality, hosting radio and television programmes, including for the business news channel CNBC, where he remains a contributor." The BBC chose to bring out establishment Republican David Stockman, Kudlow's boss during the Reagan administration, quoting Stockman as telling CNBC : "As much as I love him...Larry's voice is exactly the wrong voice that Donald Trump ought to be hearing as we go forward." And the BBC could not leave out "liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman," who "has been sharply critical, noting that Mr Kudlow missed signs of the housing bubble and recession. 'At least he's reliable -- that is, he's reliably wrong about everything,' Mr Krugman tweeted." Yes, in December 2007 -- just as the recession was looming -- Kudlow wrote in the National Review : "There's no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It's not going to happen." He was giving the economic data, all of which showed no signs of a slowdown. Read his article for yourself at < https://www.nationalreview.com/blog/kudlows-money-politics/bush-boom-continues-larry-kudlow/ >. • We all lived through the 2008 crash and remember that NOBODY predicted it, except for ridiculed outsiders who were not part of the "economist elite." On January 23, 2009, the New York Times that had dryly labelled him Dr Doom, noted in a profile that Nouriel Roubini was an unlikely hero of the financial crisis. In 2006 he made an address to the IMF in which he predicted that, among other things, the US economy was at risk of a housing bust and deep recession." Nouriel Roubini saw the danger in broad terms, but missed the fragility of the banks that brought so many nations to the brink of Depression. Many non-economists also saw it (the housing bubble and unsustainable levels of debt). But, the senior managers of the banks themselves never saw the danger, although their lack of economic vision proved profitable for them, as they were paid both to cause and clean-up the bubble. So, let's take all the mainstream media attacks using Kudlow's December 2007 quote for what they -- the latest efforts of the virulently anti-Trump Progressive cabal determined to bring down the President and anybody who works for him. • • • DEAR READERS, perhaps Larry Kudlow's best prediction has been that the stock market would go up if Trump were elected, contrary to many economists including Paul Krugman who predicted a decline. • BUT, it had to be The Times of London that hit Larry Kudlow the hardest and with the most mean of spirits. A Times of London headline on Thursday morning was this : "Trump names cocaine TV pundit Larry Kudlow as chief economic advisor." • That headline really says it all about the hatred of Trump and all who support him. • I want to welcome Larry Kudlow to the Trump White House. He is a formidable addition who will provide the President with excellent economic advice and help to get its practical components through Congress. Larry Kudlow does not deserve any of the ugly insinuations about his past that are being used by the Progressive media to smear him and dilute his chances with the wider world. But, those crudely partisan and belittling comments only serve to prove what we conservatives have known forever. The Progressive Left is neither ethical nor fair. They are a bunch of thugs whose actions and words reflect their barbaric approach to grasping at political power by trashing human goodness and redemption.