Larry Kudlow is President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council (NEC). Cohn spent over 25 years at Goldman Sachs, and was president and COO for ten years before he joined the Trump administration. Past NEC directors have had law degrees from Yale or Harvard or Cornell, MBAs from Harvard or Wharton (not a bachelor’s with an economics major like the president), a Ph. D in economics from Harvard or MIT, decades of business experience, or taught at the London School of Economics,
Kudlow has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and did not complete a master’s degree in economics at Princeton. He has worked at a junior level at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and also in the Reagan Office of Management and Budget. He worked at Bear Stearns from 1987 to 1994, until he was fired for cocaine abuse. After working for Arthur Laffer’s firm, he got into journalism, most notably hosting a business show on CNBC.
He also has a penchant for making wildly incorrect predictions and assurances about the economy. Here are a few:
Kudlow recommended buying stocks in September 2008
He wrote, in an article that is still on the internet, that investors should buy stocks on September 3, 2008.
“Undoubtedly, more credit problems will surface among the banks,” Kudlow said. “But that’s looking through the rearview mirror. For those of us who prefer to look ahead, through the windshield, the outlook for stocks is getting better and better.”
The stock market crashed on September 29, 2008, taking with it $1.2 trillion in wealth. The recovery would take years.
Kudlow said invading Iraq in 2002 would boost the economy
During the run-up to the Iraq War, Kudlow was an unabashed hawk, but not just for the reasons the Bush administration was giving the public. In June 2002, Kudlow wrote that a “small war” would be a huge boon for the American economy. He recommended first taking Iraqi oil fields, and then a “final assault” on Baghdad. He did not discuss what would happen to Iraq or to American troops in Iraq after the invasion.
Decisive shock therapy to revive the American spirit would surely come with a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Why not begin with a large-scale special-forces commando raid on the Iraqi oil fields? This will send a shot across Saddam’s bow; an electrifying signal to all terrorist nations. The message will be that the game is up. Surrender now or you will be crushed in a short while.
Meanwhile, Saddam’s cash flow can be cut off. Oil is his only crop, his single manufacture. Without money there will be nothing left to steal, and nothing to use to pay off his cronies.
A couple of weeks later a final assault on Baghdad can take place. A small war, to use Wall Street Journal editorialist Max Boot’s lexicon, led by fast-moving special forces and leather-toughened Marines, and assisted by high-tech precision bombs and air cover, can get the job done. All-out war mobilization is unnecessary. Iraq will fall with much less. At the same time, U.S. special forces must conduct a similar sweep to root out the bin Ladens and al Qaedas along the Pakistani/Afghan border.
Kudlow concluded with a prediction that the stock market will rise and that “our businesses will stay open.”
The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple-thousand points. We will know that our businesses will stay open, that our families will be safe, and that our future will be unlimited. The world will be righted in this life-and-death struggle to preserve our values and our civilization. But to do all this, we must act.
The war has cost over a trillion dollars, and tens of thousands of lives. Small businesses were seriously impacted by National Guard call-ups. Countless veterans and civilians suffer physical and mental injuries. It destabilized the Middle East, fueling ongoing conflicts in Syria and Lebanon, the rise of ISIS, and it distracted focus from U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.
Kudlow, before becoming a Reagan conservative, was an active anti-war protester in the 1970s.
Kudlow denied the existence of the housing bubble in 2005
In an article published by the National Review in June 2005, Kudlow referred to people who were concerned about the housing bubble as “bubbleheads” and said they “haven’t done their homework.” He argued that the “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes in Las Vegas or Naples, Florida, to bring down the consumer, the rest of the economy, and the entire stock market,” are “dead wrong.”
The housing market began to fall apart in earnest two years later, and in 2008 caused the entire global economy to collapse into The Great Recession.
Kudlow lauded the “Bush Boom” on the eve of the Great Recession and ridiculed “pessimistas”
Here are some things that Larry Kudlow wrote in one single article in December 2007:
- “There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen.”
- “The pessimistas are a persistent bunch. In 2006, they were certain a recession was just around the corner. They were wrong.”
- “I believe the economic pendulum will soon swing in favor of the GOP.”
- “The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth consecutive year with more to come. Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.”
In another post in December, he concluded, “There ain’t no recession.”
The Great Recession started in December 2007.
Kudlow dismissed the seriousness of the Great Recession in February 2008
After denying that there would be a recession three months earlier, Kudlow opined in February 2008 that “there’s no need to press the panic button.” He assured his readers that “no matter what the signal was today, I’m going to bet that the economy will be rebounding sometime this summer, if not sooner. We are in a slow patch. That’s all. It’s nothing to get up in arms about.”
The Great Recession lasted until June 2009, the longest since World War II. GDP fell 4.3 percent, and unemployment doubled.
In July 2008, Kudlow said it was a “mental recession, not an actual recession”
In an article titled, “If things are so bad…” Kudlow gathered a few loose strands of possible good news in the face of an avalanche of evidence of catastrophe, just before the global economy started to collapse. Kudlow wasn’t buying it. “We are in a mental recession, not an actual recession,” he wrote.
“And the low-tax, free-trade, free-market, capitalist economy is a whole lot more resilient and durable than the pessimistas and declinists would have us believe,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow thought the housing market hit bottom in July 2008
In an article which talked about another bad report on U.S. housing stock, Kudlow pointed out the silver lining, which he said wasn’t getting enough attention.
“But inside the report was an awful lot of very good new news, which appear to be pointing to a bottom in the housing problem; in fact, maybe the tiniest beginnings of a recovery,” he said.
“It’s a pity the mainstream media keeps searching for more and more pessimism. The reality is a possible upturn in the housing trend, and at the very least we are getting a bottom.”
The housing market had much much farther to fall.
Kudlow cheered on Wall Street CEOs using bailout money to fun private jet trips
In a 2009 interview, Kudlow downplayed reports of Wall Street CEOs using taxpayer bailout money to fund private jet trips. “I think it’s great because I want to stimulate the economy,” Kudlow said. “I want to help the resorts. … I’m glad the CEOs are going around. I just wish they’d take me with them.”
Kudlow called Occupy Wall Street demonstrators “anti-American” but said the Tea Party was great for the economy
In a 2010 CNBC clip, Kudlow can be seen describing protesters organizing on Wall Street as “bizarre” and “anti-American.”
Meanwhile, a year later, Kudlow credited the “emergence of Tea Party free-market populism” as “hugely bullish for stocks and the economy in 2011.”
One place where Tea Party economics got a trial run is the state of Kansas, which is an experiment that blew up in former Gov. Sam Brownback’s face.
Kudlow imagined Obama’s economic policy would yield high inflation rates
Kudlow said unemployment benefits make people not want to work
“Trouble is, our government down through the years, under both Republicans and Democrats, has created a whole series of incentives not to work,” he said. “This is what I find very troubling: they’re going to pay you not to work.” He then extended the metaphor to Obamacare benefits.
Kudlow also recently admitted that he has “virtually no knowledge” in the field of issues that affect families grappling with poverty, although he did still take the opportunity to lecture single parents about how they are to blame.
Kudlow defending Trump staff picks arguing that “wealthy folks” don’t have to “engage in corruption”
Lauding president-elect Trump’s transition staffing picks, Kudlow made that case that rich people were great choices to join the Trump administration because they “have no need to steal.”
Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people? Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption. Their business success demonstrates that they know how to achieve goals and convince skeptics that good deals can be made to the benefit of both sides. Isn’t this just what America needs?
The Trump administration has been marked by a high turnover rate, and many staff have left for issues related to corruption, while many who have remained have faced scrutiny for expensive taxpayer funded private flights, trips, doors, and dining room tables, to name a few.
Kudlow said he could fix the economy by sitting down with Glenn Beck for a half hour
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you and I and like-minded people who believe in freedom — I can sit down with you and fix the economy,” he told Glenn Beck while appearing on Beck’s program. “Give me a half hour. … I’ve been doing it for close to 40 years. The principles don’t change.”
It’s unclear whether Kudlow and Beck sat down to work on a plan, but he will be sitting down regularly with President Trump.