Larry Kudlow hates the CBO — except when he agrees with its analysis

Trump's new economic adviser says the CBO is always wrong, but he regularly cited its numbers.

White House Council of Economic Advisers director Larry Kudlow
White House Council of Economic Advisers director Larry Kudlow on Fox & Friends on Tuesday. CREDIT: Fox News screenshot

Weeks into his tenure as Donald Trump’s director of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, former CNBC host Larry Kudlow dismissed estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the tax cuts and spending bills Trump signed will swell the budget deficit. In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, he claimed that the office’s analyses are “always wrong.”

“Never believe the CBO,” Kudlow told Fox & Friends. “Very important. Never believe them. They’re always wrong, especially when it comes to tax cuts, which they never score properly because they don’t understand the growth, the incentives, and the encouragements to reward success.”

Kudlow’s criticism of the CBO is nothing new. Last April, he called its scoring “part of the swamp.” Last June, he tweeted: “The day of the CBO has come and gone.”  In January, he called for its elimination.

But his previous comments would seem to undermine his assertion that CBO is “always wrong.”

In 2012, Kudlow cited the CBO’s predictions to attack Washington’s inaction on deficit reduction.

In 2013, he defended the bipartisan sequestration law (which his boss alternately praised as “necessary” and also decried as “dangerous“), noting the CBO score proved it will be “No armageddon.”

Kudlow also cited CBO’s predictions to warn that Obamacare would increase the deficit.

Later that year, he even urged passed of comprehensive immigration reform — something Trump called a “suicide mission” — citing CBO’s analysis to show that it is good for economic growth.

The CBO is a non-partisan office, but its director was handpicked by the Congressional GOP leadership as someone who would be more sympathetic to their economic theories — such as that tax cuts can pay for themselves by spurring economic growth.


Kudlow knows a thing or two about bad economic predictions. He made a number of terrible ones during his years as a TV pundit, including claiming that the Iraq War would boost the economy and denying the existence of a housing bubble in 2005.