This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 21, 2016:
If Donald Trump is looking for someone to present his economic plan to the public in non-threatening terms, someone who is amiable, popular, and ideology-free, he could do worse than picking Larry Kudlow (shown). Kudlow has been affiliated with CNBC for 15 years, most notably for hosting “The Kudlow Report,” and before that, “Kudlow and Cramer.”
According to Trump transition team advisor Stephen Moore, Kudlow will shortly be named as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors. Kudlow fits the bill. He’s flexible – some say a gold-digger – popular, and unburdened with the finer points of Austrian school economic thinking. In the ’60s, while attending the University of Rochester, Kudlow joined the far-left gaggle of student revolutionaries, the Students for a Democratic Society. In the ’70s he worked alongside Bill Clinton and John Podesta in efforts to get a liberal college professor elected. Later he supported Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was running for the Senate against conservative James Buckley.
He worked for a time for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in a position that didn’t require a degree in economics (his degree from Rochester was in history). He took a position with Bear Stearns, which ended abruptly in 1994 when his addition to cocaine (which was costing him $10,000 a month) forced him to miss an interview with an important client. He dried himself out, following the twelve-step program for those addicted to cocaine and alcohol, and, in the process, converted to Catholicism.
He served as a board member of Empower America, the group that later become FreedomWorks. He advised a division of Prudential Financial for a while as an economic consultant. In 2001, he became the Economics Editor at the National Review Online (NRO).
He worked with David Stockman, who was Reagan’s budget director, absorbing Reaganomics, a mixture of the Laffer Curve and wishful thinking. Kudlow now calls himself a “Reagan supply-sider” and opposes estate taxes as well as taxes on dividends and capital gains.
He sullied his reputation in December 2007 with a spectacularly bad call on the nascent economic slowdown that shortly thereafter morphed into the Great Recession. He said:
The recession debate is over. It’s not going to happen. Time to move on. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. And that’s a minimum.
The Bush boom is alive and well, it’s finishing up its sixth splendid year with many more years to come.
On the other hand, Kudlow redeemed himself with this, uttered just after Trump was elected:
Trump’s plan to slash taxes, particularly business taxes, to deregulate, to get rid of ObamaCare, to unleash energy, to sort of sweep clean corrupt Washington, in my view has always been bullish for stocks….
As this is being written, the Dow is flirting with 20,000 after having set new highs almost on a daily basis since that day.
If Trump is looking for someone to work closely with his OMB director, Mike Mulvaney, and present a public face for whatever plan Mulvaney is able to develop, Kudlow would be the man. If instead Trump is looking for someone to give him serious advice on the economy, he’ll have to look elsewhere.
Background on Kudlow and Cramer
New York Daily News: Larry Kudlow will head President-elect Trump’s council of economic advisors
The Wall Street Journal: Lawrence Kudlow in Running to Take Top Economic Adviser Post
Bloomberg: Kudlow Is a Troubling Economics Adviser for Trump