Former Trump White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has become the latest person to benefit from the revolving door of former Trump administration officials getting Fox News positions. New York Times media reporter Michael Grynbaum reported Tuesday that Kudlow “will host a weekday Fox Business show and appear on-air across Fox News platforms.”
The Daily Beast points out that Kudlow had previously spent 15 years at CNBC, before joining the Trump White House three years ago. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement about Kudlow’s joining that the network is “look[ing] forward to creating a show that utilizes his immense expertise to help guide viewers through this unprecedented time of economic uncertainty.”
But anyone looking for serious financial information and economic news should be careful: Kudlow has essentially made his career as the Baghdad Bob of Republican economics, continuing to insist upon the success of the party’s policies even as the country has slid into one disaster after another.
Kudlow joined the Trump White House in 2018 — after having first been eyed for a position in late 2016. Before that he had a career as a CNBC pundit during which he variously shamed poor people, denied climate science, and repeatedly made incorrect economic predictions. And Kudlow continued to build his record of incorrect predictions after joining the White House.
In February 2020, while serving as director of the White House’s National Economic Council, he said that the new COVID-19 virus was under control. “We have contained this. I won’t say [it’s] airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight,” Kudlow said during an appearance on CNBC. He also added that the outbreak was a “human tragedy” — with thousands of deaths in China at the time — but he did not think it would be an “economic tragedy.” (He later admitted he’d been wrong, saying, “Nobody could have predicted or expected this.”)
In March, Kudlow said there would not be any major recession: “I don’t think this is recessionary and I don’t think this is going to be catastrophic.” He added later in the month that the economic impact would be short-lived — a matter of “weeks and months.”
Then in June, he declared: “There is no second wave coming. It’s just hot spots.”
And in August, Kudlow cited a University of Chicago study on CNN to incorrectly claim that increased unemployment benefits during the pandemic had disincentivized work. Anchor Poppy Harlow corrected him on the air as she had spoken the previous night with one of the main authors of that study.
Kudlow had also missed the previous major economic calamity, the 2008 financial crisis that began at the end of the George W. Bush administration. Examples of Kudlow’s faulty economic pronouncements from his National Review columns include the December 2007 pieces “The Recession Debate Is Over,” “Kudlow 101: There Ain’t No Recession,” and “Bush Boom Continues” — in which he remarked, “You can call it Goldilocks 2.0. But you can’t call it a recession” (emphasis in the original).
In a July 2008 column, “If Things Are So Bad…”, Kudlow insisted in the face of growing economic pessimism that “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. Big-government bailouts — the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1930s — might just make matters worse, rather than better, since they interfere with the workings of free markets.”
Just to be clear: The Great Recession began in 2007, just as Kudlow wrote that no such economic downturn was happening. The collapse of Lehman Brothers occurred in September 2008, which helped to make the recession a tangible marker in the wider public’s perception, and then set off the wave of bailouts and stimulus programs that would soon follow.
And just to illustrate how twisted of a moral compass Kudlow has, he wrote another column in 2002 titled “Taking Back The Market — by Force,” calling for the invasion of Iraq partly to boost the stock market and the American economy.
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.
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.