Larry Kudlow is a shill.
And once a shill, always a shill. Kudlow was a Wall Street prognosticator with a very flawed record. Then he went on to a TV career with cable station CNBC, and he completely missed the problems leading up to the Great Recession of 2008 because he was still telling Wall Street what it wanted to hear.
As I said, he was shilling.
Case in point: Kudlow wrote a piece in December 2007 for the National Review that was entitled “Bush’s Very Good Year.” It started “against all odds, and despite the usual drumbeat of criticism, President George W. Bus h has had a very good year … The prophets of recessionary doom … have been proven wrong again.”
Wrong? The US entered a recession in February 2008, and it lasted until February 2010. The nation’s gross domestic product declined by 4.2 percent, and about 8.7 million jobs were lost at the worst point.
The prophets of recessionary doom were so right.
And Kudlow was so wrong that he should have run away and hidden.
I was one of those who expressed concern about how extraordinarily low interest rates were, and a lot of other things were setting America up for some bad times, although Kudlow never mentioned me by name in his wrong-headed National Review piece.
And Kudlow’s habit of not only being wrong but also being loud about his opinions is precisely why I turned down the couple of invitations I received over the decades to be on his TV show.
OK, let’s let bygones be bygones.
A few weeks ago, Kudlow was named the National Economic Council director for President Trump’s administration. Kudlow is so newly appointed that he barely had time to dust off his shill act until late last week. That’s when he said this about the Trump administration’s economic actions against China: “This is not a trade war.”
“This is a moderate, tempered approach that we are taking,” he also said.
If you’ve been following, Trump started the trade conflict with some nasty words and tariffs on Chinese products. The Chinese retaliated and said some nasty stuff back. Trump, in turn, made more nasty tweets to which the Chinese countered.
Trump is correct in that the US is getting screwed on trade with China. As my own research from years ago showed, a lot of what’s being exported from China to the US are crappy knock-offs of such US goods as handbags, drugs and cigarettes.
So, not only are we getting hurt on trade but also our companies are having their products’ good names damaged by the inferior Chinese products with bogus name tags. That’s a big part of the large trade deficit the US has with China.
But back to Kudlow. There’s a difference between guessing wrong with the economy and saying things that are just plain stupid.
When Kudlow made his bad predictions about the economy in 2007, he had an obvious agenda.
So what’s next in the trade war that Kudlow says isn’t happening?
From a tweet Trump put out Friday, it seems clear that the president will go after a favorable status that China has at the World Trade Organization. And it won’t be long before China starts threatening to sell the US government bonds it holds, a move that could upend our economy’s progress.
Then, maybe the two sides will start negotiating the end to what Kudlow sees as a nonexistent war.
Or maybe this trade war will lead to something much worse.