Larry Kudlow: Everything Is Fine.

The stock markets fell like a rock yesterday, and continued falling today. The two-day total came to 1,910 points, it says here.

This is part of a global sell-off triggered by news that the corona virus, or COVID-19, is breaking out all over the planet and has passed the pandemic “tripping point.” Still, I wouldn’t have panicked, except that Larry Kudlow says everything is fine.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow tried on Tuesday to assuage concerns over the cornavirus and its impact on the U.S. economy.

“We have contained this. I won’t say [it’s] airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight,” Kudlow told CNBC’s Kelly Evans on “The Exchange.” He added that, while the outbreak is a “human tragedy,” it will likely not be an “economic tragedy.”

When else did Kudlow say everything was fine? Right before the 2008 financial crisis.

“Despite all the doom and gloom from the economic pessimistas, the resilient U.S. economy continues moving ahead,” Kudlow wrote on Dec. 7, 2007, in National Review, predicting that gloomy forecasters would “wind up with egg on their faces.” Kudlow, who previously derided as “bubbleheads” those who warned about a housing bubble, now wrote that “very positive” news in housing should “cushion” falling home sales and prices.

“There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen,” wrote Kudlow. “ .?.?. 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.” …

… Even as trouble became clear, Kudlow, a CNBC pundit who is not trained in economics, wrote a Feb. 5, 2008, column in National Review saying he was “still betting on and buying Goldilocks [a just-right scenario] for the long run.” He wrote, “Maybe we are going to have a mild correction. Maybe not,” adding: “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.”

See also Trump’s New Economic Adviser Lawrence Kudlow Has Been Wrong About Everything for Decades. So we’re doomed. It’s so bad even Jim Cramer is worried.

This would be a serious situation even if we had a competent national government. But we don’t. Trump is utterly useless. His administration is utterly useless. After weeks of dithering Trump put together a virus task force. One member of the task force, the utterly useless Ken Cuccinelli, was soon on Twitter asking how to get to the online map showing how the virus had spread. Yes, I do not feel reassured.

Also, too:

During a hearing called to address the issue Tuesday morning, Sen. Joe Kennedy (R-La.) teed off on Acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf for being unable to answer basic questions about the potential of an outbreak in the U.S. …

…The confusion can be traced back to the president, who seems utterly unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the virus, opting instead to stick his fingers in his ears and repeatedly insist everything is going to be fine and the administration is taking care of it. His belief that the virus will simply “go away” is likely based on how past pandemic scares have come and gone, but those diseases were contained in part because the government was working in tandem with the CDC. Now that Trump is in charge, there’s appears to be a disconnect as the White House tries to project a rosy view of the crisis while the agencies tasked with handling it are forced to work in reality.

Adding to the problem is that Trump has slashed funding for the CDC, the National Institute of Health, and the Agency for International Development, while dismantling the entire global health team in charge of handling pandemics. As the CDC has struggled to obtain critical information about the outbreak from China, Trump has praised the nation’s response, reportedly because he’s worried about upsetting President Xi as the two struggle to hammer out a trade deal. More recently, the government overruled the CDC’s advice and put 14 Americans infected with the coronavirus on a plane back to the U.S. with others who were not infected. Trump was reportedly shocked and upset by the move, but the fact that he didn’t know about it (allegedly) is more evidence of how ill-equipped the administration is to handle an outbreak.

The dismantling of the national pandemic and bioterrorism response team was a John Bolton initiative, BTW. Mr. “I won’t tell you what I know unless there’s money in it” Bolton decided to streamline national security. Most of the team was dismissed; the remainder were folded into the group that tracks weapons of mass destruction.

Here’s another view:

Even if Congress provides additional funding, there remain fears that the Trump administration has already hamstrung it’s ability to address this emergency. As Foreign Policy’s Laurie Garrett wrote last month, the administration has “intentionally rendered itself incapable” of dealing with a problem of this scale. It wiped out its “entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure,” Garrett wrote, and shut down the National Security Council’s global health security team, as well as its counterpart in the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to proposing funding cuts for national and global health programs, the administration has also kneecapped its public health teams by declining to replace officials who have left. While the president established a Coronavirus Task Force led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar last month, “it’s not clear how it will function,” Garrett noted—essentially forcing the administration to “[resort] to improvisation” in its approach to the crisis.

I honestly do not understand why the Trump Administration would have gone all out to dismantle these functions of government. You do not want ad hoc committees responding to big, messy situations like a pandemic or a mass disaster, natural or otherwise. You need deep experience and institutional memory; otherwise, your group spends all its time re-inventing wheels. Think FEMA and Katrina; the professional staff had been pushed out and replaced by political hires who couldn’t find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight. But incompetent people who have never accomplished anything tangible often don’t appreciate these things.

Debate Tonight

There’s another Dem debate tonight. Expect a massive pile on of Bernie Sanders. If it gets too messy I may watch something else. Take heart; there will be only one more debate after this.

11 thoughts on “Larry Kudlow: Everything Is Fine.

  1. I honestly do not understand why the Trump Administration would have gone all out to dismantle these functions of government.

    Because on Planet Crackpot science, knowledge, and government are fake, irrelevant, and the deep state. Too also, reality, except for the teevee type, is for suckers.


  2. If Kudlow says everything's OK, it's time to run for the hills. It's redolent of "Atta boy, Brownie" – famous last words from GW Bush, who I'm sure is relieved that he's no longer at the bottom of the list.

    Ever since Trump's election, I've been wondering what kind of event it would take to demonstrate to enough people – to get the message across that this is why you don't want to elect idiots – just exactly what incompetent government looks like. Terrorist attack on US soil? It could be this proto-pandemic.  Of course, the Republicans will use this to blame the government: "See? Incompetent government scientists couldn't protect you". QED. Hannity's got his script ready.

    I got four pieces of mail today from the Bloomberg campaign, one of them customized with endorsements from local pols here in California. I bet he wins big here in Orange County, the former west coast GOP stronghold. He's entering the contest really late and so must blizzard this state with mailers pronto, to reach every last voter.

    I may never have another chance to vote for a front running socialist in my lifetime OR, here's hoping this could be the first of many. As much as I love Elizabeth Warren, if Bernie is the leftist who's in front, I want him to get as big of win as possible.


  3. There's a 2% mortality rate. That's the good news. Children and old folks are the most at risk (weaker immune systems). I'm over 65. It's virtually certain according to CDC to hit the US. We might have more info from what's happened elsewhere and we might have a better idea how to limit the rate of infection. I wouldn't count on anything working from the federal government. Trump will put one of his trusted advisors in charge at CDC and that will screw up what the otherwise competent medicos might recommend or implement. 

    Unless we get very lucky very fast, the economy will take a hit. The trigger will be when consumers pull back from spending and business begins layoffs. Sanders's plan for universal health care should look a whole lot better after a few thousand Americans have died. Those people conservatives think don't 'deserve' access to health care and can't get treatment until they are near death will have spread the virus to dozens instead of getting treated. Access for all also protects everybody. 

    This won't wipe out the planet. (Look to global warming for that.) It may kill a lot of people before it burns out and it may put a spotlight on Trump's incompetence. While Trump has been cutting Obamacare off at the knees, he's been slashing funding for the public health systems we need now. Bernie wanted the election to be about free health care – Trump wanted it to be about the economy.  Lack of a good health care system may wipe out the economy. Somebody should explain the irony to Trump.

  4. Kudlow basically said out loud that a "human tragedy" is one thing, but not to the extent of an "economic tragedy."

    Well, when to get a full-blooded pandemic evolving, you can get extraordinary amounts of both!

    Kudlow is the worst kind of sycophantic assclown:  One with no expertise, but always willing to opine on any subject!

    Kinda like his boss, another imbecile who can't pass a camera without preening, or an open-mic without loudly lying about something !

    And all presiDUNCE tRUMP cares about in all of this, is whether the plummeting stock market, and/or the pandemic, will hurt his reelection chances. 

    Because remember, if tRUMP isn't reelected, he can be sucked into the gaping maw of a DOJ that will no longer be run by a sycophantic authoritarian cronie, but instead, will be headed by someone who'll be looking to repair the department's reputation:  the one which presiDUNCE tRUMP's been actively shredding!  Kind of like what he's been doing to our United States Constitution!



  5. I honestly do not understand why the Trump Administration would have gone all out to dismantle these functions of government.

    It’s really really simple. Think about how communist ideology ruined the Soviet Union. Think about the kinds of people who 1) were true believers in this ideology, and 2) the kind who want to be in a position of power in such a system, safely with the herd.

    Answer: These are STUPID people!!! The ones dumb enough to swallow an ideology (of any kind) as a shorthand way for dealing with reality, for not having to think for yourself. The ones drawn to power in such a system are the ones who follow the herd, but who are determined to win whatever games need to be played.

    I think about all the dolts and idiots I worked with in the corporate world. The followers and game-players, the ones incapable of any original thought.

    I will never forget a conversation I had years ago with a former friend who listened to Rush Limbaugh. He thought it was great how Rush simplified things down to black and white. Who needs nuance. These are the ones who don’t want to have to think. Someone else will do it for them. As Rush used to say, “I’m ALL you need”.

    Any country led by mediocrities like this will never be at the top. Anyone living in a country like this is risking their life, health, and wealth. I am busting my rear end to be able to leave the USA. One of my workmates left two weeks ago.

  6. Larry Kudlow, biased to the core, the guy who claimed he was right on all things has always gotten right on my nerves.  He and the president have NO credibility and NO reputation.  Why they even air his opinions is media incompetence.  
    At this point we need opinions we can trust and his has never had one.  His opinions by his own admission slant hard right and now slant Trumpanista.  You get no honest information from him.  Media exposure needs to be given to people with a reputation for credibility, knowledge, and lack of political bias.  I read through what he said today and listened to a clip.  I knew less when I got done then when I started.

    Real problems like a probable pandemic requires a reputation for honesty and a reputation as a person who associates with and hires honest people.  We have the opposite.  Not only that we have developed a large percentage of Americans and a significant faux media that has no credibility meter at all.  The market shows fear is on the increase, and is riding herd on greed.  We do know consumer debt is high, defaults and delinquencies are at record levels, and this is with a good economy and with record government deficits.  And yes, many safety nets have been dismantled and resources diverted.  We may need to hock sections of wall to buy test kits, masks, and treatment for the uninsured and underinsured and reinstitute programs for communicable disease control.  We need to do this without credible leadership, a rainy day fund, and a very divided body politic.  We have problems  to have rational fears  about.  We have no time for con games, debunked conspiracy theories, and decoding the real "meaning" of meaningless tweets.  Houston, we have a problem.

  7. Laurie Garrett was on Rachel tonight. When asked why Trump dismantled the epidemic disease response infrastructure her answer was simple — because 
    Obama built it.

  8. Do not rely upon the power of catastrophe to damage Trump. He thrives on chaos and wrongness. The Trump cult will take the thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of COVID-19 deaths as evidence for him; ostensibly because mumble mumble deep state Hillary; in actuality because any defense of him is false, but false is true.

    Trumpism is itself like coronavirus: it's bad, it's getting worse, it's not yet under control, and we don't know yet how bad it will get.

    Kudlow proves that the cult is not just about Trump, it's about big money; their one true god, and the only thing they consider real.



  9. I largely agree with Pluky (Trump's insecurity & hate led him to destroy everything Obama built).  But there's a link in the Rolling Stone piece to the 2018 WaPo article about Adm. Ziemer "resigning" which makes it clear that he was pushed out by Bolton.  Unlike Trump, Bolton is a smart, focused infighter with a dangerous ideology who has been working for decades to install like-minded Neo-Cons throughout the US bureaucracy and squeeze out people who disagree with him.  So, the elimination of the Global Health Security office was "merely" collateral damage in the Neo-Con battle to take over our government.

  10. Unfortunately, I think it's at least possible, as Steve M. pointed out, that this could just as easily be Trump's 9/11: A complete fckup that he manages to convince just enough people is not his fault, and that the solution is to be "smart" and "tough." In this case, build a higher wall and generally piss off every other country (at least every other democracy). Think "No one, including citizens, gets into this country until we figure out what the hell is going on" wouldn't sell to his minions?

    After all, if Trump has demonstrated one superpower in his life, it's the ability to convince people he didn't fck up.

  11. It's generally not wise to predict the future of stock markets, but that's not what Kudlow and most other blowhards on or from financial teevee do. He is a market cheerleader who wouldn't be too out of place waving pompoms. That's why he has his job.

    Watching televised news reports about the coronavirus has become infuriating. The story line that everything was just fine until the virus showed up is oversimplification to the point of being a lie. The world economy has been iffy for some time. The virus might just be the thing that pushes it over the edge.

    Trump's presser would have been hilarious had it not been monstrously self-absorbed, immoral and unethical.



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