Larry Kudlow is best known as that talking head on financial TV who wants to cut taxes for rich people. He’s been saying the same thing for a long, long time. But now he’s in the running to become Donald Trump’s choice for the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. And if Kudlow’s predictions from a decade ago are any indication, he’s probably a really bad pick.
Prediction isn’t everything, mind you. Nobody knows precisely what the future holds. But when your predictions about the economy are so blinded by partisanship, it can get in the way of doing your job. And when you’re a colorful financial commentator, predicting what the future holds is quite literally your job.
Take, for instance, Kudlow’s prediction for the economy just before the Great Recession. In December of 2007, there were strong signs that things were about to collapse. The housing bubble was already beginning to burst, and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression was about to destroy the lives of many Americans.
But Kudlow insisted that everything looked fine and dandy:
The recession debate is over. It’s not gonna 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.
Noah Smith, a columnist at Bloomberg, makes a lot of other points about why Kudlow is a disastrous choice, including the fact that he’s not even an economist. (Kudlow didn’t even major in economics in college.) But a lack of credentials has never stopped Trump from making a decision.
The president-elect has shown time and again that he values loyalty over competence, and Kudlow has been loyal from the beginning. All he cares about is cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. And both Trump and Kudlow plan on doing that extensively for the next four years.
Given Kudlow’s track record with predictions, we should be at least a little skeptical when he says that this will jumpstart the economy.