President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser insists there are no signs of a recession on the horizon — but he’s been staggeringly wrong before.
Larry Kudlow went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend to assure viewers that no economic downturn was coming, but the Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake pointed out that his track record for predictions was pitiful.
“Well, I’ll tell you what: I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow told host Chuck Todd. “So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”
That sounds a lot like what Kudlow was saying in 2007 and 2008 — just before a deep recession hit.
Kudlow praised the “Bush boom” in a December 2007 column for the National Review, and reassured nervous investors the economy was just fine.
“There’s no recession coming,” Kudlow wrote at the time. “The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen … 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.”
Kudlow kept on singing the same tune in another column, from February 2008, even as signs mounted of economic trouble.
“I’m going to bet that the economy will be rebounding sometime this summer, if not sooner,” he wrote. “We are in a slow patch. That’s all. It’s nothing to get up in arms about.”
Kudlow’s optimism never wavered, at least in his public pronouncements, as late as July 2008, despite surging foreclosures and tumbling stocks.
“An awful lot of very good new news, which appear to be pointing to a bottom in the housing problem,” Kudlow chirped. “In fact, maybe the tiniest beginnings of a recovery.”
Kudlow’s predictions haven’t gotten any more accurate since getting an office in the White House in March 2018.
He claimed in June 2018 that the deficit was “coming down rapidly” due to economic growth, but the deficit wasn’t coming down at all — and he offered a flimsy excuse when he was called out by CNBC’s Eamon Javers.
“I was referring to future deficits,” Kudlow said. “I think it will come down in 2018, and the big reductions will come in future years.”
That hasn’t happened, and, in fact, the deficit grew by 17 percent in fiscal year 2018, and projections show it’s headed toward $1 trillion.
The deficit isn’t coming down this year, either, despite an increased rate of economic growth, and doesn’t appear likely to come down anytime soon.
Kudlow predicted in January 2018 that the GDP would grow between 3 percent and 4 percent, thanks to the Republican tax cuts, but has so far grown by only 2.5 percent.
He predicted in April 2018 that the GDP would reach 5 percent growth, for at least a brief period, but the highest quarterly growth measured since then was 3.5 percent.