The past week has generated considerable concern about the state of the economy. And among the most anxious observers is Donald Trump, who knows that his reelection is dependent on being able to tout a positive outlook. However, due to his own ignorance and incompetence, the real world isn’t cooperating. The stock market is down for the third consecutive week. The dreaded “yield curve inversion,” a fairly reliable signal of an imminent recession, took place. And there’s a global slowdown in manufacturing and consumption.
So how is the Trump White House responding to these warnings that will impact every American? They are sending out their most accomplished liars to peddle utterly false impressions of the health of the economy. Topping that list is Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow. He’s a notorious failure whose record for accurate predictions is almost comical. The President hired him after watching his Trump-fluffing performances on Fox News.
On Sunday morning Kudlow made the news talkies circuit to blatantly mislead the nation about their economic future. His performance was notably ineffective, at least partly because he appeared to be stinking drunk, which the Internet couldn’t help but notice. More importantly, his summary of the rosy scenario that the White House is pitching could not have been more deliberately deceitful. In an exchange with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Kudlow engaged in this fantasy (video below):
Todd: The private sector seems to be concerned about the trade war with China, that there are some rough waters ahead. Maybe a recession, that those odds have risen. What do you see?
Kudlow: Well, I tell you what. I sure don’t see a recession. […] Most economists on Wall Street towards the end of the week have been marking up their forecasts for the third and fourth quarter. That echoes our view. What we’ve got here, consumers are working at higher wages. They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually also saving while they’re spending as an ideal situation. So actually I think the second half of the economy is going to be very good in 2019. No, I sure don’t see a recession.
First of all, it is patently untrue that “most economists on Wall Street … have been marking up their forecasts.” To the contrary, many have been sending up flares to warn of what they see as an inevitable decline. To be sure there are those with more optimistic views, but those types of Pollyannas have always been around just prior to the sky actually falling. Case in point…Larry Kudlow in 2007, who insisted that “The pessimistas were wrong…There’s no recession coming.” That was just a few months before the worst recession in nearly a century:
Chuck Todd reads Larry Kudlow his own quote from December 2007:
"There's no recession coming. 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." pic.twitter.com/Q9Y3J0ebNz
— Axios (@axios) August 18, 2019
Kudlow went on to justify his horribly missed call by lying that “Every other forecaster” was saying the same thing. While he was not alone, there were some more accurate predictors, including current presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. And Warren is cautioning people to be aware of another similar downturn. Some of the indicators are economists’ estimates of third-quarter GDP growth at about two percent, way short of the four percent that Trump promised. Also, the manufacturing sector is slumping with output that has fallen 0.4 percent in July. Plus, the University of Michigan’s survey-based index of consumer confidence fell sharply in August, reaching its lowest level since 2016.
Meanwhile, Trump is telling his glassy-eyed disciples attending his cult rallies that “You have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k), everything is going to be down the tubes. Whether you love me or hate me, you have got to vote for me.” So did Trump just admit that voting for him would result in an economic catastrophe? That would be uncharacteristically honest of him.
Of course, he didn’t actually mean that. He was engaging in his classic brand of fear-mongering to make sure his cult followers stay frightened and in line. But the truth is that Trump couldn’t care less about the financial prospects of the American people. He is solely focused on his own interests – either personal finances or reelection – and that is what’s driving everything he does and says. His Deplorables won’t learn that until it’s too late. But hopefully, they will be spared that suffering, which can be avoided if citizens come together to vote Trump out or back Congressional efforts to impeach him.
Kudlow: "I sure don't see a recession" pic.twitter.com/MgJdKMdXmS
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 18, 2019