Larry Kudlow Gives Away the Republicans' Deficit Game

Screenshot: CNN
Screenshot: CNN

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office today confirmed that, on top of radically shifting wealth to the top even further, the Republican tax bill is going to make the deficit worse. The director of the National Economic Council, Trump’s fellow TV man Larry Kudlow, took to television to explain why these CBO projections don’t really count.


According to the CBO’s projections released on Monday, the deficit will surpass $1 trillion per year by 2020, and from 2017, will spike 21 percent to $804 billion. “Federal debt is projected to be on a steadily rising trajectory throughout the decade,” CBO director Keith Hall said after the release of the report. “The increase stems primarily from tax and spending legislation enacted since then—especially the 2017 tax act, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.”

On Monday night, Kudlow dismissed the CBO projections out of hand. “The CBO, God bless ‘em, they’re very lowball economic growth estimates,” Kudlow told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “The last I looked, they were slightly below 2 percent growth for the next ten years. Our view is lower tax rates, particularly business, create incentives to invest in work ethic and pick up productivity and wages.”


“I’ll take a somewhat larger deficit in order to finance long-term growth in the economy,” Kudlow said.

Burnett then hit Kudlow, a former CNBC host, with a clip of him on 2009 complaining about deficits under former President Barack Obama. “The families of America take a look at this budget and these humongous deficits and the doubling of the debt and so forth and the out of control spending,” Kudlow said in 2009. “This is the most unbalanced fiscal story coming out of Washington, really in our history.”

Kudlow didn’t skip a beat. “The trouble I had with the Obama program was that it was all spending,” Kudlow responded. “And most of it was not spending for infrastructure, most of it was spending for welfare, social spending. That’s not a growth prescription.”

Translation: not all of the money from the Obama stimulus flowed into corporate boardrooms. Therefore, it wasn’t worth it.


Over the past several months, Congressional Republicans who were elected on the back of concern trolling about deficits and debt have struggled to come up with a coherent excuse for why they were alright with voting for the tax bill despite the fact that it would sharply increase the deficit, something that they couldn’t stop screeching about for all of the Obama years.

Kudlow’s answer represents the reality, that Republicans simply do not care about increasing the deficit as long as they’re used to pay for those things which make America truly great: wars and tax cuts for the disgustingly wealthy. But if the deficit were to be increased in order to pay for something truly horrific—like, say, Medicare for all, or making public college tuition free, or guaranteed housing, or anything tangible that could be shared amongst the public—that would be a tragedy.


Just something to keep in mind for the next time Republicans are out of power, and inevitably hollering—again—about out-of-control deficits and spending.

News editor, Splinter

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