President Donald Trump’s economic policies not only represent a sharp break from his predecessor, but they are working, economic analyst and political commentator Larry Kudlow said Monday.
Speaking on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Kudlow said Democrats are upset because they do not want to admit that Trump’s policies of lower taxes and fewer regulations are pushing the economy forward.
“He’s ending [Barack] Obama’s war on business, and he’s reopening the door to capitalism,” he told guest host Raymond Arroyo on the program. “That’s what he’s doing. And all these people on the Left and various Trump critics, they see it. They just hate to acknowledge it, because he’s so right, judging from the performance.”
The centerpiece of Trump’s economic agenda is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which he signed into law last month. But critics seized on a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday indicating that despite a wave of announcements by companies about pay raises and bonuses to their employees, only 2 percent of Americans had gotten such a benefit as a result of the tax cut.
Most respondents also said corporations and the wealthy will benefit the most. Half said they expect to pay the same or more in taxes as a result of the legislation — while just 24 percent anticipate paying less.
“He’s not an isolationist. He’s an internationalist. But it has to be in terms that America will benefit.”
Kudlow, host of “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC, predicted those views will change when the new tax withholding rules take effect next month. He added that the response by companies — pay raises, bonuses, new investment in the United States — is unprecedented in his experience.
“I’ve never seen such an outpouring of response to a tax bill, and I’ve been around,” said Kudlow. “I worked for [Ronald] Reagan. I saw the Reagan tax bills. Nothing like this has ever happened.”
Kudlow said he expects Trump to focus heavily on the economy during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, picking up where he left off in last week’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“I think he’s going to be conciliatory,” he said. “He’s going to be circumspect. He’s going to lay out the case that he made in Davos, which I thought was a brilliant speech, incidentally, actually a brilliant strategy.”
Kudlow said he particularly appreciated Trump’s line that “‘America First’ does not mean America alone.” That sent an important signal, Kudlow said.
“That was a brilliant line in the Davos speech, and it indicated that the USA, President Trump, is willing to work with other countries. All right?” he said. “He’s not an isolationist. He’s an internationalist. But it has to be in terms that America will benefit.”
A number of prominent conservative economists who have preached the gospel of free trade expressed alarm during Trump’s 2016 campaign because he talked about ripping up trade deals. But Kudlow said it appears Trump just wants to tilt the terms of the international trade system toward the United States.
Kudlow predicted Trump would not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and maybe even will revisit the Trans Pacific Partnership — as long as it is reciprocal.
“I happen to agree with that,” said Kudlow. “I’m a free trader, but I think, you know, deals have to be good.”
(photo credit, homepage image: Larry Kudlow, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore; photo credit, article image: President Donald J. Trump Addresses the Nation…, CC BY 2.0, James N. Mattis / Larry Kudlow, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)