Christine Stuart file photo


CNBC pundit and syndicated columnist Larry Kudlow has been giving increasingly loud hints about entering the Connecticut Senate race against incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal. First, Kudlow vowed to run if Blumenthal voted for the Iran Deal, which the senator did after much deliberation.

“The (National Republican Senatorial Committee) has come to me and talked to me about it,” Kudlow told the CT Post. “They’ve polled. I’m not a political guy. I’m an economist. I’m a broadcaster by profession. But I am so angry at this issue, among others.”

More recently, last weekend, Mr. Kudlow discussed the “strong rumors” of his run with AM970 radio host John Catsimatidis. “I can’t announce it today – there are all kinds of legal and financial ramifications. But I can only tell you, as a friend, that Judy and I are looking at it very carefully.”

Prior to discussing his own potential run, Kudlow summed up the current GOP primary landscape as: “a year of revolt…people are cranky and they are mean-spirited, or they’re blaming; it’s the fear of ISIS and bombings, it’s the lousy economy, it’s the poor wages and lackluster jobs, it’s like this whole package has come together and they’re blaming Washington and they want new faces.”

While I agree with Kudlow’s assessment of the GOP primary landscape, I must depart with him on his conclusion that voters will want the “new face” to be his. Because as those of us of a certain age – or anyone with an interest in history and Internet access– will know, Kudlow wasn’t always “a broadcaster by profession” and his face wouldn’t be at all new in Washington. According to his CNBC bio:  “ Kudlow was the associate director for economics and planning, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, where he was engaged in the development of the administration’s economic and budget policy.” The prospective Kudlow candidacy is being touted by Freedom Works, Steve Forbes, (scion of “The Capitalist Tool”)  and a Rupert Murdoch paper, which doesn’t exactly represent the epitome of ethics in journalism.

Back in November, I attended a forum at Greenwich Library co-sponsored by the Greenwich Economic Advisory Council and the Yankee Institute for Public Policy which Mr. Kudlow moderated, frequently injecting his own commentary. At one point I whispered to a friend: “Did we take the Hot Tub Time Machine back to 1981?” 

Kudlow and his corporate, one percent allies see the unrest in this country, look at the same charts we do, and actually believe voters are stupid enough to disregard 30 years of data on the same failed policies they sold to this country back when I was an undergraduate in university.

I guess he thinks we still believe that the money corporations and the wealthiest Americans will save in taxes will trickle down to the rest of us, right?

Wrong.

Just look at the data in the 2011 report from the Congressional Budget Office on the growth in income inequality between 1979 – 2007. Reagan and his team (of which Kudlow was a part) and implementing their supply-sider ideas in January 1981.

Furthermore, a June 2015 study from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that income distribution matters for sustainability and growth. “If the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth. The poor and the middle class matter the most for growth via a number of interrelated economic, social, and political channels. “

“With the economy at 2 percent or less, we ought to have a 15 percent corporate tax, not a 40 percent,” Kudlow said during the Catsimatidis broadcast.

Does he honestly think we still believe that the money corporations save in taxes will trickle down to the rest of us?

Let’s for a moment assume corporations are actually paying a 40 percent corporate tax rate, which based on the following charts, looks…unlikely at best.

The data still doesn’t bear out supply side theory. Look at Kansas, Wisconsin,  and Louisiana.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Congress just passed a tax-extender deal that the Joint Committee on taxation scored as costing $680 billion over the next 10 years – that’s $830 billion if we include interest.  We should do that because there are no concomitant savings; in other words, we are financing tax cuts with borrowed money. We worry about our international competitiveness, but our unwillingness to legislate rationally is one of the things that makes us an unattractive investment. And given the market turmoil in China, we shouldn’t keep relying on them to buy us out of our financial hole.

The Republican Party has spent the last 30 years kowtowing to the religious Right, peddling “voodoo economics”  – George H.W. Bush was right about that – and anti-intellectualism.  The strongest part of their base now consists of white voters without a college degree, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. This is the very same group of voters from whence Donald Trump draws his support, yet for some reason Republican party establishment continues to be surprised by the Donald’s ascent. “The GOP carried that group by 14 percentage points in 2008 and a whopping 26 points in 2012. However, these voters — who skew older and more rural — decline 3 percentage points every four years as a share of the overall electorate. In contrast, white degree-holders — who still lean Republican but are much likelier to support Democrats than whites without a degree — rise a percentage point every four years.”

You “built that”, GOP. And Larry Kudlow was part of the very team that helped you do it, back in the early 80’s.

The Connecticut Republican Party has to make a choice –keep up the current strategy of playing to an untenable (and losing) coalition of an ever shrinking anti-intellectual demographic and the one percent, or focus on fiscal responsibility based on data, not on disproven ideology.

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. A former securities analyst, she’s now an adjunct in the MFA program at WCSU, and enjoys helping young people discover the power of finding their voice as an instructor at the Writopia Lab.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.