Home / General / The Election of Donald Trump Was A Populist Blow Against Neoliberalism

The Election of Donald Trump Was A Populist Blow Against Neoliberalism


Donald Trump mysteriously let a former Goldman Sachs CEO be his top economic adviser, despite his well-known antipathy to Wall Street. Nobody will ever be able to explain how this happened. Fortunately, someone Trump informed about this, so Cohn is out. I wonder who the replacement will be. Eliot Spitzer? Naomi Klein?

Larry Kudlow, a CNBC television commentator who has informally advised President Trump on economic issues, is currently the top contender to head the National Economic Council, according to three people close to the president.

Mr. Kudlow emerged Monday as the latest favorite in a changing rotation of potential replacements for Gary D. Cohn, who said he would resign after losing a battle over the president’s longstanding desire to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Mr. Trump spoke with Mr. Kudlow on Sunday and again on Monday, according to two of the people close to the president. The job has not been formally offered, but the president was encouraging of Mr. Kudlow, the people familiar with the discussions said, and he is likely to interview him in the coming days.

Finally, economic populism comes to the White House!

A dozen years ago, I wrote a book about the unshakable grip of supply-side economics upon the Republican Party. Supply-side economics is not merely a generalized preference for small government with low taxes, but a commitment to the cause of low taxes, particularly for high earners, that borders on theological. In the time that has passed since then, that grip has not weakened at all. The appointment of Lawrence Kudlow as head of the National Economic Council indicates how firmly supply-siders control Republican economic policy, and how little impact years of failed analysis have had upon their place of power.

The Republican stance on taxes, like its position on climate change (fake) and national health insurance (against it), is unique among right-of-center parties in the industrialized world. Republicans oppose higher taxes everywhere and always, at every level of government. In 2012, every Republican presidential candidate, including moderate Jon Huntsman, indicated they would oppose accepting even a dollar of higher taxes in return for $10 dollars of spending cuts. They likewise believe tax cuts are the necessary tonic for every economic circumstance.

The purest supply-siders, like Kudlow, go further and deeper in their commitment. Kudlow attributes every positive economic indicator to lower taxes, and every piece of negative news to higher taxes. While that sounds absurd, it is the consistent theme he has maintained throughout his career as a prognosticator. It’s not even a complex form of kookery, if you recognize the pattern. It’s a very simple and blunt kind of kookery.

People who think that electing Trump represented some kind of economic populist turn in the GOP are, how shall I put this, idiots.

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