Scandals, Jobs & the Economy

by Larry Kudlow

When President Richard Nixon collided with the Watergate scandal he was a very unpopular man. The nation at the time was suffering one of the worst recessions in history, and one of the highest inflation rates, too. So Watergate sunk Dick Nixon, but for good measure, the economy sunk him even more.

Roughly 25 years later, Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But despite his personal transgressions, he never really lost his popularity. Why? The economy was roaring.

So you might say scandals are less scandalous during prosperity, and more scandalous during recession.

As for the current president, he finds himself with a precariously thin margin. As yet, there is no clear and direct link between President Obama and a trove of political scandals. Not yet. And while he doesn’t have a recession on his hands, not even the president’s strongest supporter believes we’re in some kind of Reagan-Clinton economic boom.

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Tax Reform Is the IRS Fix

by Larry Kudlow

Apart from criminal prosecution, the best way to strip the power of politics and corruption from the IRS is to initiate broad-based, pro-growth tax reform and simplification. It’s the complexity of the tax code that nurtures the corruptness of the IRS.

There’s a buzz in Washington about this possibility, where both Democrats and Republicans are interested in reform. We need a simpler and flatter tax code. We need to get rid of the crony-capitalist insider deductions and exemptions, which have given the IRS so much power. These deductions and exemptions are precisely what nurtured the political corruption that led to a major scandal. 

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No Less Than a Special Counsel

by Larry Kudlow

An independent special counsel with subpoena power is the only possible solution to the IRS mess. This counsel must find out exactly what happened and who was involved, and then come up with a fix so it never happens again.

Read my full column here.

Immigration Reform Is Pro-Growth

by Larry Kudlow

At the end of the day, the battle over immigration reform is not about dollars and cents. It’s about the soul of a nation. President Reagan reminded us that America must remain a “beacon” and a “shining city on a hill” for immigrants who renew our great country with their energy while adding to economic growth and prosperity.

And here’s a quote from Jack Kemp: “Americans and immigrants share the same value of work, family, and opportunity. There is no reason to fear the newcomers arriving on our shores today. If anything, they will energize what is best about our country.”

It strikes me that the Republican party has lost its growth-and-opportunity message in recent years, and has replaced it with a very austere vision. Debt, deficits, and budget-cutting all have their place in the economic-policy debate. But the GOP has forgotten that strong economic growth leads to a balanced budget, not the other way around.

The GOP must reclaim the growth-and-optimism message of Reagan and Kemp. Immigration reform is part of that message. 

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April Jobs Aside, We’re Falling Behind

by Larry Kudlow

The really good news from April’s employment report is that all the pessimistic, end-of-the-world, spring-swoon forecasters were wrong. It wasn’t a fabulous report. But it handily beat Wall Street expectations. Stock markets soared on the news.

The bad news, however, is that the U.S. continues to fall further behind its own long-term trends for jobs and economic growth. And lately, hours worked — a key labor measure — have begun to fall. 

Read my full column here.