Larry Kudlow should resign

I like Larry Kudlow—-let’s start with that. But he’s not well suited to be a top administration advisor.

First he had to sell his free trade soul and endorse Trump’s protectionism. Now his relentless optimism (normally a good quality) is wildly ill suited the problems we face. Here’s Kudlow on June 22nd:

Kudlow says ‘no second wave’ of coronavirus coming

There’s no shame on getting it wrong—I also underestimated the threat. The problem comes when public policy is shaped by the assumption that things will go well. Public policymakers need to assume the worst, plan for the worst-case scenario. Congress’s recent stimulus package should have allocated funds under the assumption that there is a 100% chance of another Carrington Event in the year 2021.

I’ve lost a lot of respect for the conservative movement, which has stuck its head in the sand regarding both global warming and Covid-19. And now we are beginning to pay the price.

Trump needs to clean house if he wants to get re-elected. His current advisors are leading him down a path that threatens to create non-stop problems all through 2020.

People forget that Carter lost in a landslide despite a V-shaped recovery in 1980:

It’s hard to imagine Trump winning if this second wave of Covid-19 persists and the economy stalls. (BTW, the second wave is now causing increased deaths, not just increased cases. Remember a few weeks ago when conservatives assured us it was just a matter of increased testing, and that deaths would keep falling?)

I obviously hope that Trump loses. But I don’t want him to lose badly enough to root for America being put through the wringer for many more months.

Trump needs new advisors, and a Manhattan Project to attack this problem on all fronts.

PS. Roger Stone refuses to testify against Trump, knowing he’d be pardoned. And now his sentence has been commuted. As I keep saying, we are a banana republic. Although maybe “mafia state” would be more descriptive—Trump uses mafia language in describing people who do their duty and report crimes.

The only honest man left in the GOP:

PPS. Barr refuses to prosecute Flynn for lying to federal law enforcement officials. Yeah, it was a dubious case, but so are most other federal cases. Since when does the federal government refuse to prosecute people for lying to the FBI? Suppose it were you or I? Banana republic.

PPPS. Trump gets his talking points from Tucker Carlson. Now we know why he likes Tucker so much, Carlson’s material is written by Blake Neff:

Just this week, the writer, Blake Neff, responded to a thread started by another user in 2018 with the subject line, “Would u let a JET BLACK congo n****er do lasik eye surgery on u for 50% off?” Neff wrote, “I wouldn’t get LASIK from an Asian for free, so no.” (The subject line was not censored on the forum.) On June 5, Neff wrote, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down.” On June 24, Neff commented, “Honestly given how tired black people always claim to be, maybe the real crisis is their lack of sleep.” On June 26, Neff wrote that the only people who care about changing the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins are “white libs and their university-‘educated’ pets.”

And over the course of five years, Neff has maintained a lengthy thread in which he has derided a woman and posted information about her dating life that has invited other users to mock her and invade her privacy. There has at times also been overlap between some material he posted or saw on the forum and Carlson’s show.

SJWs are right about one thing. The conservative movement hides a lot of racists. Gee, I wonder why Trump says Mexican-American judges are biased, and dark skinned leftist pols should go back to Africa, and America shouldn’t take immigrants from shit hole countries, and black NASCAR drivers should apologize for hoaxes they never committed, and Confederate symbols are honorable, and black athletes who protest racism should be fired while whites should not be fired for racist comments. Where could he possibly be getting these strange views?

PPPPS. I see that Clarence Thomas did not think that Bill Clinton should have been above the law in the Paula Jones case, but does think that Trump should be above the law in the New York corruption case.

Gotta love those “conservative” judges.

PPPPPS A while back I said Trump’s phase one China deal was a face-saving retreat, and there’d be no face two. Trumpista commenters said I was wrong. Now Trump admits I was right:

President Donald Trump said a phase two trade deal with China isn’t under consideration, saying the relationship between Washington and Beijing has deteriorated too much.

PPPPPPS. When Tesla stock was in the $200 to $300 range, its high valuation was cited as evidence that the stock market is prone to bubbles. I guess the current price ($1500) makes that bubble argument even stronger. Right? 🙂



43 Responses to “Larry Kudlow should resign”

  1. Gravatar of liam liam
    11. July 2020 at 11:36

    Protectionism has overwhelming support. Even liberals, like Joe Biden, are calling for a “buy American” policy.

    Academia is becoming too arrogant. We don’t listen to the people on the front lines anymore.

    If these innovators are calling for “protection”, because they cannot compete on price, then we might want to listen.

    No politician will advocate for the removal of unions and the minimum wage. So either we do what we can within the current framework, or find ourselves working for, and living under, the CCP.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. July 2020 at 12:11

    liam, You said:

    “Protectionism has overwhelming support.”

    No it doesn’t, at least not based on polls. Just the opposite:

    Polls can be misleading, but other evidence is also inconsistent with your claim.

  3. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    11. July 2020 at 13:33

    “No politician will advocate for the removal of unions and the minimum wage.”
    The right wing politicians have been trying to do this since the NationaL Labor Relations Act was passed.

  4. Gravatar of El roam El roam
    11. July 2020 at 13:53

    With all due respect, Justice Thomas, didn’t conclude nothing of such. On the contrary, he claimed as the majority and in conformity with previous precedents, that the president, doesn’t have absolute immunity. No way. He has just distinguished, between issuance of the subpoena and the enforcement of it. Yet, it is up to the president, the burden of proof, that such subpoena can’t be enforced due to the burden he bears, as the president.

    Here I quote him:

    “I agree with the majority that the President does not have absolute immunity from the issuance of a grand jury subpoena.”

    And further:

    ” I would do so and instruct them to apply the standard articulated by Chief Justice Marshall in Burr: if the president is unable to comply because of his official duties, then he is entitled to injunctive and declaratory relief.”

    Here to the ruling by the way:


  5. Gravatar of Thomas Thomas
    11. July 2020 at 15:19

    I agree with your conclusion re Kudlow but want to correct one thing, he is technically correct – the US is still going through its first wave.

  6. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    11. July 2020 at 15:44

    Barr refuses to prosecute Flynn for lying to federal law enforcement officials. Yeah, it was a dubious case, but so are most other federal cases. Since when does the federal government refuse to prosecute people for lying to the FBI? Suppose it were you or I? Banana republic.


    the incorrect handling in many other cases cannot be taken seriously as an argument that one must again behave incorrectly in the cases mentioned. It’s never too late to finally repent.

    Your reasoning should be exactly the other way around: Now that it suddenly seems to be possible to help these people, it must finally be possible to help all the victims of the FBI and to finally tackle the excesses of all the prosecution authorities.

    The media seems to report far too little about this issue, and when they do, it is usually shockingly uncritical.

    You often have to work your way through eternal Google searches before you even find out why it was investigated at all. All “investigations” usually follow a very similar pattern. First, one has difficulties to find out the actual reason for the investigation, then the investigation usually runs into nothing, even though it’s very broad, but nevertheless the pre-selected targets are still brought to trial based on hair-raising charges like “lying to the FBI”.

    If you read through the background stories on the cases, you seem to have three options when dealing with the federal agencies in America: You plead guilty to the crimes the FBI has charged you with, then you get convicted. You make statements to the FBI, but they are not the statements the FBI wants to hear, then you are accused of “lying to the FBI”, which is actually (!!!) a crime in the US. Or third, you block the “investigation” completely, for example by not making any statements at all, but then they might still attack you for example with charges like “obstruction of justice”. Or you tell a friend to the same, then they attack you with “tampering a witness”.

    I have said this before, the American conditions remind me strongly of Kafka’s dystopias or also certain “witch tests” in the Middle Ages. The “witch” was tied up and thrown into a well, if she resurfaced she was burned as a witch, if she drowned she was innocent and in the kingdom of heaven. In this sense the first “witch trials” were even ahead of the FBI, because there was at least a way to prove your innocence.

    PS. I’ve also been trying to figure out what these subpoenas are all about. Again, there seems to be considerable political motivation. For one thing, Congress would like to subpoena him, and for another, a New York state grand jury. They want his tax records for at least the last 10 years. But why? All I could find, and you really have to google, was about the grand jury in New York and the article said that they want to investigate “potential irregularities in his tax and business records”. If it wasn’t so dystopian and sad, I’d say it’s great real-life satire.

    PPS. Tesla seems completely absurd to me. Why shouldn’t it be a bubble? The market capitalisation is more than the market capitalisation of Toyota. The market capitalization of Tesla is ten times more than the sales of Tesla. And this is supposed to be real? In the case of the other car companies, the ratio of market capitalisation to sales is often a maximum of 1:1 or even worse.

    Tesla’s valuation would only be real if companies like Toyota, VW, BMW, Mercedes permanently lose large market shares or even completely disappear from the market.

  7. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    11. July 2020 at 16:04

    I am dubious that free trade and de facto open borders are raising living standards for the employee-class of America, and there were 160 million US workers (before Covid 19).

    You want a happy nation, then shoot for tight labor markets and loose property markets.

    The US has tried the opposite course for the last 50 years.

    So you get this:

    Biden says investors ‘don’t need me,’ calls for end of ‘era of shareholder capitalism’
    PUBLISHED THU, JUL 9 20206:33 PM EDTUPDATED FRI, JUL 10 202010:55 AM EDT

    The end of shareholder capitalism?

    When the best option is Trump…things are in a bad way.

  8. Gravatar of milljas milljas
    11. July 2020 at 16:27

    I’ve noticed a few bubbles. 1) Investment books 2) The number of people that think they can spot bubbles.

    The arguments in the past were “Tesla is worth more than Ford!”

    This might be credible or it might not. The nature of how people talked about Tesla made me want to buy it, the short thesis’ were not well argued. While the fundamentals did strongly suggest a short. I still don’t quite see how in 10 years it can fend off so many competitors. I won’t call Tesla a bubble, I’m not quite the bubble czar like you but I think most things in most places are reasonably well priced.

    I do think the odds of it underperforming are better than it outperforming from here. Check back in 1,3 and 5.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. July 2020 at 17:41

    El Roam, So he favors letting Trump off on a technicality but not Clinton. OK, I can buy that.

    Thomas, Yes, but of course you and I both know what he meant.

    Christian, You said:

    “It’s never too late to finally repent.”

    LOL. Trump has finally seen the light and believes the the rule of law—reversing all the evil actions of previous dictators like Bush and Obama.

    Sure, there are plenty of abuses, as you say. But conservatives only care about them when it’s a Trump buddy. I actually think top federal officials should be held to a higher standard when talking to the FBI then some poor uneducated schmuck, who could easily get flustered or confused.

    Are you saying Tesla is a bubble at $200 or at $1500? (Not that I care, as no one knows what bubbles are, so your opinion is worthless. No offense–so is mine.)

    Ben, North Korea has successfully avoided free trade and open borders, so give them some credit.

    Milljas, I think we agree. In any skyrocketing stock there is almost always a greater odds of a fall, as the upside is always greater than the downside. When Tesla was $200 it might go to $2200, but not negative $1800. So it must be more likely to fall in an efficient capital market.

  10. Gravatar of anon85 anon85
    11. July 2020 at 18:48

    In regards to Tesla stocks:

    I won’t use the word “bubble”, but I think advocates of the efficient market hypothesis need to be careful to distinguish between two similar sounding claims.

    One version of the efficient market hypothesis, one I agree with, is that you cannot predict whether stock prices will go up or down in a way that allows you to make money (which is pretty much any way at all, except for maybe spending $1 billion on hiring expert analysts or something). I agree with this, so I don’t predict that Tesla prices will drop.

    Another version of the efficient market hypothesis says that stock prices accurately reflect the best estimate we have about time-discounted expected future dividends. I don’t see why this needs to be true. Assets like gold or bitcoin pay no dividends, and are only held because people think (likely correctly) that others will value these assets in the future. Gold and bitcoin are not productive; they don’t have (much) intrinsic economic value. Their price is a social phenomenon, reflecting others’ expected future preferences for holding these goods.

    It is possible that due to Musk’s cult of personality, Tesla stock is becoming like gold. That is, people hold it out of some kind of signalling reason about how they like Musk, and investors hold it because they believe common folk would still want to signal Musk affinity in the future. Under this theory, I still cannot predict the expected future value of Tesla stock, but I might be able to say that it is more likely than other stocks to suddenly crash or to suddenly skyrocket (and, while I haven’t been following Tesla stock much, it is plausible that market indicators agree with this assessment).

  11. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    11. July 2020 at 19:03

    Babylon Bee sums it up nicely: “Governors Reinstate Lockdowns to Combat Recovering Economy”

  12. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    11. July 2020 at 19:12

    Scott Sumner: All the economies of the Asian Pacific are heavily state-managed, and none have open borders or practice free trade.
    The region is booming (well, until C19).

    Anyway, your choice in the US is Trump or the guy who wants to end “shareholder capitalism.” AOC may be next.

    Until the US pursues tight labor markets and loose property markets…it will be a nation in polarized decline.

    Good luck everybody.

  13. Gravatar of Thomas Hutcheson Thomas Hutcheson
    11. July 2020 at 19:48

    “It’s hard to imagine Trump winning if this second wave of Covid-19 persists and the economy stalls.”

    The (real) economy will stall only if the Fed fails keep/return NGDP to its pre-Covid rate. But I do not expect them to do that so the economy will continue in deep recession.

  14. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    11. July 2020 at 19:59


    Maybe bubble is the wrong word, it’s negatively charged in your mind. Maybe one should say “subjective fair price”.

    You’re an independent thinker, if thousands of people seem to have an opinion, that’s no reason for you to simply adopt that opinion, you prefer to think for yourself. That is the right approach. Why should it be different with price opinions?

    Let the Tesla stock buyers have their price opinion, you have your own subjective price opinion and I currently see no reason why an individual price opinion should automatically be worse. Of course the Tesla stock buyers are always welcome to convince me with arguments of the opposite, but I don’t see any real arguments from them, especially not plausible ones.

    “It’s never too late to finally repent.” – LOL. Trump has finally seen the light and believes the the rule of law.

    It’s not about Trump, he won’t repent, it is about us. Do we want to be like Trump and other polarizers? Or do we always try to be honest and find the truth? We should not play the game of (political) polarization where one pretends that two wrongs make one right.

    And how in the world is Romney honest, he is just really, really bitter. What happend to his Christian values, there’s nothing Christian about him.

  15. Gravatar of El roam El roam
    11. July 2020 at 23:49

    Ssumenr, you have written in the post:

    “above the law”

    That is not the conclusion of Justice Thomas, neither him, nor any other judge whatever. Justice Thomas has explained very well his legal position:

    His legal position has nothing to do with Trump personally, and surly not technicality. One may disagree, but, based on constitutional textual analysis, he has reached that legal conclusion.

    Neither Trump, nor technical, nothing of such. With any sitting president, even an alien one, he would have reached the same conclusion.


  16. Gravatar of El roam El roam
    12. July 2020 at 00:28

    Comments I have posted, disappeared. Maybe due to more than one link. So again, with separation:


    And what you right about Clinton v. Jones, is simply irrelevant and incorrect. Just read here, with great simplicity, about the case ( generally speaking):

  17. Gravatar of El roam El roam
    12. July 2020 at 00:32

    I have problem with the second link. Maybe shorten one, so here, with more details, about the immunity of one sitting president:

  18. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    12. July 2020 at 05:45

    “You can’t handle the truth!” I’m losing long-time friends over Trump. No, not because I get in their face about Trump, but because they suspect, they suspect, I don’t support Trump, that I don’t admire Trump, that I don’t understand that the greater threat to America are Black Lives Matter, the social justice warriors, and the disrespectful people who would take down statues of Confederates and slave owners. Trump’s most loyal supporters are evangelical Christians, which confuses many non-evangelicals. Now we know:

  19. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    12. July 2020 at 06:17

    What seems clear is that my friends who support Trump are as insecure about their support for Trump as Trump is insecure about himself: the need for reassurance and confirmation, the rejection of anything that might question or weaken their support of Trump. It’s odd: Trump supporters have become Trump!

  20. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    12. July 2020 at 07:14

    Kudlow best trait was his optimism. He is a good guy——but some jobs don’t suit a person.

    I don’t recall you ever commenting on Clarence Thomas before—-I thought his “not above the law” quote for Clinton was in regard to purjury—-could be wrong

    You right an essay critical of identity politics and then imply here that the left is not racist—-just the right.

    You were not right about Trump on China trade deal—-it’s like saying a “cat is right” on the trade deal.

    I agree Trump needs something new—-maybe a complete change—-or at least a few key ones. Economy is key

    The Dems will receive great resistance about canceling much of our history etc

    Yes we knew deaths would start rising—-question is how much relative to cases. But deaths and caseS I expect will both decline again —-well before November. I don’t know if a target number of deaths below some number (700, 500?) a day is required.

    Yes, economy is key. Trump is not as behind as it seems but he is behind, no doubt. For a “cat” he has a lot going for him. But he needs luck (economy and Covid—-both possible) and consistency.

    He is lucky he is running against a chaotic party as an opponent.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. July 2020 at 09:31

    Anon85, I doubt the gold-like quality of Tesla is much different at $1500 than $200. He’s always been a cult figure with investors.

    Ben, You said:

    “All the economies of the Asian Pacific are heavily state-managed, and none have open borders or practice free trade.”

    LOL. You get more zany every day.

    Michael, No, I believe the extreme left is racist. I never implied otherwise.

  22. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. July 2020 at 09:54

    Good post, but one statement I don’t get is this:

    “Trump needs to clean house if he wants to get re-elected. His current advisors are leading him down a path that threatens to create non-stop problems all through 2020.”

    Since when does Trump listen to anyone, on any consistent basis? And who’s he going to get who’s better? The vast majority of qualified people want nothing to do with this administration, especially considering that it’s deemed widely likely it won’t last much longer. It would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. And this would be true even if Trump weren’t expecting people to overlook the crimes he commits on a regular basis, if not directly commit crimes themselves.

  23. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. July 2020 at 09:59

    By the way, since Democrats not uncommonly choose Republicans for top cabinet positions, perhaps Mitt Romney should be at least considered for Secretary of State. He tried to warn us about Russia several years ago, and most thought he was being shrill or just political. Biden seems to like the idea of unity and working across the aisle, so maybe it would be a good fit.

  24. Gravatar of Jg Jg
    12. July 2020 at 11:44

    Hypocrisy abounds. It does not mean crap . If you really dig deep, the dem party would be first in line to be cancelled as evidence that the party supported slavery , Jim Crow and the current and pernicious identity politics or shall I say the politics of skin pigmentation. On this site there is no right or wrong In the objective sense . It’s scott site so he determines what is right and what is wrong. It is called subjective truth as he himself put it.

  25. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. July 2020 at 15:18

    Scott Sumner—i am not sure what you are talking about. Which major Asian Pacific economies have open borders for immigration, practice true free trade, and do not have heavy state management of the economy?

    China? Japan? S Korea? The most state-managed economy of all is Singapore, although they do have a liberal immigration policy.

    Very typical—Singapore is now practising import substituion in vegetables, building multistory vegetable-fish farms with state subsidies and a state goal of 30% self sufficiency.

    You know the old saw about Minnesota building hot houses to grow bananas? Singapore operates that way.

  26. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. July 2020 at 15:26

    Morr people are talking about negative interest rates. What would negative interest rates mean for the Fed, its balance sheet and monetary policy?

  27. Gravatar of Nick Nick
    12. July 2020 at 18:45

    RE: “ When Tesla stock was in the $200 to $300 range, its high valuation was cited as evidence that the stock market is prone to bubbles. I guess the current price ($1500) makes that bubble argument even stronger. Right?”


  28. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    12. July 2020 at 19:26

    “Trump needs to clean house if he wants to get re-elected. His current advisors are leading him down a path that threatens to create non-stop problems all through 2020.”

    “It’s hard to imagine Trump winning if this second wave of Covid-19 persists and the economy stalls.”

    I don’t think this is right. Trump has very little chance of winning at this point – he’s too far down. What chance he has is due to the possibility of Biden demonstrating something in the neighborhood of complete impairment.

    It would be one thing if there was something Trump could do that would convince voters to like him, but since he’s never shown even an inkling of an ability to do that yet, what chance does he have? He doesn’t get to face Hillary, or someone almost as disliked as himself, this time.

    The idea that he’s suddenly going to wake up at this point and choose “non-idiocy” over “idiocy” seems unlikely. And whereas if you read comments at online places like this, you get a lot of ideological types that are more or less detached from reality, in the real world people (in general) understand what a horrendous job Trump has done – it’s almost impossible to ignore, now.

    The only reason people give Trump such a good chance is because they think, falsely, that Trump “pulled off an upset” or “defied the polls” in 2016. (What really happened in 2016 was the Left drinking a lot of Kool-Aid).

    Again, Trump has a shot, because Biden could still pull off a Trump victory. But that’s his only shot. No matter how much the economy and the coronavirus situation improve, failing a Biden “desurgence,” he’s gone.

  29. Gravatar of Julius Probst Julius Probst
    13. July 2020 at 01:51

    Hi Scott.
    Unrelated to this post, about Market Monetarism

    I have been talking to D. Beckworth a few times recently and he allowed us at Macrobond to add the NGDP gap. So I wrote two blog posts on Market Monetarism that you might enjoy


  30. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    13. July 2020 at 06:01

    “Market prices, especially asset prices, are more informative about current and future macroeconomic conditions than other slow-moving macroeconomic indicators”

    More informative than tossing a coin?

    “History confirms that stocks make the wrong call on future recessions almost as often as they prove a bellwether. “

  31. Gravatar of Pietro Pietro
    13. July 2020 at 07:16

    Scott, what do you think should be done about global warming. Do you favor a carbon tax? Or something else?

  32. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. July 2020 at 09:43

    Michael, Yes, new advisors, and then he should also start listening to them. So that’s two changes.

    Ben, Is your memory failing you? I’ve already answered all your questions 100 times. So why keep asking? Just reread my older answers.

    Thanks Julius, I’ll take a look.

    Pietro, I strongly favor a carbon tax. Nothing else will work.

  33. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    13. July 2020 at 15:13

    The government of Singapore has set a national goal that 30% of vegetable consumption must come from domestic sources. It is another Far East import substitution plan. Singapore is building technologically-advanced multi-story fish- Vegetable Farms to accomplish this goal.

    This vegetable import-substitution goal is perhaps one tenth of 1% of the way the government of Singapore is involved in the economy of Singapore.

    Yet Singapore has per capita GDP PPP income of $105,000 vs $67,000 in the United States.

    Far East nations are very pro-business, which I think is the right approach. However, they are pro-business as long as that business is inside national borders.

    The pro-domestic business model has worked in Singapore, even as they eschew the free trade model.

    This drives the free-market theologists crazy, but it is the reality.

  34. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    13. July 2020 at 16:48

    OK, so local governments tried mandated lockdowns, and they wrecked the economy but failed to eliminate the C19 virus.

    So what to do? Go back to state-mandated lockdowns!

    “Newsom orders closure of indoor activities across California as coronavirus cases increase”

    Do I see a pattern here? As in, we still have a novel virus and a naive population?

    America’s macroeconomists might make themselves useful in this situation. Sheesh, even libertarians might be helpful.

    So where are our doughty macroeconomists and libertarians? They are…very, very, very concerned about “free trade” with China. That’s very, very, very concerning.

    BTW, Tok Tok is pouring money into DC, hiring PR-lobby machines to color the story that Tik Tok is about free expression and free trade, and international peace.

    So…is the emphasis on “free trade” in macroeconomic circles…due to China funding?

  35. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    13. July 2020 at 17:51

    Sorry, add on:

    “Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. coronavirus cases are surging because nation didn’t totally shut down”—CNBC

    I have said C19 would be the public health sector’s Vietnam. This already sounds like Vietnam…”we are not winning as we are not trying hard enough….”

    So, how do we “totally shut down” an economy? No travel anywhere for anybody, and all business are closed, and all people hunker down in homes or other enclosures?

    Is “totally shutting down” really an option? And for how long? And then, international travel (and illegal immigration) will be totally stopped for how long?

    OK, we cannot beat C19 unless we “totally shut down.” And we cannot totally shut down.

    So….a lengthy series of unsuccessful lockdowns? This is policy?

    Has anyone been checking out what the market says about interest rates 10 years out? The market is saying the US economy will take a decade to recover from 2020, similar to 2009.

    Personally, I am very, very, very—-very!—-concerned about…free trade with China.

  36. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    14. July 2020 at 07:25

    Forgot to comment on Tesla. 2 years ago or so I thought the Musk (who reminds me of Howard Hughes—which at his current age is a complement) was going to get “one more chance from the market”. I have no idea if that was a non-sequitur, but he did get that “one more chance” as he came through on a quarter after a previous major miss. So now, it appears he may really have a car company that can be successful. The guy has extraordinary—-almost insane—forward imagination. When a stock trades at a price, in theory, what does that represent? I don’t know, because efficient markets allow for each stock to have any volatility, any “projected growth”, any beta, any correlation, and any discount rate. But the higher a given price than the lower the discount rate or the higher the growth rate (or combo) and maybe the lower the beta (counting correlation). Bla Bla Bla

    This is the first time I have seen a stock so “wildly” overvalued that I think may not be “wildly overvalued”. I have mentally “Jumped the Shark”—except I think this Shark may be “jumpable”

    He has a permanent lead on ‘self driving technology. We will see where that concept leads us

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. July 2020 at 12:01

    Ben, You said:

    “Personally, I am very, very, very—-very!—-concerned about…free trade with China.”

    I’m very concerned about the tooth fairy.

  38. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. July 2020 at 12:12

    Julius, Those posts are both excellent.

  39. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    14. July 2020 at 15:48


    The NBA has been renamed the “No Balls Association.”

    Evidently, you cannot order custom jerseys from official NBA website with the name “Free Hong Kong.” They are banned. You can order an NBA jersey with the name “Black Lives Matter.”

    The NBA is, of course, a microcosm of multinationals in general, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

    I wonder if you can order a jersey that reads, “Yellow Lives (Do Not) Matter.”

    Side note to Scott Sumner: I have some molars going bad. I am praying to the tooth fairy and why, after more than 60 years of going to dentists, has no better pain-killing method than a needle for injecting novocaine been invented?

    (And yes, I can remember when I did not receive novocaine, as I was a kid.)

  40. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    14. July 2020 at 17:10

    Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan aims to correct racial disparities

    Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday released a $2 trillion plan to address climate change with an emphasis on correcting racial economic disparities.Speaking from a gymnasium in his home state of Delaware, Biden made the case that…


    So, first, Biden wants to “end shareholder capitalism,” and then correct racial economic disparities through a green program.

    Maybe Kudlow should resign. But, more importantly, can we get Biden to resign from the Donk party ticket?

  41. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatrics Cartesian Theatrics
    15. July 2020 at 03:25

    Are we completely ignoring the CDC now? The second “wave” of deaths probably is not what we think.

    Pretty dishonest reporting if you ask me, which is explained here:

    45 thousand data scientists in the US and appears we still can’t answer basic questions. Why is it so hard to increment a number when a person dies?

  42. Gravatar of Cliff Cliff
    15. July 2020 at 09:33


    I saw an article comparing the cost-effectiveness of various anti-climate change actions (based on the literature) and a carbon tax was pretty far down which surprised me. I forget their explanation but it was somewhat convincing although I’m strictly an amateur in this area. If I recall, geo-engineering methods were at the top, with some apparently being remarkably effective. I think #1 was spraying water aerosol into the atmosphere where it would reflect sunlight back into space.

  43. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. July 2020 at 09:57

    Cliff, I agree that geoengineering would be cheaper, and I’m not necessarily opposed. But there are issues that make it a bit less likely. Also, it doesn’t address ocean acidification.

    I think people overestimate the cost of carbon taxes, as they don’t account for the large deadweight losses from other taxes. It’s quite possible that carbon taxes would have a lower DWL than the taxes it replaced. Look at the taxes that Biden is proposing.

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