âI Have No Idea How Bright He Isâ: Trump Hires Perpetually Wrong TV Pundit to Run the Economy
In the ongoing joke that is the Trump administration, where the press secretary is fielding questions about an alleged affair with a porn star, the secretary of state is getting fired via social media, the secretary of education is flunking quizzes on national television, and the boss is spending his days getting into one-sided Twitter feuds with everyone from members of his own party to professional athletes to the Academy, itâs tough to come out looking more ridiculous than the day or hour prior. If the last year has taught us anything, however, itâs that this group of people always rises to the occasion. And on Wednesday, they outdid themselv es, hiring a Reaganite TV economist who blew the financial crisisâ"along with virtually every other call he ever madeâ"as the presidentâs top economic adviser.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump has definitively asked Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as National Economic Council director, and Kudlow has accepted. The White House confirmed the report on Wednesday afternoon, and a formal announcement is expected on Thursday. In Kudlow, Trump apparently saw a track record that was too good to pass up, what with Kudlowâs time in the Reagan administration espousing trickle-down economic theories that have never once worked; his years at Bear Stearns when he allegedly had a $100,000-a-month cocaine habit and was eventually forced to resign (he reportedly gave up drugs not long after); and his time hosting The Kudlow Report on CNBC, during which he published blog posts with predictions like, â Iâm going to bet the economy will be rebounding sometime this summer, if not sooner,â just months before the global financial crisis. For a president who apparently gets his national security news not from daily briefings but from the gang at Fox & Friends, Kudlow is the perfect guy to dole out economic advice.
Wall Street, however, isnât sold. As my colleague Bill Cohan, a former investment banker, told me, âWhile I respect Larry for his political and economic insights, I would have preferred if Trump had chosen someone less wed to the ideas of trickle down economics. I am old enough to remember that that didnât work the first time a President listened to Larry 35 years ago.â Even people who like Kudlow have their doubts. âLarry is a very congenial guy, heâs a gentleman,â said Westwood Capital Managing Partner Daniel Alpert. âBut I go back to my time in the middle of the crisis, when we were on TV t ogether quite a lot, and heâs really a virulent Tea Partier who believes the government has absolutely no place in the economy. I like him personally . . . but heâs really horribly opposed to government influence of any sort.â
Earlier this year, Kudlow actually sounded momentarily sane when he came out against the presidentâs tariff plan. But it appears that Trump has already begun to beat that urge out of him, telling reporters yesterday that Kudlow âhas come around to believing in tariffs.â Nevertheless, some on Wall Street are apparently looking on the bright side. âPeople here think itâs good news that he loves capitalism and corporations and profitability,â a senior executive at a large investment bank told me. âHe knows that business isnât evil.â That said, âI have no idea how bright he is or if he has good predictive skills.â
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Stock market embraces Trumpâs China-targeted tariffs by dropping 250 points
Seeing as he got such a great reaction when he announced plans to slap steel and aluminum imports with 25 percent and 10 percent import tariffs respectively, Trump is now apparently considering imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, going after the technology and telecommunications sectors in particular. According to CNBC, penalties could also include restrictions on investments and visas for Chinese travelers. In an interview this afternoon, Larry Kudlow said he believed a tougher approach toward China was warranted, just before the Dow closed, down 248.91 points, with the S&P 500 dropping to 2,749.48.
As it turns out, allegedly dumping your companyâs shares shortly before they announce a gigantic data breach isnât a great idea
Jun Ying, a former chief information officer of a U.S. business unit at Equifax, knows what weâre talking about:
Ying . . . was charged Wednesday with insider trading, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Equifax detected that hackers had exploited a vulnerability on its website on July 29, 2017, potentially exposing personal information on 148 million consumers. It publicly disclosed the massive breach on Sept. 7.
According to prosecutors, on Friday, August 25, Ying texted a co-worker that the breach they were working on âsounds bad. We may be the one breached.â The following Monday, prosecutors say, Ying researched the impact of Experianâs 2015 data breach on its stock price, and then sold his own shares.
Ying netted nearly $1 million and avoided more than $117,000 in losses, according to the S.E.C. in a separate news release.
In a statement, Equifaxâs interim chief executive officer, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., s aid the company takes âcorporate governance and compliance very seriously, and will not tolerate violations of our policies.â Ying declined to comment on the matter.
The TableGate plot thickens
February 28, 2018: H.U.D. Secretary Ben Carson says, via spokesman, that while he was unaware that his wife allegedly directed his staff to purchase a $31,000 dining-room set for his office, he thought the cost was reasonable and had no plans to return it.
March 1, 2018: Caron tells CNN: âI was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered. I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement.â
March 14, 2018: E-mails suggest Ben âpoverty is a state of mindâ Carson knew about the interior design choices from the start!
An August e-mail from a career-administration staffer, with the subject line âSecretaryâs dining-room set needed,â to Carsonâs assistant, refers to âprintouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.â
The documents were released following a Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group led by former Obama administration officials, and offer a snapshot into how the agency acquired the furniture.
Asked about the e-mails on Tuesday, H.U.D. spokesman Raffi Williams, who previously told CNN the Carsons had âzero awarenessâ of the luxe redesign, said only: âWhen presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles.â
Wells Fargo Boosts C.E.O. Sloanâs Pay 36% to $17.4 Million for 2017 (Bloomberg)
Key Republican is talking to the White House about tax plan âphase twoâ (CNBC)
âWe Set Ourse lves on Fireâ: Elizabeth Holmes Charged with âMassive Fraudâ (The Hive)
Bitcoin Is Worthless, Bubble May Pop Soon, Allianz Global Says (Bloomberg)
Congressional hearing on cryptocurrencies devolves into bitcoin bash fest (CNBC)
Citigroup says âmalicious actorâ tried to hack credit cards tied to the Defense Department (CNBC)
A decade after its fire-sale deal for Bear, a look at what JP Morgan got in the bargain (CNBC)
Human cannonball record broken to celebrate Xbox game (UPI)Donald TrumpFOLLOWGary CohnFOLLOW
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