Archive for May, 2021

Larry Kudlow is White Privilege Personified

25 May


In a 2020 interview with CNBC, Larry Kudlow went on television to clarify earlier comments he had made regarding his belief that systemic racism does not exist in America. However, instead of a nuanced and fact/evidence based defense of why he believes systemic racism exists or a even a retraction wherein he could have stated that in light of all of the economic data which confirms a growing inequality in America (including several statistics highlighted to him by the Host), Mr. Kudlow doubled down on his position in the most white privileged manner possible.

Instead of an evidence based defense for his position that there is no systemic racism in America, Mr. Kudlow into an evidence-free and history-free diatribe of just how fair and just America is or in his bumbling words, “the American system is the best system ever devised in the history of mankind for history we are Liberty, we are equality, we are fairness.” For an economist whose formal scholastic training is only in history, this was an exceptionally disappointing account of the American historical record especially when one’s entire argument is premised on defending the American historical record. For a history major one would think Mr. Kudlow would know better.

Fortunately for Larry Kudlow, knowing better is something he has never had to be concerned with because Mr. Kudlow is the very definition of white privilege. Not only did Mr. Kudlow butcher his entire no systemic racism in America defense throughout the CNBC interview which was filled only with vacuous clichés and ultimately concluding at the end of the segment that he in fact had no idea what systemic racism is or how it may limit the opportunities for people of color, but this segment appears to be a microcosm of Mr. Kudlow’s entire career; a farcical display made by a person unqualified for the job.

What is worse however, and what truly makes Larry Kudlow the personification of white privilege is that despite his lack of post-secondary qualifications even though he labels himself an economist and possesses an abysmal record in relation to getting things wrong, he is still given chance after prestigious chance no matter how badly he performs. His record is quite astounding. A history major working as the chief economist for Bear Stearns?- no problem for Larry Kudlow. Volunteering and working for left wing politicians and causes for most of your life and then being hired as associate director for economics for right wing Ronald Reagan?- no problem for Larry Kudlow. Having a serious alcohol and drug problem that causes you to get fired from Bear Stearns only to reemerge as an economic media commentator? – no problem for Larry Kudlow. Getting appointed to be Director of the National Economic Council by President Donald Trump (a person also as equally unqualified for any job he has ever had) despite your abysmal track record of failed economic predictions, including claiming that there would be no downturn in the American economy one month before the 2008 economic downturn and the Great recession that would span years?- no problem for Larry Kudlow. Actually, keeping your job as Director of the National Economic Council and allowed to go near a microphone again despite claiming that the Trump (wealth) tax cuts would not add trillions to the Federal deficit while also claiming in early 2020 that the US had the Coronavirus under control?- No problem for Larry Kudlow. Do you see a pattern?

Given his public profile it is astonishing that a person with Larry Kudlow’s resume would be given so many chances despite his long history of failed market predictions and lack of formal education in the field he claims to be an expert. Most astonishingly however, is that despite the fact that his failures have been well chronicled, perhaps most prominently by University of Pennsylvania political scientists Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner in their 2015 book Superforecasting wherein they dub him in relation to his economic forecasting as “consistently wrong”, Mr. Kudlow is still consistently afforded prestigious employment prospects. While it is true that America is known as the land of opportunity and that people do deserve second chances, how many fresh starts is Larry Kudlow entitled him to?

Larry Kudlow has talked about his belief that America is free of systemic discrimination, but can any reasonable person believe that any average visible minority who had even one of the spectacular flame-outs in their field that Mr. Kudlow has had would ever be offered another prestigious or even comparable job in their field again? The answer is a resounding no. As such, it is not hard to see not only why Larry Kudlow refuses to see systemic racism in America, but why he is blind to any notion that the American system is anything but generous and benevolent, because it has worked so splendidly for him. However, just because the American system has worked for him, does not mean that there is not systemic racism in America, in fact and all of the economic data outlined by a multitude of sources, including the percentage of black Fortune 500 CEOs , harsher criminal penalties for black Americans, and the wealth disparities between white and black families,  are proof positive of this.

Systemic Racism is real and as such, white privilege is real. The next time someone tells you systemic racism and/or white privilege is not real first consider the source, and if they are open to having a dialogue please point them to the career of Mr. Larry Kudlow. However in fairness, it is important to underscore that Larry Kudlow’s record is such a train wreck that even he has pushed past the boundaries of ordinary white privilege and occupies the rarefied air of 1% white privilege where no matter your wrong, another cushy landing spot is right around the corner. For all that you do (or don’t do) Larry Kudlow, we salute you.

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