BY BENJAMIN FEARNOW
Larry Kudlow, White House economics adviser under former President Donald Trump, ridiculed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package as a bloated and completely unnecessary bill because the pandemic “is coming to a rolling end.”
Kudlow said economic history shows that “targeted” assistance packages should only offer direct payments to people making under $40,000-to-$50,000-a-year and should instead focus on small businesses and schools. Kudlow echoed the criticism of many Republicans who say they won’t support “blanket” checks to individuals making more than $75,000 and are refusing to support the $15 federal minimum wage hike included in the bill. Kudlow said “the economy must open” and he mocked his own friends for saying “you shouldn’t go to dinner” and other “nonsense” that takes the focus away from America’s vaccination successes.
Kudlow told Fox News Tuesday the current package, which House Democrats hope to pass by mid-March, barely provides any funding for “health care and COVID.”
“We are on the mend. There are now scientists with data showing vaccines soaring, cases plunging. This is not nothing, this is important news that official Washington does not want to put this out. I’m sorry. We could be rolling down, maybe not totally ending, but the pandemic could be coming to a rolling end some time this spring or summer. Many scientists are now saying that. The economy must open.
The former Trump White House economic adviser said Americans are desperate for “optimistic stories” from scientists from Johns Hopkins whose research shows the country is “on the mend.” Kudlow said the U.S. is nearing a potential end to the almost one-year long coronavirus pandemic—a story line Washington, D.C., officials from “Biden on down” are ignoring.
“Why are they hiding this? America loves an optimistic story. This business about the vaccinations and Operation Warp Speed and the crash in—we are close to herd immunity. People are winning. America wants opening. This is bullish news, this is fabulous stuff,” Kudlow continued.
“That is not a $2 trillion [worth] package,” Kudlow added. He concurred with several congressional Republicans who say it’s the wrong time and legislation in which to include unemployment benefits and a $15 minimum wage. Kudlow opposed direct payments to individuals throughout the final months of Trump’s presidency.
“This is the wrong plan at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons,” Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, the top Republican on the Budget panel, said during a package relief hearing last week.
Kudlow quipped that Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis has come to look like “the best health scientist of all because he opened up the state.” He also noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is among the top Washington officials. Kudlow repeatedly cited scientific research that predicts the pandemic winding down within the coming months. But CDC public health experts have issued no such predictions despite massive distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and a rapid reduction of new cases in most states.
“In recent weeks, the number of new cases and hospitalization has been falling, and ongoing vaccinations offer hope for a return to more normal conditions later this year. However, the economic recovery remains uneven and far from complete, and the path ahead is highly uncertain,” the Fed chairman told the Senate banking committee Tuesday.
Newsweek reached out to representatives for Kudlow and the Biden White House for additional remarks Tuesday.