White House economic adviser: 'I sure don't see a recession'

Kadia Tubman
Reporter

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow dismissed fears about a possible recession after a roller-coaster week for stocks.

“I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd Sunday. “We had some blockbuster retail sales [and] consumer numbers toward the back end of last week.”

“Consumers are working at higher wages,” he continued. “They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending. That’s an ideal situation. So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

His comments came after a tumultuous week for Wall Street as the Dow dropped 800 points on Wednesday, while the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq each lost about 3 percent, striking fears that an economic downturn loomed amid Trump’s escalating trade and currency war with China.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images); President Trump. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images); Peter Navarro, White House trade and manufacturing policy director. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Kudlow, who serves as the head of the National Economic Council, had uttered similar doubt ahead of the 2008 recession, writing in 2007, “There’s no recession coming. ... The pessimistas were wrong.”

“I plead guilty to that late 2007 forecast,” Kudlow told Todd.

“Let’s not be afraid of optimism,” he said. “I think it’s a very optimistic economy going on out there.”

“The Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding, we’re going to stay with that,” Kudlow told Fox News’ Dana Perino Sunday. "There’s no recession on the horizon.”

President Trump at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on Aug. 15. (Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro also struck an optimistic tone about the U.S. economy.

“What I can tell you with certainty is that we’re going to have a strong economy through 2020 and beyond,” Navarro said in an interview with ABC’s "This Week" Sunday. He also defended Trump’s trade war, saying tariffs are “not hurting anybody here."

But Democrats have cast doubt about the future of the U.S. economy and blamed Trump’s trade policies.

“There's a big debate going on right now over whether we're on the cusp of a recession,” said South Bend, Ind., mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “I think we probably are. But the more important thing is, even during an expansion, most Americans haven't been able to get ahead. That is a huge problem. And the president has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't care.”

“When it comes to rural America,” continued Buttigieg, “it's just the scenery that he sees out the helicopter window on the way to his golf course. And when it comes to American consumers, he is completely out of touch with the impact it's going to have on the prices we pay for our goods as a result of a trade war in which both sides will lose.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’d previously predicted the Great Recession, in July warned of a coming economic crash by the end of 2020, saying, “The warning lights are flashing.”

“Our country’s economic foundation is fragile, and a single shock could bring it all down. Trump's reckless behavior makes that shock more likely,” wrote Warren, who dismissed “Trump’s promises of a manufacturing ‘renaissance’” and argued his trade war with China threatens U.S. manufacturing.

“With an economy this vulnerable,” she wrote, “we need to reduce the odds of the potential shocks that can send us into another downturn.”

At a New Hampshire campaign rally Thursday, Trump declared that even Americans who hate him “have no choice” but to vote for him because otherwise the stock market will collapse, the New York Times reported.

“You have the best unemployment, you have the most successful state in the history of your state and the history of our country,” he told a campaign rally in Manchester. “And then you’re going to vote for somebody else? Oh, great. ‘Let’s vote for Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. We have the best numbers we’ve ever had — let’s vote for somebody else.’”

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