Massive Unemployment Just One ‘Great Part Of American Capitalism’ Kudlow Insists

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on September 2, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIER... Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on September 2, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
October 16, 2020 2:15 p.m.
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White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow is likely aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, including nearly 900,000 new unemployment claims just last week. But that massive surge in joblessness, he said Friday, is just part of what makes American capitalism great!

“The talk is that a lot of folks became unemployed, most regrettably, but they’re sticking with it and they’re going out and starting new businesses,” Kudlow told Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney.

“They’re going to be small businesses, but that’s the great part of American capitalism: Gales of creative destruction!” 

Kudlow was referring to data on applications to start new businesses, which he said  “are soaring.” He cited a recent Wall Street Journal report on the matter, but didn’t specify further. One economist cited in a recent Journal report on the uptick in new business applications hedged that they were “nowhere near the pace needed” to keep up with the massive number of businesses shutting their doors this year. 

The self-employment numbers are “really nowhere near enough to make up the massive shortfall in overall employment,” Adam Ozimek, chief economist at the freelancing-focused website Upwork, told The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein Friday.

“Not even close,” Ozimek added. 

Kudlow’s comment came as part of a larger discussion on the stalled stimulus negotiations in Washington. Around 8 million people have plunged into poverty in recent months, but Kudlow said it was unlikely that another stimulus deal would be executed before Election Day.

“You’ve only got 18 days [before the election], so even if you made a deal, it would be almost impossible to execute” before then, Kudlow told Varney. 

President Donald Trump has been all over the place on stimulus talks, flipping from calling for more stimulus to tweeting, “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election” last week.

Then, on Thursday, Trump said he wanted a large stimulus package — “go big or go home” — but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he isn’t willing to entertain the idea

In a town hall event Thursday night, Trump first blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for holding things up, then said he himself hadn’t pressed Senate Republicans for a deal.

“I’m ready to sign a big beautiful stimulus,” he told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie 

“Are Senate Republicans with you?” Guthrie asked.

“They’ll go,” Trump responded. 

“So far, they have not said they would,” Guthrie pressed. 

“Because I haven’t asked them to, because I can’t get through Nancy Pelosi,” Trump said.

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