Dow dreamers show Trump’s war on elites is pure fantasy


Economic advisers Larry Kudlow and Kevin Hassett represent the worst of establishment ideology – and ordinary Americans will suffer.

Observers of the thousand-man wrecking crew now smashing up America’s executive branch often grouse about the many ways in which it violates the “norms” of our country’s politics. What impresses me as I observe the unfolding Trumptacular is the opposite: how familiar it sometimes is.

By a coincidence that of course isn’t a coincidence at all, the Trump administration now features as the chair of its Council of Economic Advisers one Kevin Hassett, an economist who in 1999 co-authored an infamous declaration that the Dow Jones Industrial Average deserved to be at 36,000. To direct his National Economic Council, meanwhile, Trump has nominated Larry Kudlow, who also proposed a wildly optimistic take on stock prices back then, in his case a prediction that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would go to 50,000 by 2020.

One coincidence more: the two future Trump appointees made their hallucinatory calls back to back, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal on 16 and 17 March 1999. I still keep yellowing copies of their op-eds in a file in my office; that’s how astounding they seemed to me at the time.

Then again, that sort of thing was in the air in those days. The Dow was approaching the awesome figure of 10,000, and business sections everywhere were aflame with a kind of free-market Pentecost, a capitalist rapture. Every bubble seems to bring the same euphoric visions: prosperity onward and upward, forever and ever, amen. Continued at The Guardian