National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow at Natl Press Club CSPAN April 23, 2019 4:10pm-5:13pm EDT
from george washington to donald trump. he discovers how funny chief executives have been and which have used humor to their advantage. "american history tv" on c-span3. announcer 2: president trump is skipping the white house correspondents dinner this year again and will hold a campaign rally in green bay, wisconsin. watch live coverage of the rally on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. watch live coverage of the correspondents dinner with the featured speaker. announcer 1: white house national economic director larry kudlow spoke about the economy, immigration and u.s.-china trade talks. he took questions at his national press club event.
[gavel] >> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club, the place where news happens. i am alison fitzgerald, that 121st president and a correspondent at npr news. we are welcoming our headliner speaker, larry kudlow, the leader of the national economic council. before we begin i ask you to turn off your cell phones. there are a lot of cameras. we would hate to have phones ringing. there should be question cards on your tables. if you have questions, please write them and pass them up, they will get to me. if you are tweeting about today's event, we are @press clubdc, and the hashtag is #n pclive. please hold your applause until all of the prequel -- the people
have been introduced. to my far left we have andrea edney, the immediate past president. next to andrea we have the d" fromof "just news b bangladesh. susan varga, the chief of staff at the national economic council. mpmy left is donna, former who organized the event. we haven't -- have a retired navy captain and a member who arranged today's event. speaker, wer our have kimberly adams. she is a senior reporter at marketplace and a member of the board of governors for the national press club. and mark hamrick, senior economic analyst at bank rey.com
and a former president of the national press club. a powerful table here. this is a white house economic reporter and fred, the chairman of el investment group. thank you very much, everybody. [applause] the good news for larry kudlow is that he arrived at the white house in the midst of one of the country's longest economic expansions. it approached 10 years. the economy is humming along lightdp 3%, unemployment -- rate at historic lows and wages rising. but arriving at the top could create challenges. mr. kudlow and the white house are forecasting robust economic growth for the next few years. he said president trump's tax
cuts saved the average american $300 last year and that his policies are rebuilding the economy. the outlook of most economists is not so rosy. according to my colleagues at npr and bloomberg news, many economists project economic growth this year will be slower than in 2018 because of the effects of trade policies, slowing global growth and a tight labor market. larry kudlow begins his financial career as a person of the federal reserve before going to wall street. he served in the reagan administration, helping to shape the audit and tax policy before he took a second tour on wall street. he is also a media personality, former host of cnbc's the kudlow report and a radio show in contributing editor at the national review. he is the author of several books including jfk and the reagan revolution, a secret
history of american prosperity, in which he explore similarities between economic policies of those two presidents. when mr. kudlow joined the truck administration, observers were asked to see his public record advocating free trade and inclusive immigration reform which is in contrast to the views of president trump. the president said we don't agree on everything but in this space that is good. i want to have divergent opinions. please join me in giving a warm national press club welcome to the national economic council, larry kudlow. [applause] mr. kudlow: thank you very much. spot on, makes me feel old but it is wonderful, wonderful to be here. i am dying to take all your questions as much as we can. i want to begin with a bit of an overview, things we are thinking
and actually no better as a former wall street forecaster. the first quarter is coming in much stronger than a lot of us feared. is 2.8%ntic said gdp for q1. they started 0.3%. first quarters historically have been the first of the year for a variety of reasons, seasonal adjustments and so forth but they are 2.8%. we calculated the shutdown probably costs .3% gdp. so we are close to 3% in q1 and q2will get that .3% back in and then some. , be at loggerheads with forecasters -- i may be at loggerheads with forecasters.
i think this will turn out to be . strong first half and year we are staying with our 3% economic growth estimates. that is a good thing. recent data is pretty good. nothing is ever perfect but sticking out in my mind, i still try to follow unemployment claims. we are seeing an all-time low. it is a great number. the retail sales number is far shorter than anyone thought possible. when i look at that, i see some wallmovement and think street and others are beginning to join in the upward revisions for q1. nothing is perfect. it looks good. attention --invite a friend of mine who teaches in california, they have come up
, gross outputber being used. calculations of gdp, i don't want to belabor the point but he has found a way to measure the business sector. business-to-business supply chain activity which turns out goods.n intermediate the largest sector of the economy and it is growing quite rapidly, 4%, 6%. capital goods spending, a key part of our tax and regulatory reforms will outperform most 2019 and beyond. a is true that our view is continuation of more rapid growth. the timeline for many years and prior administrations --
democrat, republican, slightly less. we picked up 3% in 2018. we will continue the 3% in 2020. that is what our longer-term horizons were showing area i want to make a couple of other specific points on economic performance and our policies. as someone who was an informal campaign, while holding a job at cnbc and informal advisor in 2017 before i came in in 2018 -- i want to say how wonderful it is an grateful i am to be able to serve the white house, the country the president. , it is a wonderful thing to me. i am really quite grateful for this opportunity. it is a fabulous adventure. and as alison pointed out, i do this once every 35 years. >> [laughter] mr. kudlow: so you got some old reagan folks still kicking.
let me just offer this point of view. it is a very general point of view. if you disagree, i respect that and maybe we can talk a little about it in the q&a. president trump as i see it, , president trump is rebuilding this economy. he has changed both the psychology and key policies. by that i mean, in terms of psychology and his exuberance and optimism as a former businessman, he ended the war on business. he has ended the war on success, he believes strongly that if you do well and succeed, you should be rewarded, not punished. besides low marginal tax rates, particularly on the business side, i believe as you know, taxes matter a good deal, and i am a firm supporter these many decades of the incentive model
of economic growth. if it pays more after-tax than investment risk and you will get more of it. and i think we are seeing that. a little bit of it in 2017, much more of it in 2018, and much more after that. incentives matter. taxes matter. regulations matter. the war on energy has been curbed. the war on fossil fuels, we are now the dominant energy power in the world. the rollback of tax rates, the rollback of onerous regulations, the opening up of the sector and trade reforms. i will come back to that in a moment. there are very important trade reforms which i think will pan out. i am an optimist on that. i can't say for sure, but things are moving at pace. besides the better growth, you we are seeing
blue-collar employment rising at the fastest pace since i was here, under the reagan years, with similar policies frankly on low tax, low margin tax rates. the biggest contributors to the labor force last year were female. i think that is good because we have not seen that in quite some time. participation rates are rising. unemployment rates, overall, 3.8%, which is a great number, and it has been down there for several months now underneath , that, we go down the list of various groups and see extraordinarily historically low unemployment rates. it has covered a lot of the economy. we are proposing, as part of the tax bill, and released regulations, we are making a bigger push on these so-called opportunity zones, which invite private investment, again with tax incentives, that i think will really add to the strength and breadth and depth of this prosperity recovery we are talking about.
every nook and cranny of this economy can share in prosperity. and these are by the way, they are urban, rural, all over, and i think it is going to have a significant, positive impact. finally, on the business side, 100% expensing a 21% tax rate down from 35%, reforms in the way we treat the international incomes and profits, we are getting surging business investment. and quarterly, these things bounce around. but by and large, we are looking somewhere around 7%, 8%, 9% growth in what wall street calls capex. the stock of capital is rising for the first time in many years. for anyone that has taken an introductory economics course, i'm sure you remember your c to l ratios. more capital, more investment makes a better labor force, the
resources for proper equipment. and training and retraining and re-skilling, as my colleague ivanka truck has talked about -- trump has talked about it, and we are seeing a big increase in part activity. we are 1.8% in the last four quarters. i know it is early in the game in terms of our policies, but that is a great beginning. here's a key point for me personally, the increases in wages are being earned. and more people working successfully, at higher wages -- and again, the blue collars are the best example of that. they are outperforming in terms of growth of wages, the white collars. there is nothing inflationary about more people working and prospering. nothing inflationary. when you have supply-side policies that boost production, supply, business investment side of the economy, it is actually counter inflationary. in my book on jfk and reagan, we
talked about the same effects in the 1960's and 1980's, even the 1990's, i think, spilling over for similar policies emanating from particularly the incentive of lower tax rates. also the regulatory effect, and we have had a stable and sound dollar, so i think these are big pluses. we will see if these forecasts hold up. i understand that. i have been in and out of business for a long time, but i wanted to put that on the table. i think we are outperforming almost everybody's expectations. and my final point here is, you know, as a tv and radio anchor, and host, i listened to all of this new economics about secular stagnation, how america is going to be mired into a second-rate economy like europe or whatever, i don't buy it. i didn't buy it then, i don't buy it now. with the proper atmosphere, when
-- with a president who is basically saying you will be rewarded for your success, and telling folks to take a swing at the ball. you know, we had a conference at the old e.o.b. several months ago on the economy and work effort and the improved role of women, and retraining, and so forth. i remember a couple hundred people came, i looked around the room, and what i saw was what i call the face of the new trump economy. men and women who now are owning their own small businesses, once again. the rewards justified and the government interference has been pulled way back. there is a somewhat obscure but important economic stat, if you have a chance to think about it or look at it later, it is called new business applications and new business formations.
i've looked at this a long time when i was a wall street economist. those things are blooming for the first time in many years. i'm heartened that. now a couple of other additional things. i want to talk trade, and i'm sure you will have lots of questions on trade, and i want the usmca deal which is now pending in congress. the international trade commission just came out with its analysis, showing its biggest economic growth impact -- i think they said something like, compared -- it by itself exceeds the sum of all prior trade deals in terms of their estimates on gdp and jobs. they came out with about 68 -- $68 billion increase in gdp and i think 700,000 or 800,000
jobs -- i will call it one million to round it up. the council of economic advisers my dear friend kevin hassett has , also re-estimated, in terms of the very strong entrepreneurial and investment effects of strengthened intellectual property and patent protection, which is hugely important, we think we will pick up additional $30 billion, $40 billion in gdp from that alone. the usmca covers ground, i like to think about it as new economy and old old economy, and both have been improved. in the old economy side, we have better content laws for manufacturing, broke through on the dairy farm issues for our farmers. with the wage laws, by the way wage numbers are stronger, , consistent with the real world. mexico itself will have the best
set of labor forms in the history of that country because of this deal. that is good for what i call the old economy. and you know, the resurgence in manufacturing, which president trump has touted and many people derived in, -- derided, but it is happening. on the new economy, i mentioned the international property rights and patent protection, that goes through expanding digital services and finance services and biologics. all of this could add one half a point to gdp per year if we get it through congress. that is remarkable. we didn't even incorporate that, initially, into our estimates, but it is consistent with our efforts of 3%, maybe better, economic growth rate. my great hope is that usmca will pass in this session of congress. i think it is great for america. i think it is great for americans of all stripes. final point, i can't help myself on this.
i will be brief, but when i'm not watching netflix, i do occasionally watch cable news tv at night. i go home. i shouldn't plug anybody. just a generic plug. i shouldn't plug anybody. just a generic plug. [laughter] dir. kudlow: i was listening to some of the recent debates with members of the other parties, shall i say. i am an ex-democrat. i have worked for two presidents who were both ex-democrats. i have a lot of colleagues of mine that are democrats coming on my tv and radio show. i will say this, socialism is a loser. [applause] dir. kudlow: socialism is a loser. i don't want us to forget the lessons of the past. i will not dwell on them.
i grew up in the reagan years, when he repeatedly said he would overcome and overturn soviet communism, and he was right. today, we have other examples, outside venezuela, which is a focus point for our administration and the hope of completely changing -- i'm working on various working groups to improve their economy, if we get to that point. collectivist, central planning, government-run economies throughout history have failed. they sap our morale, they reduce our freedom, they tend to turn into tyrannical, political situations, but most of all, from my standpoint as an economics guy, they don't have
prosperity. they generate poverty, not prosperity. it strikes me as odd and hard to understand, maybe i will learn more over time. we are the beginning of a new prosperity wave in this country. we are the hottest economy in the world and confidence is building. why would we want to pursue policies that could, i think in total, slice 15% of gdp right out within 10 years with universal medicare and other giveaways, subsidies here, loan forgiveness, and everything is free? the estimates range 32 trillion on the health care side and another $20 trillion on the jobs side. some people have pointed up to $100 trillion added cost to the economy. tax rates soar.
180 million people, 180 million people would lose their private health care insurance, principally through business and a staggering use of patient liberty and choice but completely sacrificing the efficiency of what is a pretty good health care system. it's not perfect, it needs reform, but still pretty good. people are pretty satisfied with it. i don't want to go there. i think that the country, the voters of the country do not want to go there. why substitute poverty for prosperity? it makes no sense whatsoever. [applause] dir. kudlow: i appreciate your support on that. i think i -- i appreciate your support on that. i think i have set all i need to say. i'm happy to take your questions. >> would you like to sit in one of these lovely stools or stand? dir. kudlow: i'm standing. i'm still standing. [laughter] dir. kudlow: thank you, sir.
>> i'm the moderator, a health-care correspondent, and i will take the moderator's privilege and ask your comment on health care. it's well-known that the u.s. spends about 18% to 20% of gdp is spent on health care, which is twice as much as every other developed country. most polls show people don't particularly love their insurance companies. they love their doctor, but not necessarily at nine or cigna, so why is redirecting that 18% from insurance premiums and payments from cvs pharmacy to somewhere where someone else doesn't necessarily pay that. it won't cost more, but will redirect the money. dir. kudlow: i don't know what the right amount of health care
spending is. i have never particularly understood that line of reasoning. if you live in a prosperous economy and incomes over time continue to rise, which is the story of the american economy, going through slumps and rebounds and so forth, people may choose more health care. it is free choice. i like that, a lot. i think a lot of the systems, overseas, many of the european countries that operate completely government-run socialistic type health care systems, i don't know if they spend more or less cross-country comparisons, but i will take your word. they don't do it very well. they don't do it very well. we do. we can make changes in reforms. our administration is constantly working on that.
deregulation actions, and related matters, we will have more to say about that, but i don't believe, a collectivist, government-run, central health care system will work any better than any parts of the country. -- than any other parts of the economy. i would like to maximize choice, and i think free-market competition works. that 180 million number, which is a fair number, i have seen left and right of center think tanks come up with the same number, those folks like their insurance policies. there may be other segments on the individual side that need working on, and i was critical of obama care and remain so. we have taken out the individual mandate and made reforms, but i
think the idea of taking that away is the most remarkable government confiscation plan i have ever heard. by and large, we get our insurances from businesses, and we are making it easier, administration policies, whether it is association health care reforms or short duration, which we would like to use as a model for longer duration health care reforms, along with complete federal backing of pre-existing conditions. i think basic parts of the system are ok. we can do better, but not if the government runs it. >> --people seem to like medicare. dir. kudlow: i like medicare. medicare is about 60 million people and blue cross blue shield is a very good policy, i'm very happy with that. medicare, we could make improvements there.
experts are working on that. i'm not putting out any additional information, but yeah, i like that too. inside medicare, there are a lot of choices. i don't want to belabor the point. my point of view is that i like to do as much as we can in the private sector, provide as much choice as we can for doctors and hospitals, and provide as much transparency as possible. transparency, particularly with respect to pricing, that would include -- you have seen stories about some of our latest initiatives. we are thinking about new things. not just drug pricing, which is important and i might add that prescription drug costs have come down in the year. there's a huge volume of new generics and much more coming. we want transparency pricing for hospitals, operations, doctors
fees, and so forth so the consumer can have the best information possible. >> we will move on from health care. a lot of people -- dir. kudlow: anything you want. >> people are wondering why the trump administration is not concerned about the deficits and national debt. is it a threat to future economic securities of the united states? dir. kudlow: i think the solution -- the key issue there is growth. i read a lot about this in both books i have put out. you've heard me say this to the years in various columns and anchoring, growth solves a lot of problems. it solves employment problems, and other problems. you've probably seen our
estimates. we are looking for a downward glide path, with respect to deficits and debt as a share of gdp. as a share of the economy, which i think is the best way to measure it. i think it has already begun. having said that, if the economy grows from about 2% annually --grows 2% annually, which is what the facts are, the subpar growth, american-style. guess what? you have slower growth and everything. capital, business investment, jobs, wages, incomes. that is your tax base. we have lost a lot of revenues from the shortfall and growth which has contributed -- shortfall in growth. if we pick up the growth rates,
you can do the numbers on this and use cbo rules of thumb. a percentage point above the baseline, so instead of two, if you get three, you pick up three and half trillion dollars of lower deficits over 10 years. that's a nice way to do it, and that is kind of the model. we are not using the cbo model, but we are using that rule of thumb. to me, it is a combination of picking up the growth rate and limiting government. we have a tough budget this year. 5% in the aggregate, and the president has said, if the so-called budget caps that go back to 2011, maybe 2013, if we exceed those caps, we will employ sequester. we have released that information. i will just repeat that.
i say strong growth, limits government, and the burden of debt and deficits will come down. >> we only have so much power over the budget because congress passes the spending bills. dir. kudlow: really? [laughter] dir. kudlow: we will work with them. >> since the 1970's, workers wages has been stagnant. is that a good or bad thing for the economy? dir. kudlow: i want the workforce to have the best possible wages imaginable. a lot of statistical -- there is a lot of statistical debate about these numbers, what is included in the numbers and whether they are after-tax or pretax, i don't want to go there this afternoon.
there is some truth to that, but not a lot of truth to that. i don't buy it putting that aside, -- i just don't buy it. putting that aside, a lot of conventional, mainstream economists and their models assumed, incorrectly, if more people are working at higher wages -- that more people are working at higher wages being a bad thing because it will cause inflation. singularlyto disagree with that point of view as i have for the past four decades. more people working and prospering, and producing, and investing is a wonderful thing. it is called prosperity, and it is called higher living standards. it is called the fruits of free-market capitalism, if we can move in that direction. there was a guy on tv, i can for
member his name, this was years ago, used to open every show by saying "free-market capitalism is the best path to prosperity." i don't know who that was. [laughter] dir. kudlow: you may recall. my point here is that i believe it then, i believe it now. president trump believes it as well. that is one reason why i am here. i don't want to limit -- i don't know what the limits to growth are. i don't believe there are limits, period. i don't believe that. with people exercising their god-given creative talents, there is no limit. do you see what i'm saying? i want to break through this iron lung econometrica that says you can't. i say you can, you can, you can. with the right freedoms and opportunities, and incentives, we will. my book about kennedy, reagan, we have had different variations over time, we haven't done a
good job practicing it in the last couple decades, but president trump is practicing it. what i'm saying is that i think we will break through all of these wage constraints and debates. debates never end, and you think you put a sword into something, but it never dies. >> what do you think does trigger inflation? dir. kudlow: bad money, collapsing dollar. bad money, and a collapsing dollar. boom. >> what is bad money? dir. kudlow: too much money chasing too few goods, policies that destroy the value of the currency, and the demand for it. we have watched this in the 70's, it destroyed the dollar in the 70's while inflation went to double digits. we came close to destroying the dollar in the 2000s, under republican president -- a
republican president, i regret to report. we had a democratic president -- well, good dollar in the 80's, good dollar in the 90's, terrible in the 2000's, and much better in recent years. much better. you can use measures of foreign-exchange, gold, commodities, the bond market, the breakeven's and so forth. that is what causes inflation, not too many people working. the way we look at these numbers, the increase in wages, for the whole workforce but particularly the blue colors or nonsupervisory, we moved up to 3.2-3.4, in that area. they are earning it with higher
productivity, which is them way -- the way that model is supposed to work. i think you will see more of it. >> does that mean we shouldn't worry about these two questions about oil prices because of sanctions and that is not going to contribute to inflation either? dir. kudlow: i love the oil and gas story. the answer is no. we are a country awash of oil and gas. if some of our friends in the mid east tried to stop regiggering the market, i think they will. i don't want to get too specific here. we are terminating the waivers iranian oil. i strongly favor that policy. once you get those policies up -- get those prices up, then my friends will frack like crazy. that is the way these games work. they can turn the switch as
fast. i have been reporting on them for many years and talking with them in the white house. we, by the way, are working very hard to increase energy infrastructure and pipelines to get all of this stuff distributed properly to the u.s., northeast of new england, and also to europe. the world oil markets are well supplied. i was reading -- up on one of the big financial websites, goldman sachs, there will be no increase in oil, echoed by a bunch of analysts. $60 oil strikes me as fine. 30-40 dollars not so much. the oil weapon, as it was construed in the 70's and 80's, 90's, when opec was supposedly strong, the center of the world energy is the united states.
we are at the margin. >> should we also be investing in alternative, nonfossil fuels energies? dir. kudlow: one of the worst things i've seen in this socialist discussion is the so-called green new deal that would destroy fossil fuels, which would destroy the economy. now, in terms of policies, here is where we are. a level playing field, what we call all of the above. so-called renewables, and fossil fuels, and nuclear. the trick here, and our view, and my view in particular, is let us do away with subsidies, let us do away with picking winners and losers.
the department of energy, which is a fine department, is not a private equity hedge fund. let's just put everybody on the same economic basis without government subsidies and assistance. beyond that, it is up to you. if you can make a buck, i'll -- by all means, make a buck. i'm not here to pick or choose. what i want is power and energy. the world is changed. i will say this, it is not only a plus for the economy, we are creating millions of jobs in the energy sector, but we are also challenging russia and their alleged hegemony in europe. we are challenging them. every foreign leader that comes to the white house for bilateral discussions -- one of the great parts of my job is to sit in on that. our policy is trying to make it
easier with respect pipelines, terminals, and so forth. we want to go west, also. i think there is great demand in asia. alls i'm saying is that we are energy dominant, the president has deregulated the sector and opened the door. the effect is moderate oil prices. the technological advances in the fracking and horizontal drilling world are incredible. >> does the risk of climate change come into an of your -- any of your long-term economic forecasts? dir. kudlow: as someone who is not a climate change denier but who seeks good research, and we are doing work on that internally, we are not seeing a big economic effect at the moment. we disagree with a lot of extreme studies that i've seen.
some of the so-called extreme studies are misinterpreted. we have talked to said in great -- to some great physicists who think there is a climate issue but are keen on doing better scientific research so we are all better informed. so no, we are not putting a gdp diode on it but we are looking at it carefully. not a dismissal, by the way. a lot of misinformation about that. >> we will turn to the fed. you have said, a question from somebody here, that you respect the fed's independence but you don't want to threaten the "great economic recovery." do you want to influence the fed or do you want it to remain independent? dir. kudlow: i never used the word immediately. [laughter] dir. kudlow: that was not my word. >> but you do want to cut -- dir. kudlow: yes. the president believes, and i
concur, that the fed's target rate should be lower. as you may know, the president is not bashful about expressing his opinions. he's a successful investor and businessman and knows quite a lot about the stuff. it is quite a fun to work with him on there. i spent a lot of time covering the fed. i do believe in fed independence. i began my career at the fed. i believe strongly in fed independence. i just think that if people in other branches of government are tenuous about the stuff, why not put it out there and see how it
works? incidentally, there is greater, any or purpose -- there is greater purpose than any notice. they are backing away from the idea that more people working causes inflation. they are looking more at inflation targeting and the trendline. we have been dis-inflating. as the economy has picked up steam in the last 12 to 15 months, the fed's target inflation number is coming down. it is not deflation, just slower inflation. that leads to lower interest rates ash that may lead to lower interest rates -- that may lead to lower interest rates, but i think they are coming around to the view that we should not fear stronger, real economic growth, particularly from the supply-side, investment driven. if inflation comes in lower, as
it has, then may be real interest rates can come back down or market rates can come back down. >> your economic forecast is 3% or more, does that depend on the fed cutting interest rates? dir. kudlow: i can't remember our t-bill rates. we probably show it steady over time. i would have to go back and check that. our assumption is based on tax and regulatory policies, energy and trade. we are not hanging our hats on any one particular thing. you can be for an independent fed, which i am, and have an opinion on them. everybody has an opinion. presidents have opinions. sometimes he reads the anecdotes of past -- >> the former fed chair apparently questioned whether the president knows about the fed's dual mandate which is maximum employment and low in
-- and low inflation. do you know if the president knows about the lower mandate -- low mandate? dir. kudlow: of course he does. low-inflation leads to faster, real growth. high inflation leads to lower, real growth. the person who told me that paul volcker. we remained friends through the years and he is a wise man. he is the one who argued, when he became chairman, that low-inflation is a precursor to economic growth. he continues to make that case. so did alan greenspan. we lost a little of that.
i think it is coming back now, so i think it is perfectly consistent. what was the question you asked me? i just went off on a rant. >> i asked you if president trump was aware of a dual mandate. dir. kudlow: yeah. and president trump is key on a low inflation rate. i hear him talk about that all the time. the present inflation rate is disinflating, and that is part of the reason why he think the target rate could be lower. it is a fairly good model he has, so with respect -- and the answer to janet young, he gets it. he is very well-informed. go into the oval office. let me tell you. i'm in there all day long in various informal meetings or formal meetings, and i can't begin to tell you how smart he is. he knows stuff, as a businessman, he knows a lot.
you have to be sharp, have to know your stuff. on this and many other things. trust me. he is a very sharp questioner. >> since you brought that up, i have a very long question from somebody who says you had an interview with stephen moore, who is under consideration for the federal reserve in 2015, and in the interview, mr. moore called the immigration policies crazy and said they were bad economics and was -- and worse politics. you agreed. dir. kudlow: that was right at the beginning of the campaign. there was a lot of misinformation, a lot of rumors. we have the story wrong and that often happens. i love my three hour radio show, loved it. maybe sunday, we will do it again, who knows. so you talk about stuff. the more we learn, the more we
changed our view on this -- learned, the more we changed our view on this. that was one of these gotcha reports. it is of no consequence. >> do you think, with the current rate of unemployment, we should be encouraging more immigration? at this point, is the workforce too tight? dir. kudlow: we need a broad-based immigration reform plan. the president has given a lot of details on this. it didn't come to anything in 2017. we tried again in 2018. i don't think -- a narrow question, workforce type things. you have to have a far-reaching
plan. we continue to strive for collaboration with congress on this, but it never really happens. i agree with the president. anybody with common sense, takes a look at what is going on at the nonexistent border, and whatever happened in the past, the reality is that it is getting worse. the lines are being broken. the boundaries are being broken. in recent months, you have had 100 thousand people coming in. i won't go through all the litany and talking points, but i'm just saying, observing this and being part of various cabinet discussions and whatnot, you have an emergency. it is a lawbreaking emergency. it is a drug trafficking emergency. it is a child trafficking
emergency. it is a humanitarian emergency. it is a subversion of american law, and it needs to be fixed. the president is working hard on that. i fully support his border security policies, including the wall, where applicable, but that too -- there are other issues here. we would like to move to a merit-based system has many countries have. we would like to have a realistic policy on asylum. there is none right now. sanctuary cities is another matter. these crazy diesel lotteries, there is a hole litany thing. legal immigration, legal immigration is a wonderful thing for this country and always has been, always has been. there will be more of that in our plans, and we have discussed this. quit calling names, just look what we are putting out there. that will help the economy.
we like to ask, in general, without details, merit-based increases in legal immigration. >> would you want senator mcconnell to propose something like that? dir. kudlow: i don't know. we will see where the senator wants to go. he's working with the president on virtually a daily basis on this. you go down by the border -- i'm not an expert on this, but to go down by the border, besides the lawbreaking and humanitarian crisis, a lot of local mayors and local elected officials will tell you that better border controls would be good for the local populations, help their wages, help their housing prices. there is some evidence of that, that the tougher president trump has gotten on getting that message out, you have seen i lift in local wages and home prices on the border.
i find that quite interesting. i find that very sensible, from an economic standpoint. we will see, but i think the president is spot on. it's a tough issue, i get that. it's a controversial issue, i get that too, but we can't have a country without clear borders. we need different policies, and maybe we can work something out with congress. >> we are going to turn to china trade talks. we have a pile up of questions which are all similar, coming down to this, would you please brief us on the current process of the china trade talks? what do you expect the economic relationship to evolve into after a deal is reached? dir. kudlow: i may disappoint you, because there's not a lot more i can say. we had good talks in beijing's, good talks in washington, d.c., as a bus at their lighthizer would tell you. there's a lot of headway being made -- as in bassett are
lighthizer --ambassador lighthizer would tell you. there's a lot of headway being made. there may be more soon. we are not there yet. we are not there yet, but we have made a heck of a lot of progress. this is larger on scale than anything in the u.s.-china trade history. we are still working on the structural issues, technology, transfers, ownership, enforcement is crucial, lowering barriers to buy and sell agriculture and industrial commodities, it is all on the table. i've said this before. i participated in a lot of this and will continue. it is just a grand scale negotiation. i myself always try to play
these things on the cautiously optimistic side. i guess that is my nature. it's gotta be the right deal, and the president will say this. it has to be a great deal for the united states. and it has to be enforceable. >> in the meantime, there has been a lot of tariffs and other issues that have hurt some american businesses, some american farmers. is that part of what has to happen when creating such big changes, and what do you do about that? dir. kudlow: i know it is a tough one, in some areas. this one, i hope the sum of the parts will be great. that is what i hope. let me -- >> what does great look like? dir. kudlow: i'm the free trader in the building, maybe not the only one, but here is one thing i have learned. i've said this before. the use of tariffs, which we
avoided like the plague under prior administrations, both parties, can be very important in getting trade deals. i think president trump has taught us that. amid skepticism and controversy, perhaps, but i believe chinese tariffs, tariffs on china were instrumental in bringing them to the negotiating table. i don't deny there were costs in some areas. i think they are manageable costs in the united states. we did back up the farmers who were great patriots, but here is the point. the degree of unfair and unlawful trading practices, engaged in by china, for decades, had to stop.
it was acting to the detriment of the american economy and its workforce. it had to stop. words, negotiations are insufficient. the president has used tariffs effectively, in my judgment, and i have defended it from day one. i am not a tariff guy, but i think he is right. i've noticed a lot of other people have come onto that board. my friend, jamie dimon, has said as much. others has said as much. president trump is the only guy -- he is at the backbone to take this issue on and not let go. other presidents talked about it and did nothing. ownership, forced transfer of technology, intellectual properties, cyber hacking, tariff and nontariff carriers and commodities, and so on.
our allies in europe and japan agree with us, they have written trilateral statements out of japan and the eu. you will hear more about this this week. prime minister abe will be here and we are working together. it had to stop. the degree of unfair, nonreciprocal trading had to stop. will we succeed? i don't know. i will play it from the cautiously optimistic side. we are a heck of a lot closer than we were, i won't say when this journey started. i came a little more than a year ago and was thrown right into it on the beijing trip. u.s. and china have a longer history, but in earnest, the last 12 months or so have been -- and sometimes it goes hot and cold, but it had to be done. we had to defend american
economic interests in the trading world. wto is broken down and we are not alone in that few. i think the president has taken the right few. the president has taught me a little bit about negotiation, how is that? old guys can still learn. [laughter] >> we are almost out of time, and i know you have to get somewhere quickly. i want to mention a couple of upcoming events at the national press club. on friday, we have the founder of panera bread who will be talking about attracting investment. on may 2, there's a night out for austin tice, which is a campaign to help get awareness and fundraising for a journalist being held in syria. we are trying to help the u.s. government, in fact, find him and bring him home. there are restaurants across the country participating.
can go on the website and find a place to eat. some of that money will go to this fund to help back great american journalists, -- a great american journalist, marine, and eagle scout. on may 17, we have a headliners book event. dir. kudlow: he's a wonderful author. >> come out at 8:30 a.m. on may 17. and finally, since you are such a good sport, a fabulous and highly coveted national press club coffee mug. [applause] dir. kudlow: you are a wonderful group. i'm grateful for the invitation. allison, you are a wonderful moderator. we will get your own tv show on cnbc. i will pass this to the ethics office. thank you very much. >> thank. [applause] -- thank you.
earning, talking about c-span's new book, the presidents. ranking america's best and worse chief executives. two: 30 p.m. eastern, book tv has live coverage from ewseum, talking about the president. noted historians rank the best and worst president. presidential leadership, today from mount vernon. saturday on c-span2, from the m.wseu >> congress is in recess, the house and senate coming back into session on monday, april 29. when they come back, the health plans to work on climate change legislation. the it will continue the confirmation process judicial and executive branch nominees. what's live coverage here on c-span. the senate live on sees and2