DeSantis Needs To Build Out an Economic Growth Vision

. . . Because this election is going to be about pocketbook issues.

AP/Robert F. Bukaty
Governor DeSantis at a political roundtable, May 19, 2023, at Bedford, New Hampshire. This marks the third time he has clashed with the nonprofit responsible for developing and publishing the SATs, the College Board. AP/Robert F. Bukaty

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: The presidential election is going to be about pocketbook issues, kitchen table issues. It’s going to be about the economy, stupid. 

The Biden economy has barely grown in the last five quarters, and the leading indicators are pointing to a recession in the next 12 months. Inflation skyrocketed to 9 percent; it has come down, but today’s GDP report shows it’s still around 5 percent, which is way too high. Interest rates have soared. Even mortgage rates are back over 7 percent.

While it’s true the jobs market is holding on, the more important fact is that real wages for middle class families have fallen 7 percent during Joe Biden’s presidency. It’s the soft underbelly of the economy, but they are under water after inflation, and it’s a killer.

Art Laffer has said many times that the winner of the coming election will be that person who shows he or she can be proper stewards of a prosperous economy. Kellyanne Conway similarly has told us many times that dealing with the woke agenda, as important as it may be, will be far less important than a pro-growth economic agenda.

Speaking of which, here’s my friend and colleague, Laura Ingraham, on her show last night giving her final thought: “Both DeSantis and Trump should remember that Reagan won in 1980 hammering Carter’s economy, and Clinton won in ’92 hammering Bush’s economy. As tempting and fun as the other issues are to bat around, the path to victory is offering credible solutions to what worries voters most. “

Now, Governor DeSantis formally announced his presidential campaign last night on Twitter. Unfortunately, technical problems undermined his announcement. Twitter Spaces crashed and he lost more than half his original audience. Blame my hero, Elon Musk, for that one. Somebody should’ve figured there would be a risk, but I don’t think an audio-only announcement was wise.

If you saw the excellent interview last night on Fox News by Trey Gowdy with Mr. DeSantis, though, you would’ve been rewarded with a very intelligent issues discussion by the Florida governor. Without question, he’s a capable guy, and a genuine conservative. He talked about American decline, and why it is not inevitable. 

Mr. DeSantis seeks to restore normalcy, end the culture of losing, and is quite confident that he will be victorious in the primaries and the general election. He was much more at ease talking about woke cultural issues than he was about anything else. He labeled it “cultural Marxism,” and he seeks to end what he calls “the sexualization” of children. 

He would fire the FBI director, Christopher Wray, on day one as president. He favors “Remain in Mexico” and building a wall and curbing phony asylum requests. And he’s for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine. Trey Gowdy asked him about the economy, and here Mr. DeSantis was somewhat sketchy. He did say he would expand energy production to include fossil fuels. 

Of course, he opposes excess federal spending, but he had no specifics on that or the big entitlements. He did not mention taxes, nor regulations. Nor did he use the phrase “economic growth” or the word “prosperity.”

He did have a superb answer on inflation concerning the Federal Reserve. He’s a big Fed critic. He said the role of the central bank is to foster a stable dollar, not to be an economic central planner. Now I like that very much and totally agree.

So the governor needs to build out an economic vision. I would say for him that’s priority no. 1. And I think right now the growing Republican presidential field has to work harder to convince the electorate that one of them or the GOP itself can be good economic prosperity stewards.

I thought President Trump did a good job at the CNN Town Hall debate with his “drill, baby, drill” and his emphasis on his achievements in cutting taxes and regulations to spur growth. But in the spirit of tough love, Mr. Trump needs to articulate a federal spending policy and, to be honest, a little more on King Dollar.

Actually, the best growth advocate right now in the GOP is Speaker McCarthy, who is fighting so hard to get a good budget deal and raise the debt ceiling. Mr. McCarthy talks about promoting growth and reducing inflation all the time. And the principle of a balanced budget.

So, Save America. Peace through strength. Grow the economy.

From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.

The New York Sun

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