Sometimes, when I fail to hit mute on my TV, I am blasted by the brainless rantings of CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, whose zeal for tax cuts rivals his earlier addiction to cocaine and alcohol. He believes that returning high-income tax rates to those during the 90’s boom will lead to the destruction of mankind. If rich people are so motivated by tax rates, then why do so many live in NYC and California? Even Kudlow lived in NYC until he was fired from his Wall St. job and went to a drug treatment center in ’95. NY has a fairly high state tax that is 6.85% max and NYC adds ~3.5% max. There’s also a fairly high property tax and sales tax. Why haven’t the rich left NYC a long time ago? Financial companies can now move anywhere because the markets are mostly electronic. People could commute from upstate NY, CT or NJ to avoid some NYC tax. Some do, but many remain. More importanly, why did Kudlow live in NYC rather than commute from a lower tax area? The boat outside my house takes me to Wall St. in 10 minutes.
Kudlow’s addictive personality and meager education in economics made him susceptible to Arthur Laffer’s simplistic view of the world. And his pompous and pseudo-intellectual manner probably makes him popular on the right-wing cocktail party circuit. Indeed, his conversion to Catholicism is yet another example of his need to belong to a cult. My only hope is that someday Steve Liesman will strangle Kudlow live on-the-air.