WaPo's Frank Ahrens Suggests Krugman, Kudlow as Potential Romer Replacements

August 16th, 2010 4:01 PM

Paul Krugman and Larry Kudlow - not exactly two guys you would associate with one another. However, they are two media figures Washington Post columnist Frank Ahrens thinks should be candidates for the same job.

In his Aug. 15 column, Ahrens wrote about some of the people that should replace outgoing chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer. He named several candidates including Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, James Sinegal, co-founder and chief executive of Costco, and Ford chief executive Alan Mulally. But he also named New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and CNBC's "Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow.

In his case for Krugman, Ahrens wondered that since Krugman can talk the talk, can he walk the walk as well.

"Outside the academic world, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is best known for his New York Times columns arguing that the $787 billion, debt-busting stimulus bill was not enough, so even moderate Democrats -- not to mention conservatives -- might lose their minds with this pick. But maybe it's time for Krugman to put his money where his mouth is," Ahrens wrote. "You think government needs to spend more to get us out of this funk? Okay, Paul. Here's the key to the car." 

In the case of Larry Kudlow, Ahrens wrote the CNBC host would be a wise choice because he can communicate economic policies clearly.

"You might laugh at this one, but CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration before going to Wall Street to make his millions and subsequently flame out like a booze-and-drug-fueled Icarus, a low period he has discussed openly," Ahrens wrote. "But Americans believe in second chances, and Kudlow's been one-day-at-a-timing it for more than a decade. There is no more articulate spokesman for supply-side economics and tax-cut job creation. Yet, not even his legendary selection of suits and ties will likely win him admirers in the Obama White House."

Ahrens also appeared on CNBC's "Street Signs" with Erin Burnett on Aug. 16 to argue for his suggestions, including making the case for Kudlow. Albeit unlikely, Ahrens says idea isn't as crazy as one might think.

"Larry Kudlow, great American," Ahrens said. "I know you're going to laugh or some of the viewers may laugh. But, look, the guy has been in this position before in previous administrations. He's been on Wall Street. He knows about how to talk to folks in government. He knows about how the private markets work. And there's no really more eloquent spokesman for supply-side job creation through tax cuts. Listen, you can know all you want about policy, but if you can't explain yourself to the President, then that's a real key thing, a real key element of this job. To get the President's ear, you have to be able to explain yourself. It's sort of fun, but it's not as crazy as you might think."