Larry Kudlow

Are Republicans too pessimistic about the economy? I put this question to Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) this week, and it would be hard to describe his response as optimistic. The senator trash-talked Vice President Joe Biden’s recent defense of the stimulus in the New York Times, and he warned that any economic rebound will be short-lived because of the runaway spending-and-borrowing plans of the Obama administration.

Truth be told, respected economists like Donald Marron, Keith Hennessey, Bruce Bartlett, and Kevin Hassett have all carefully chronicled the fact that the Obama stimulus package does not feature any real fiscal multipliers. They say the bulk of the package consists of transfer payments to individuals and states, along with tax credits that will produce no real incentive effects to spur economic growth.

But the fact remains that numerous signs are now pointing to economic recovery. And the GOP needs to craft a smart political response to this. Obama and Biden will surely take credit for the better economic news, just as any White House would. It’s the way the political game is played. But Republicans have to play the game, too.

A tremendous summer rally is going on in stocks, and it’s being driven by better corporate profits and improved leading indicators -- including a possible upturn in housing starts and sales, and a major downward spike in weekly initial jobless claims. So you have to believe the stock market is calling the tune for recovery.

And while politics are not everything, I do believe that the shrinking prospects for Obamacare have been a big contributor to the stock market’s recent surge. This sweeping new government insurance plan would lead to high-tax-and-spend-and-borrow-and-regulate nationalized health care, a big economic negative. Ditto for nationalizing energy through cap-and-trade-and-tax. If these initiatives fail, it is very bullish for stocks and the economy.

Meanwhile, a global stock market rally strongly suggests that a global economic recovery is in the cards. (The Bank of Canada has even declared Canada’s recession over.) The biggest gainers are coming out of Asia, especially China. But the larger economies of Europe, Japan, and the U.S. are also producing large market gains.


Larry Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” which airs nightly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.