Opinion

Jack Lew is unqualified for Treasury job

Photo of Larry Kudlow
Larry Kudlow
Senior Contributor, CNBC

Lew is to the left of the departing Tim Geithner, just as Chuck Hagel is to the left of Leon Panetta, and John Kerry is to the left of Hillary Clinton. It gives you a sense of Obama’s second-term direction, which is likely to move toward high taxes at home and weak national security abroad.

Some highly placed senior Obama advisors are telling me that Jack Lew is really a fiscally conservative Democrat who will sell spending and entitlement reforms to all those liberals in the Senate. Look, I don’t even know the guy. None of my criticisms are personal. But I don’t see any evidence of this fiscal conservatism. And I sure don’t see an influential presence on the world stage to keep America front and center.

Jack Lew is no George Shultz, or William Simon, or Lloyd Bentsen, or Robert Rubin, or Hank Paulson. He is an insider, an Obama political operator, not an independent voice. This is degrading to one of the biggest jobs in the government.

For my Republican friends out there, here’s a piece of free advice: In the coming economic battles, stay away from debt-ceiling defaults and government shutdowns. Instead, keep a laser-like focus on implementing the $1.2 trillion sequester spending cuts, which would actually pay for last year’s debt-ceiling hike, and put together a tough-minded, cut, cap, and balance spending-cut package for the upcoming budget cycle.

As John Boehner told me a couple of years ago, his primary purpose is to “stop the bad stuff.” Please, Mr. Speaker, hold that thought.

Larry Kudlow is the host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”