CNBC host Kudlow: Obama would rather ‘punish’ the wealthy than ‘fix the economy’ [VIDEO]

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
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TAMPA, Fla. — Larry Kudlow, host of “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC, warned of a recession if current tax rates for all income brackets expire and the planned automatic spending cuts take effect.

He also told The Daily Caller that President Barack Obama would rather “punish” the wealthy than deal with America’s current economic challenges.

“I really think the fiscal cliff, which is really a tax cliff — it’s a tax-hike cliff — depends on the election. I mean, I think that the [Congressional Budget Office] CBO is right: If we don’t fix it, we’re going to have a recession. At the moment, I see no effort by Obama to deal with it. I mean, if I were he, and I were running in a close race, honest to God, I would call people together and sit down and hammer out a deal right away and you know what? That could possibly win the election for him. But he shows no evidence, no inclination to do that,” Kudlow told TheDC in Tampa after speaking at “Newt University” — a public policy forum sponsored by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the Republican National Convention.

“All he wants to do is bash rich people and bash businesses. It’s crazy to me. So I think that, I think that if Romney wins, I take, Ryan told me this Thursday, the first order of business is going to be to fix the fiscal cliff and avoid the recession. And I hope to hell that’s right. We can’t, I mean — here’s the deal: After what we’ve been through with this awful recession and this awful recovery, I personally do not believe this country can take another recession.”

Kudlow said another recession would be “devastating” in “psychological terms” for the country.

“Our enemies around the world would just lick their chops if America stumbles again, and that bothers me a lot,” Kudlow said, specifically citing Russia, China and Iran.

He also opposes Obama’s call to only extend the current Bush-era tax rates for families making under $250,000 per year.

“I wouldn’t be raising anybody’s taxes,” Kudlow said. “I don’t think Obama understands, if he does he doesn’t want to acknowledge it, that the so-called rich people are among other things the important investors that supply the capital for growth. Why penalize them? And, secondly, [they] are the leading small business owners that supply the torque and the jobs and the animal spirits. Why go after them? Why?”

“This whole class warfare thing is so un-American to me. It just doesn’t make any sense, but it doesn’t make economic sense.”

TheDC also asked Kudlow why he thinks Obama has not done more to prevent the U.S. from going over the fiscal cliff.

“You’re asking the right question and the only thing I can come up with is he’s just driven by this ideology where, to him, punishing the upper end is more important than fixing the economy,” said Kudlow, the former associate director for Economics and Planning in the Office of Management and Budget during Ronald Reagan’s first term in the White House.

“He’s [Obama] surrounded by left-wing advisers. I’m not being personal — I’m just saying from what I gather. Valerie Jarrett, Axelrod and Plouffe, these guys are card-carrying left-wing advisers, and they’d rather make an ideological point than a good economic growth point. I don’t think Obama’s a growth guy — I think he’s a redistribution guy and I think his leftist attitude covers, obscures, it blinds him to the consequences. I think that’s the problem.”

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