Larry Kudlow is Trump pick to head National Economic Council

Last Updated Mar 14, 2018 4:33 PM EDT

President Donald Trump has picked economist and media personality Lawrence Kudlow to succeed Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council. 

What advice will Kudlow, who has accepted the position, be giving Mr. Trump?

His catch phrase that kicks off his weekly radio show sums it up: "Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity."

And he reveres President Ronald Reagan. Kudlow served in the Reagan administration in the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1983, and regularly touts the economic policies from that era.

Here are the economic themes Kudlow turns to most:

TAX CUTS: First and foremost Kudlow likes to talk about tax cuts, and other ways to give America's businesses incentive to invest and grow. Pointing to the recent tax cuts and a push toward deregulation, Kudlow praises Mr. Trump for "ending the war on business." 

FOR FREE TRADE/AGAINST TARIFFS...BUT TOUGH ON CHINA: Kudlow is a free trader. He has broken with the president on steel and aluminum tariffs, calling them "prosperity killers." 

Peter Navarro, Director of the White House National Trade Council, told CNN earlier this month that Kudlow was "dead wrong" on the tariffs' potentially adverse economic effects.

But Kudlow is on board with Mr. Trump when it comes to getting tough on China. 

"China has not played by the rules for a long time...intellectual property rights, corporate technologies, other barriers...China needs a comeuppance on trade," Kudlow said in an interview Wednesday on CNBC.  

"I must say, as someone who doesn't like tariffs, I think China has earned a tough response," he said, adding, "The U.S. could lead a coalition of large trading partners and allies against China or to let China know they are breaking the rules left and right."

LOVES A STRONG DOLLAR: Kudlow calls it "King Dollar" and believes it encourages investment in America and stable prices, which he thinks ultimately drives economic growth. In contrast, Trump has at times acknowledged the benefits of a weak dollar, because it can boost American exports in the short term. 

LOW GOVERNMENT SPENDING: He believes in keeping a tight lid on government spending – the idea being that people and businesses know better than the federal government what to do with their money.

From his op-ed on a spending deal in 2015: 

"Lower federal spending, limited government, and a smaller spending-to-GDP ratio will be good for growth. … by keeping resources in private hands, rather than transferring them to the inefficient government sector, the spending sequester is actually pro-growth."

Friends point to Kudlow's loyalty as an attribute that will serve him well with Mr. Trump. 

"He's a very sensitive man and a very logical man, which is exactly what Trump needs," Arthur Laffer, an economist and longtime friend of Kudlow, told the Associated Press. "And if by chance, he doesn't convince the president of something, he will be a loyal employee. He stays loyal even if the decision goes against him."

Many liberals may have a different take. Responding to news that Kudlow is set to take over as Mr. Trump's chief economic adviser, Nobel laureate economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said on Twitter: "At least he's reliable -- that is, he's reliably wrong about everything."

Still, even those who don't agree with Kudlow say he is open to listening to those on the other side of the aisle. 

Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, told CBS News in an email: "Especially on tax policy, where I think Larry's been a bit impervious to evidence, we've disagreed strongly for decades. But we still really like each other! That's partly because he's a truly decent guy and partly because outside of tax policy, he's actually willing to listen carefully to opposing viewpoints. That should serve him well in his new job." 

Kudlow is currently a senior contributor at business network CNBC, where he previously hosted "The Kudlow Report." He also hosts the weekly Radio Show, "The Larry Kudlow Show" for WABC.   

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report