Right-leaning CNBC offers rare GOP criticism

Not everyone on the business network is fawning over vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 30, 2012 4:20PM
Before Paul Ryan accepted the Republican nomination for vice president Wednesday night, CNBC's Larry Kudlow said he hoped to hear details of the party's plans to get the U.S. economy growing faster. Alas, the curmudgeonly pundit was disappointed.

"There was too much emphasis on debt and not enough about growth," the former Reagan administration official said on the network, adding that the GOP's consistent harping about the federal government's debt problem has little meaning to someone without a job.
CNBC fact-checked some of Ryan's comments in the following video.

Post continues below.
Kudlow's fellow panelists, including chief Washington correspondent John Harwood, acted like he was nuts. But Kudlow's observation was spot-on, though few people probably saw it. CNBC's ratings continue to be dismal.

Tuesday night, CNBC averaged about 163,000 viewers in the only hour it went head-to-head with Fox Business News in coverage of the Republican National Convention, TVNewser reports. Those viewers included 76,000 in the target demographic of adults 25-54. Fox Business News, owned by News Corp. (NWS), averaged 388,000 viewers, including 161,000 in the target demo.

Comcast (CMCSA)-owned CNBC argues that ratings are misleading because while its audience is small, it's very influential.

Kudlow's comments stood out because Republicans aren't usually criticized at CNBC, a network critics have long argued is long on bloviation and short on insight. "Amongst mainstream broadcast media, CNBC has led the politicization of business reporting," writes money manager and commentator Barry Ritholz in the Big Picture.

CNBC declined to comment on the matter.

Kudlow's remarks ran counter to the prevailing wisdom from CNBC and Republicans, which is that Ryan is a fiscal genius. Kudlow obviously admires Ryan, which made his remarks all the more powerful. Plus, the economist was right.

Ryan's speech was lacking in specifics, which is odd considering how the Wisconsin congressman fancies himself to be a policy wonk. Even stranger was his omission of tax cuts, which are a focal point of Romney's economic agenda. There was plenty of rhetoric, however, about debt.
"I don't think discussing debt connects with people who are unemployed or marginally employed," Kudlow wrote on his National Review Online blog. "I think they want a good-paying job, and debt is almost an academic abstraction. When Republicans run on debt and deficits, they almost always lose."

His view was backed by CNBC's John Carney, who added this on CNBC.com: "My worst fears about Paul Ryan were borne out in Wednesday night's speech... I hope the answer is that Mitt Romney will come out swinging for tax cuts. I fear the answer is that Ryan's heart just isn't in it. At the core, he's a deficit hawk rather than a wise tax owl."
The biggest problem facing the economy is jobs. Approximately, 12.8 million people were jobless in July. Economists such as Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com believe that the jobs picture is not much better, though he expects the unemployment rate to drop to 8.2% from 8.3%.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans' answer to the jobs crisis is to cut taxes and reduce government spending. Romney supports an across-the-board 20% cut in the marginal tax rate, slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, and abolishing the estate tax, which its detractors have  dubbed "the death tax." He also wants to bring federal spending down to 20% of GDP from 24% last year.

The Republican plan would "cut spending pretty fast," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, in an interview. "That's going to weaken the economy because the private sector isn't going to be able to jump in and fill the gap."

Gault and other economists are skeptical that that the GOP plan will work. Others argue that the Republican policies will help the wealthy and the expense of regular folks.

An analysis by the left-leaning Tax Policy Center estimates that under Ryan's latest budget plan, those earning $1 million or more would get a tax cut of $265,000, resulting in a 12.5% rise in after tax income. Half the people earning $20,000 to $30,000 would get no tax cut at all.

Romney, who enjoys a sizable fundraising advantage, won't win if he can't articulate a vision for how he will grow the economy. Thursday night is his first chance to prove the naysayers wrong.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
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Sep 2, 2012 4:09PM

Mitt Romney, and his side kick, Mr. Ryan, are truly mindless. Both of them have flunk economic classes galore. Our Air Force has powerful airplanes; the Army has fantastic mobility, efficient military personnel, and weapons, superbly striking force, and strong military mechanization, The Navy has the most advance Airplane carriers, and atomic submarines. The Iraq war in the processes of being fully terminated and the Afghanistan war near a close by Mr. Obama in a powerful effort to use the money to build back our infra-structure. We need to remember we blew about 3.9 trillions dollars, in the mistake of the Iraq war, there was extraordinary billions approved to rebuilding of Iraq, plus the extra cost of enormous American Embassy in Iraq. All war expenses, millions still counting on a daily basis. We blew 2.9 plus trillions in Afghanistan, and still counting on a daily basis. Sadly we wasted millions of dollars going after a militant Mr. Bin Laden that was not there in the mountains but living in Pakistan. Instead of more defenses spending, we need put those billions of dollars in re-constructing our country. We have hungry people in America needing jobs, about 8.1% of our citizens looking for work, all of it because all our American jobs, about 10 million jobs, were shipped overseas since 2000 to 2008 during Mr. Bush presidency, instigated by the sharp mind, money hungry unscrupulous business CEO’s of almost every Corporation in America, to include Bain Capital, and the relaxation of business regulations. Now tell me, what we got in return, but hungry in our country, insidious high unemployment, presently mitigated by the extraordinary effort of Mr. Obama policies creating new industries. Where is the money, still not approved by Congress to put our people to work, where are these many not so considered elected officials in the Republican Party, Tea Party in Congress, and in the Senate, still enjoying a full month vacation with pay since July/August of 2012. Mr. Obama cannot recreate the jobs that were taken, those will never return, he has to invent new jobs, all of them new, that takes time you stupid people of America! What we all need to do is to vote Democratic ticket, and let Obama keep trying to have the best minds to invent new jobs, but don't let them take all the jobs again to China, India, and Mexico. About oil, there is plenty of drilling for oil and gas presently done in our USA, don't let anyone fool you with additional drilling; theirs is a limitation of space, and time for any oil wells to get to produce hundred of barrels of oil/day or gas equivalents. Get sharp, and vote with you mind, think what the Tea Party of Palin, and the Republican party of Bush, and Romney has done to America, but they have us eat eating grass! If Congress was to create jobs, building bridges, road, fast trains, and the money will go to sustain the American working forces, all the money does not need be used to re-arm a wonderful fighting force like the powerful one we have. Fighting Tanks will turn into machines to make roads, to cut crops; airplanes are re-designed made to improve air delivery of pesticides. Do we have to be killing hundred of Americans to make a living? Only Mr. Obamas can do this magic. Republicans, all it’s just hot air talk, as they talk the talking, but as past history consistently shown, they cannot do the walking!

Sep 2, 2012 1:31PM
In the Paul Ryan's budget plan, Social Security is PRIVATIZED and given to Wall Street.

No one wants Jamie Dimon playing with their retirement money.

Sep 2, 2012 7:38AM
Larry Kudlow is an idiot who waved the flag continuously for Bush. CNBC is a joke and provide no justification for it's existence to investors. They are shills for Wall Street and care little about main street.
Aug 31, 2012 6:42PM
Notice how all of the complainers mention the "right leaning" comment  as just cause to dismiss the entire article without even mentioning Ryans proposals or their falsehoods? 
Aug 31, 2012 1:41PM

CNBC leans right?  What a joke. 

Aug 31, 2012 9:01AM
Right Leaning CNBC...??? What drug are you smoking?
Aug 31, 2012 9:01AM
Jonathan - You are a Commie and you know it! Don't try and pull the wool over our eyes by stating  untrue statements ( like CNBC is right leaning) Everybody knows they are so far left they reside in Commie obamas Left Gonad! Wow - you Commies get bolder and bolder on your attempts to convince us of your failed political views. I would tell you to stick with the Economic advice but are not very good at that either!
Aug 30, 2012 10:58PM
Right Leaning ????  are u kidding me ????
Aug 30, 2012 10:29PM
Mitt Romney's $250 fortune and $22m a year income make it impossible for him to connect with the middle calss. Paul Ryan with his $2-3m net worth and $330,000 annual income isn't much better. They're both critical of the ACA because they'll both have to pay MC and SSA taxes on all that income along with the rest of the 1%. Republicans are who got us in the mess and more of that won't get us out.
Aug 30, 2012 7:29PM

Basically, you had Paul Ryan bshing the President over and over. What was that? I hope a lot more people complain all the way to the elections. Read my lips: no New World Order. Read my clenched fist: ABSOLUTELY no New World Order.


Where is the in-depth reporting on Congress and the Party of NO? It's election time. When in the history of any free nation has one elected group been paid while holding the naton's recovery hostage? We want SPECIFICS on Romney's offshore accounts. We want to know WHO ELSE in Office has one or more. These people become instantly ineligible to run for ANY Office and surrender their citizenship. Let's go America... time to push white collar trash to the curb.

Aug 30, 2012 6:29PM
Other thn Joe Kernan and Larry Kudlow, who are the other Repblican leaning announcers. NONE
Aug 30, 2012 6:17PM

Romney/Ryan keep saying they want to talk about jobs and the economy!  But that is the only statement they make.  They have not presented their plan for creating jobs or helping the economy recover at all!  Romney has been at this for more than 3 months.


The only plan they have presented is to cut taxes for the rich to 25% top tier and change medicare and hand seniors a voucher when they are 65 to buy medical insurance on their own!  Try buying health insurance on your own when you are 55, forget about 65.  If they really want to kill medicare, first they should stop government paid health insurance for all ex-congressmen and ex-senators.  But they will not because they are hypocrites.

Aug 30, 2012 5:29PM
There is nothing owned by NBC, especially MSNBC, that isn't far left in its reporting. This crap about conservative CNBC is pure BS!  Every one of their business storys has a very left slant including the story playing right now as I write!
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