Economist ​Stephen Moore at Amelia Island Plantation

When noted economist Stephen Moore spoke at an event at Amelia Island Plantation a year ago, he had an underlying message.

Moore supported most of the economic platform of the new administration. This made sense since Moore and fellow economist/commentator Larry Kudlow helped incoming president Donald Trump devise the plan.

However, certain free-market principles were in jeopardy. And Moore was quietly skeptical of top economic advisor Gary Cohn, who is a globalist. This has all corrected itself now, like stars aligning.

Cohn recently resigned from his post as National Economic Council director. And Cohn will be replaced by Kudlow, a popular television commentator (on shows like “The Kudlow Report” and CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”). Moore is smiling now.

As should all of America. Kudlow preaches basic economic tenets of a small government that helps the private sector – not hurts it. Kudlow believes in low taxes and less regulation. Let the free markets be free of excessive intervention.

You had the naysayers sowing their nay (or is that hay). Like Charlie Gasparino, a Fox Business News commentator who dislikes everything the new administration does. Gasparino forecasted that U.S. stocks would plummet if Cohn decided to leave the administration.

Instead, stocks hardly budged. However, the markets got a bump when Kudlow was announced as Cohn’s replacement. Again, investors should be cautious about taking cues from talking heads. You would have missed a terrific rally in U.S. stocks (since the election) if you listened to people like Gasparino.

Kudlow had his start in government as an economic advisor for President Ronald Reagan. Kudlow witnessed the economic revival spurred by Reagan’s tax cuts. He believes the most recent tax cuts are good but would be great if they are made permanent for individual taxpayers. (The reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent is permanent.)

Therefore, Kudlow will supposedly push for a second round of tax cuts. And soon. While Kudlow supports free trade, and opposes tariffs, he believes the threat of tariffs can be useful as a negotiating tool.

Kudlow is very bullish on our country. He views the U.S. as the ultimate case for capitalism in the world – and what it can do for improving peoples’ lives.

Economic prosperity is beneficial for everyone. Look around you in North Florida. Tourists are teeming. New buildings are rising. Restaurants are abounding. Cities (like Fernandina Beach) and counties (like Nassau) and states (like Florida) are awash in tax revenues as economic prosperity abounds – and drives up property values.

These revenues can be used to improve our infrastructure, to invest in education, to provide safety for citizens. Without the fruits of prosperity, this is hardly possible.

Nobody knows this better than Kudlow. Except maybe Stephen Moore.

(Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor and a chartered retirement planning counselor for a major U.S. firm who lives on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His business columns appear in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia. He has published a book of his favorite columns from the last 20 years, “All About Money.” The book is available in local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at

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