By Jim Roberts
One of the nation’s oldest and most iconic retailers, Sears, is on the brink of bankruptcy, and President Trump’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, has two words: “Things happen.”
In a brief interview Q&A Friday with Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin on the White House lawn, Kudlow seemed to shrug at the company’s dire financial straits, suggesting that it was the natural course of business evolution.
“Sears has been in trouble for a while,” he said. “Things happen; they change. New companies come in and take out the older companies.”
He then went on to cite the work of 20th century economist, Joseph Schumpeter, who developed the theory known as “gales of creative destruction.” In Schumpeter's vision, entrepreneurial innovation was a disruptive force that sustained economic growth, even though it led to the collapse of established companies.
Kudlow joked in the interview, “I commune with him,” referring to the economist who died in 1950. “In fact, I spoke with him just a couple of weeks ago to make sure that we were doing it right. And he heartily approves.”
When Kudlow was first asked about Sears, he said he preferred to focus on the macro-economy. “Consumer spending and retails sales are doing terrific,” he said. “Business investments are doing terrific. Wages, real disposable income, fatter paychecks, doing just terrific. That’s the stuff that I want to focus on.”
The company, which owns the Sears and Kmart brands, faces a Monday deadline to pay back $134 million in debt. In the last five days, the company’s stock has fallen 50 percent to 35 cents a share.