No Relation No. 12

How do you tell the difference among economic commentators Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Kuttner, Paul Krugman, and Robert Krulwich?

Lawrence Kudlow, the only conservative in the group, is a contributor to CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review and appears frequently on The McLaughlin Group and Fox News. He was an economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan and now has his own economic consulting firm. He has publicly discussed his recovery from a cocaine addiction and how the drug almost ruined his life. (In 1989 he was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying that in the 1980s drug traffic was an undeniable but regrettable economic stimulant.) He remains bullish on the economy and a cheerleader for President George Bush’s proposed tax cut.

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of the American Prospect, a magazine devoted to reviving liberal philosophy and politics. He also writes an economics column for Business Week and another syndicated by the Boston Globe. He opposes Bush’s tax cut plan but favors a one-time dividend payment from the federal government of $500 to everyone in the country as an economic stimulus. Kuttner also does occasional commentaries for National Public Radio.

Paul Krugman is best known as a former economics columnist for Slate. (OK, maybe he was already pretty well-known when he started writing for Slate and is better known now as a New York Times economics op-ed columnist.) Like Kudlow, Krugman also worked for the Reagan White House for what he describes as an “eye-opening” year on the Council of Economic Advisers. Unlike Kudlow, he did not come away with the same fervor for tax cuts. Krugman’s Times columns have been the scourge of Bush’s economic policies (“Mr. Bush’s advisers continue to search for reasons that doing the responsible thing is actually a bad idea.”), especially the proposed tax cut. Krugman is a professor at Princeton University.

Robert Krulwich is a correspondent for ABC News. Explainer can definitely report that though their names are very similar and they both went to Oberlin College, Krulwich and Kuttner are not the same person because they appeared together last year on a National Public Radio show discussing the economy. Early in Krulwich’s career, he was a business and economics correspondent at NPR. At CBS News, he became known for his ability to explain economic concepts in layman’s terms. While he still covers economic stories for ABC, he has also reported on science, war, and popular culture. Explainer was not able to reach him to get his views on Bush’s tax cut plan.

Previously in this series, Explainer tackled Linda Chavez and Linda Chavez-Thompson, Marty Peretz and the Meretz Party, the McCulloughs and Macaulays, the Gessens, Glennys, and Kaczynskis, the Cohens(three Stephens, four Richards), the Rays(two Elizabeths), the Hirschfelds(Abe and Al), the Strausses(Robert and R. Peter), the Broders(Jonathan, John M., and David), the Moores(three Michaels), and the Samuelsons(Paul, Robert, and Larry). For the “Yes, Related” Explainer on the Eskews, click here.

Have you noticed people in the news with confusingly similar names? Send your suggestions to Explainer.

Explainer thanks reader Jerome Slote for suggesting the question.