Even Richard Nixon Knew that Trickle Down Economics Was a Scam

Even Richard Nixon Knew that Trickle Down Economics Was a Scam

Despite its flaws, I read and enjoyed Destiny and Power , Jon Meacham’s new biography of George H.W. Bush. Meacham, who is a brilliant presidential biographer, gives Bush a little too much credit for being a decent man when he should have probed harder into Bush’s inability to be a decent leader. Privately, Bush was smart and reasonable about a number of issues—he seemed to oppose Dick Cheney’s lust for war during George W. Bush’s presidency, for example, and he was a moderate on abortion—but publicly, he failed to lead. Another example of Bush’s failure to lead? His stance on trickle down economics. During the 1980 presidential campaign, Bush rightfully ridiculed Ronald Reagan’s plan to provide tax breaks for the wealthy as “voodoo economics.” This is a term that caused the Reagan administration a lot of trouble after they brought Bush onboard as vice president: But even though Bush, as was his style, became an avid public supporter of trickle down economics, he privately understood that it was a scam. This passage from Chapter 31 of Destiny and Power indicates that the most influential members of the Republican Party understood it, too. On a snowy Saturday in in January 1987, Richard Nixon had come by to see Bush at the vice presidential reside. Nixon loved to talk politics, and he had handicapped the ’88 race for Bush. The most prescient thing the former president had said in the three-and-a-half hour session, though, was about governing, not running. “George, you know you were right about ‘voodoo economics,’ don’t you?” Nixon had asked. “We’ve got to handle the deficit. You know there is going to have to be a tax increase.” Nixon’s prediction had proven accurate. The month Bush defeated Dukakis, the General Accounting Office projected that tax increases “are probably an unavoidable part of any realistic strategy for
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Daily Clips: December 1st, 2015

Daily Clips: December 1st, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan, explained: In case you haven’t heard, Hillary Clinton put forward a bold infrastructure plan “that would generate $500 billion in additional infrastructure spending over the next five years.” She rightly called such an investment a “down payment” on our future. Matthew Yglesias notes: Infrastructure spending is in a sense a win-win for the economy, which both directly creates jobs and indirectly lays the foundation for further growth. But to maximize the growth-generating potential of infrastructure might require undermining some of its job-creating punch. David Brooks talks to himself: It seems that each column Brooks wades deeper and deeper into…I honestly don’t know. This time, he has a conversation with a dead man about the Paris climate talks; namely, Alexander Hamilton. Brooks moans that any climate agreement will result in cheating which in turn “will create a cycle of resentment that will dissolve any sense of common purpose.” His attitude on climate change might as well be, “We’re all fucked – let’s pack it up, boys.” The two American economies:  Peter Temin argues that the US has become a “dual economy.” By this he means “the disparity between the top thirty percent and the remainder has increased to the point” where both sets should be thought of independently. According to Temin, “the upper sector of the dual economy is the FTE sector, named for its main components: finance, technology and electronics. The lower sector of the American dual economy is the low-wage sector, and education is the way for people to go from the low-wage to the FTE sector.”   Two-thirds of Americans want U.S. to join climate change pact : But hey, since when did the US government care what the people thought?

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