Nov 23, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
For three decades now, liberals, er, progressives have been trying to explain why the Reagan recovery—that explosion of economic growth that lasted two decades—actually happened. It followed the down economy of the 1970s, when both unemployment and inflation soared in tandem. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The liberal economists of the School of Keynes were perplexed. Their remedy of more and more government spending didn’t work. And they were loath to credit President Reagan’s supply-side tax cuts that Congress had enacted in 1981.
Now the puzzle has been solved: The Reagan recovery didn’t exist. In a New York Times review of Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America, Timothy Noah says the tax cuts produced “a disaster.” It was Kemp who had persuaded Reagan to adopt across-the-board cuts in individual income tax rates. This, Noah says, “inaugurated two decades of sky-high budget deficits, accelerated a nascent growth trend in income inequality and did (depending on who you ask) little or nothing to ease the brutal 16-month recession that began around the same time the bill was passed.” That’s it. No mention of any recovery. It never happened.
The review doesn’t bother to explain, absent a recovery, how Reagan could have declared “Morning in America” and won reelection in 1984 in a landslide. Was the public misled about the condition of the economy? Reagan was dubbed the Great Communicator, but convincing the public the economy was in great shape when it wasn’t—even he couldn’t manage that. In truth, he didn’t have to. The economic numbers did it for him.
Something caused the economy to grow at a rate of 4.6 percent in 1983, 7.3 percent in 1984, and 4.2 percent in 1985. Over the rest of Reagan’s presidency, the growth rate was 4.5 percent, and through 2000 the economy grew on average 3.7 percent. Those numbers, taken together, would seem to indicate a recovery occurred. What could have sparked it? Perhaps the tax rate cuts worked in the 1980s and 1990s, just as they had in the 1960s when JFK’s tax cuts became law. Just a guess.
Paul Ryan’s Kemp connection.Nov 9, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 09 • By FRED BARNES
Paul Ryan was a waiter at Tortilla Coast, a Capitol Hill restaurant, when he first encountered Jack Kemp. Ryan had worked for Senator Bob Kasten (R-Wis.), who lost his race for reelection in 1992. Ryan was killing time in Washington before going to graduate school in economics.
Oct 26, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 07 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook’s colleague Fred Barnes took time out from his book tour last week to email us an exclusive addendum to his new biography of Jack Kemp, coauthored with Mort Kondracke.
When Republicans became the party of growth and tax cutsOct 12, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 05 • By FRED BARNES and MORTON KONDRACKE
In 1970, the year after Jack Kemp had retired as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, he was elected to the House from a district covering the Buffalo suburbs. He was 35. His chief concern was the suffering of his Rust Belt constituents, beset by plant closings and high unemployment. In 1973, he proposed a business-friendly tax cut, followed by another titled the Jobs Creation Act. Neither passed. Kemp, a phys. ed. major at Occidental College, had taught himself economics. He had read Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman, the masters of free-market economics.
Dec 31, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 16 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"There were giants in the earth in those days.” The death on December 19 of Robert Bork—superb legal scholar, preeminent constitutional thinker, principled public servant—calls to mind the other giants of American conservatism who have left us in the last decade: Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Richard John Neuhaus and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. They were the greatest conservative generation.
5:00 PM, Oct 24, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
“In this war on poverty, poverty is winning,” said Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Wednesday afternoon. “We deserve better.”
Speaking to an audience of supporters at Cleveland State University, Ryan, who's known for his wonky disquisitions on the federal budget, offered a comprehensive case for a vibrant civil society that cares for its poor on a local and personal level.
What congressional Republicans will do for the GOP nominee. Mar 19, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 26 • By FRED BARNES
Jack Kemp, the Republican congressman from Buffalo, met with Ronald Reagan at the Airport Marriott in Los Angeles in early January 1980. Kemp, an enthusiastic supporter of supply-side economics, had authored the Kemp-Roth tax cut to reduce income tax rates by 30 percent across the board. He was eager to persuade Reagan, who had expressed sympathy for the tax proposal in radio broadcasts.
Meet one of the newest Republican stars.11:28 AM, Jul 28, 2010 • By FRED BARNES
Tim Scott is the most heralded Republican House candidate this year, and for good reason. He’s likeable, experienced in politics at the local and state level, a self-described “bleeding heart conservative” of the Jack Kemp school, and the champion of an economic program he describes as “under the umbrella of fiscal sanity.” Scott, by the way, is an African-American from South Carolina.
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