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Obsessive Political Analysis

August 22, 2016

Johnathan Chait is an accomplished journalist, if a bit obsessive. His major obsession is found in The Big Con, a book that demonizes Supply-side Economics. Published in 2007, The Big Con comes to the Supply-side Economics table a bit late.

The first incidence of Supply-side economic policies was found during the Administration of Warren Harding who recruited Andrew Mellon to become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Mellon designed a policy he called “Scientific Taxation” that lowered marginal tax rates. Next came President John F. Kennedy whose first and only economic plan was announced in Kennedy’s “Address to the Economic Club of New York,” on December 14, 1962.

In 1978, the maximum capital gains tax was 40% and the inflation rate was 12-13%. Jack Kemp, Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski successfully persuaded Ronald Reagan that lowering capital gains and marginal income taxes would spur economic growth.

Johnathan Chait called that historical development and application of Supply-side Economics to public policy a “Big Con.”

Yesterday, Chait took on a new challenge, the dumping of Neoconservatives onto the ash heap of history. Here’s what he wrote in an essay titled, The Neocons Have Gone From GOP Thought-Leaders to Outcasts, New York magazine on August 21, 2016.

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