Not Like Making Cookies

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

On August 13, 2011, Bruce Bartlett, domestic policy advisory to Ronald Reagan, Treasury official under George H.W. Bush, and leading conservative economist, posted an article titled “Why the Reagan Tax Cut Worked in 1981 and Why It Wouldn’t Work Today” in which he argues that tax cuts will not stimulate today’s economy:

“The truth is that the Reagan tax cut never came close to paying for itself, but neither was it expected to lose as much revenue as it did. And while it was highly stimulative, that is only because the economic and financial circumstances of the time made it so. Reenacting some version of the Reagan tax cut under today’s economic conditions would not bring about similar results.

He goes on to conclude:

“Making economic policy is not like making cookies and you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach. Policies need to be crafted to the circumstances. I believe Reagan’s policies were appropriate to the economic conditions of the early 1980s. Today’s economic problems require a very different set of policies.

Context: Bruce Bartlett has on several occasions expressed his dissatisfaction with the current policies of the Republican Party. He believes the conservatives of today have distanced themselves from real conservative principles. He was very critical of the Bush administration and of several of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates, going as far as calling Rick Perry an idiot during an interview with CNN (includes video).


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