First Bartlett Post
I want to thank Stan, Pete and Andrew for inviting me to join their blog, which I have been reading on a daily basis since it began. It does something that no other blog does: it tries to bridge the gap between New York and Washington. So often policy discussions in Washington are oblivious to the implications for financial markets and policy discussions in New York are oblivious to the political constraints. Having spent much of my life trying to explain one group's side of issues to the other, I am pleased to be able to work with a group as skilled at doing so as I am.
Looking ahead, I expect to be writing a lot about taxation, which has been my bread-and-butter issue ever since I worked for Jack Kemp in the late 1970s. Among my jobs was drafting what came to be known as the Kemp-Roth tax bill. Interestingly, Pete Davis was the economist at the Joint Committee on Taxation who helped me put the brackets together. And Stan reminds me that he was working for Liz Holtzman in those days and had the office right around the corner from Kemp's in the Rayburn Building. I guess this just proves that what goes around comes around.
In the 1980s, I was staff director for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, where I organized the first congressional hearings ever held on the flat tax. While a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation I was deeply involved in the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which I still think is a model to follow as tax reform comes back on the front burner. I am hopeful that the mini-commission appointed by Barack Obama and headed by Paul Volcker will be a vehicle for addressing the large and growing problems with our revenue system; most especially, how to raise the money needed to pay for retirement of the baby boomers.
In the late 1980s, I worked for Ronald Reagan in the White House's Office of Policy Development. There wasn't much policy being done at the end of the administration, but I learned a lot about how the White House operates that has served me well ever since.
I spent all four years of the George H.W. Bush administration at the Treasury Department. Again, the experience has served me well ever since because Treasury is and always will be the central economic policymaking institution of the federal government. Presidents who failed to understand that, like George W. Bush, ended up paying a heavy price for doing so.
In recent years, I've written a syndicated column and a several books, the latest of which comes out on October 13. It's called The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward. I will have more to say about that later. I also write a weekly column for Forbes that I will be posting here as well. My column this week is likely to be among the most controversial I've ever written.
I look forward to commenting on economic and political issues as they pop up. I hope readers will view my contributions as adding to the quality of CG&G and not as a subtraction from it.