StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

First Bartlett Post

08 Sep 2009
Posted by Bruce Bartlett

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.

keep up the interesting work

You alone of the conservative economic writers today are readable, with clear reasoned arguments, and a non-ideological view of recent history. You perform a great service. Please keep it up.

1985 Tax Act

If I remember correctly 1986 was the year my wife took the CPA exam and won an award for her high score. We went to a meeting where the award was presented and a tax lawyer gave a talk about the 1986 act. As I remember he called it "The Tax Lawyer and Accountants Full Employment Act of 1986". That was a bit ago and memories are faulty.
What ever you come up with I hope it will not have a similar name in the CPA community.
Best of Luck.

I'm sure it will be a

I'm sure it will be a pleasure to read you here.

And this is from someone who had gone from being indifferent to the two major political parties in the early 1980s to a violent anti-republican -- but not pro-democratic---- since it became the party of irresponsibility.

Some grown up commentary from

Some grown up commentary from a real conservative - yahoo!

So this week will be controversial...hmmm.

I have found your most recent

I have found your most recent commentary (Forbes) very interesting. What are your thoughts on the fiscal/monetary similarities of the last eight years and the first nine months of this year. The Democrats seem to be Republicans on steroids. Still spending great amounts in Iraqi/Afghanistan. Medicare Part D has its equal or more in universal healthcare. The Stimulus the equal or more of eight years of porkbarrel spending. The Fed now even more accommodating than Greenspan. Who can be the Perot to make the case for fiscal responsibility?

A long time reader, glad to for more

I've been reading you in Tax Notes since long before it was electronic -- at least since the days of the '86 Reform.

I'd tear the paper edition out of its wrapper, skip the comics and op-eds, and head right for the "Bruce Bartlett" analyis.

Or, you know, the equivalent for a publication full of tax wonkery.

It's good to have your thoughts regularly available at another source.

All the best.

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