George H. W. Bush and "Voodoo Economics"
Sam Houston State University historian, writing on the Forbes web site, has a very odd blog post this morning. He criticizes MIT economist Simon Johnson for attributing the term "voodoo economics" to George H.W. Bush. Domitrovic calls it a "myth" that the elder Bush ever uttered those words. "You'd think there'd be a scrap of evidence dating from 1980 in support of this claim. In fact there is none," he says.
Perhaps down in Texas they don't have access to the Los Angeles Times. If one goes to the April 14, 1980 issue and turns to page 20, one will find an articled by Times staff reporter Robert Shogan, entitled, "Bush Ends His Waiting Game, Attacks Reagan." Following is the 4th paragraph from that news report:
"He [Bush] signaled the shift [in strategy] in a speech here [in Pittsburgh] last week when he charged that Reagan had made 'a list of phony promises' on defense, energy and economic policy. And he labeled Reagan's tax cut proposal 'voodoo economic policy' and 'economic madness.'"
I've attached a PDF file of the Times article to this post for the benefit of the skeptical.
Let me just emphasize that the words "voodoo economic policy" are Bush's words. The source is a reputable one that is easily available even at second-tier universities, so I think this counts as pretty strong evidence to anyone with a reasonably open mind. I think even someone with a Ph.D. in history from Harvard might concede that it is at least a scrap of evidence.
I suppose that is one wanted to be pedantic, one could continue to argue that Bush never said the precise words "voodoo economics," that somehow or other "voodoo economic policy" is something completely different. I will allow others to debate the point.