Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Reeves Bartlett (born October 11, 1951) is an American historian whose area of expertise is supply-side economics. He served as a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under George H. W. Bush.

Bartlett has written several books and magazine articles critical of the George W. Bush administration and believes that its economic policies significantly departed from traditional conservative principles.

Bruce Bartlett
Born
Bruce Reeves Bartlett

October 11, 1951 (age 67)
ResidenceGreat Falls, Virginia, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
EducationRutgers University, B.A., 1973
Georgetown University, M.A., 1976
OccupationAuthor, historian, economist
Known forOpposition to George W. Bush's economic policies
Political partyIndependent[1]
Parent(s)Frank and Marjorie (Stern) Bartlett
Notes

Early life and education

Bartlett was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of Marjorie (Stern) and Frank Bartlett. He was educated at Rutgers University (B.A., 1973) and Georgetown University (M.A., 1976). He originally studied American diplomatic history under Lloyd Gardner at Rutgers and Jules Davids at Georgetown. He did a considerable amount of research on the origins of the Pearl Harbor attack, doing a master's thesis on the topic at Georgetown, the substance of which was later published as Coverup: The Politics of Pearl Harbor, 1941–1946. He was closely advised by Percy Greaves, who had been the Republican counsel to the congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack in 1946.

Political career

In 1976, Bartlett changed careers, going to work for U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). Bartlett spent much of his time working with the House Banking Committee, of which Paul was a member. This involved Bartlett in economic issues. Paul was defeated when he ran for re-election in November 1976.

In January 1977, Bartlett went to work for U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp (R-New York) as a staff economist. Bartlett spent much of his time on tax issues, helping to draft the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which ultimately formed the basis of Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut. Bartlett's book, Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action, appeared in 1981 (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House Publishers). He also co-edited the book The Supply-Side Solution (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1983).

In 1978, Bartlett went to work for Perry Duryea, who was the Republican candidate for governor of New York. Duryea was defeated in November and Bartlett returned to Washington, where he joined the staff of newly elected Senator Roger Jepsen (R-Iowa).

Reagan administration

In 1981, Jepsen became Vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and Bartlett became deputy director of the committee's staff. Jepsen became chairman in 1983 and Bartlett became executive director of the JEC. During this period, the committee was very active in promoting Ronald Reagan's economic policies.

In late 1984, Bartlett became vice president of Polyconomics, a New Jersey-based consulting company founded by Jude Wanniski, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, that advised Wall Street clients on economic and investment policy. Bartlett left in 1985 to become a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, where he specialized in tax policy and was particularly involved in the debate around the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

George H. W. Bush administration

In 1987, Bartlett became a senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Policy Development, then headed by Gary Bauer. He left in 1988 to become the deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, where he served until the end of the George H. W. Bush administration.

Afterwards, Bartlett worked briefly at the Cato Institute in 1993. From 1993 to 2005, Bartlett was affiliated with the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market think tank based in Dallas, Texas.

Since 1995, he has written a newspaper column for Creators Syndicate, based in Los Angeles, and written extensively for many newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune magazine, and Commentary magazine. He currently blogs at Capital Gains and Games.

Political positions

Budget reform

Bartlett wrote a column in the Fiscal Times on June 21, 2013 opposing both the Baseline Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 1871) and the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1874). The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1874) was a bill that would require the Congressional Budget Office to provide a macroeconomic impact analysis for bills that are estimated to have a large budgetary effect.[3] The Baseline Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 1871) was a bill that would change the way in which discretionary appropriations for individual accounts are projected in CBO's baseline.[4] Under H.R. 1871, projections of such spending would still be based on the current year's appropriations, but would not be adjusted for inflation going forward.[4] Bartlett argued that both bills were "part of a long-term effort to eliminate data collection or pervert it so that policy is biased toward Republican priorities."[5] Bartlett called the Baseline Reform Act of 2013 an example of "Republican duplicity" that "let inflation do their dirty work" by allowing Republicans to hold the spending constant on programs they don't like in order to avoid directly cutting them, even as inflation reduces the real spending on that program for them.[5]

Criticism of George W. Bush administration economic policy

In 2005, the National Center for Policy Analysis fired Bartlett for his outspoken criticism of President George W. Bush.[6]

In 2006, he published Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (ISBN 0-385-51827-7), which is critical of the George W. Bush administration's economic policies as departing from traditional conservative principles. He compared the second Bush to Richard M. Nixon as "two superficially conservative presidents who enacted liberal programs to buy votes for reelection."[7]

In August 2009, Bartlett wrote a piece for the Daily Beast in which he attributed the global financial crisis and following recession to George W. Bush and Republicans, whose policies he claimed resulted in an inferior record of economic performance to those of President Clinton.[8] In the same editorial, Bartlett wrote that instead of enacting meaningful healthcare reform, President Bush pushed through a costly Medicare drug plan by personally exerting pressure on reluctant conservatives to vote for the program. Bartlett claimed that because reforming Medicare is an important part of getting health costs under control generally, Bush could have used the opportunity to develop a comprehensive health-reform plan and that "[b]y not doing so, he left his party with nothing to offer as an alternative to the Obama plan."[8] Bartlett concluded:

Until conservatives once again hold Republicans to the same standard they hold Democrats, they will have no credibility and deserve no respect. They can start building some by admitting to themselves that Bush caused many of the problems they are protesting.[8]

In his 2009 book, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, Bartlett defends Keynesian economic policies, stating that while supply-side economics was appropriate for the 1970s and 1980s, supply side arguments do not fit contemporary conditions.[9]

In a 2013 article for The American Conservative, Bartlett explains that after conducting research for the book, he "came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s," that "we needed Keynesian policies again," and that "no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy's problems than Paul Krugman," a prominent Keynesian economist.[10]

During an interview on CNN on August 19, 2011, Bartlett stated that presidential candidate Rick Perry "is an idiot, and I don't think anybody would disagree with that."[11] The comment was in reference to Perry's earlier assertion that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's actions would be "almost treasonous" if the Federal Reserve were to engage in expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election in order to stimulate the economy.[12][13]

Criticism of "Fair Tax" proposal

In an August 2007 The Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bartlett criticized the FairTax proposal as misleading and unlikely to simplify taxpaying.[14] Bartlett was especially critical of what he states are FairTax's accounting tricks in rate calculation and proponent claims that "real investment spending would rise 76%" if their plan were adopted.[14] A sponsor of the plan, Representative John Linder acknowledged Bartlett's point that the Church of Scientology had proposed a national sales tax, but said that the FairTax movement was independent of the Church of Scientology and Bartlett had confused them with the Scientology-affiliated Citizens for an Alternative Tax System.[15] Another sponsor of the plan, Leo Linbeck, was critical of Bartlett's article, claiming he used "red herrings" and provided false information on the plan and research.[16][17] In September 2007, Bartlett wrote an article for The New Republic, where he continued his criticism of the FairTax, including his claim that the idea of a national sales tax to replace income taxes originated with the Church of Scientology.[18]

Perspective on difficulties facing Republican Party

In an April 2017 article in Politico, Bartlett suggested that the loss of capacity in congressional committees due to cutbacks during the Gingrich era, combined with a lack of staffing to develop executive branch policy initiatives under the Trump administration, could make it very difficult for the Republican Congress to succeed in developing and implementing major legislative packages, such as health care and tax reform.[19]

Personal life

Bartlett lives in Great Falls, Virginia. He is a member of the American Economic Association and the Committee for Monetary Research and Education.[2]

Works

Books
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, The Keynesian Revolution Revisited, Committee for Monetary Research and Education, 1977.
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Cover-Up: The Politics of Pearl Harbor, 1941–1946, Arlington House Productions (1978) ISBN 978-0-87000-423-0
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Reagonomics: Supply-side economics in action, Arlington House (1981) ISBN 978-0-87000-505-3, Random House Value Publishing (March 24, 1982) ISBN 978-0-517-54817-2
  • Bruce R. Bartlett and Timothy Roth, The Supply Side Solution, Chatham House (October 1983) ISBN 978-0-934540-18-6, Palgrave Macmillan (September 27, 1984) ISBN 978-0-333-37364-4
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Doubleday (February 21, 2006) ISBN 978-0-385-51827-7
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past, Palgrave Macmillan (January 8, 2008) ISBN 978-0-230-60062-1, Palgrave Macmillan (January 6, 2009) ISBN 978-0-230-61099-6
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, Palgrave Macmillan (October 13, 2009) ISBN 978-0-230-61587-8
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform – Why We Need It and What It Will Take, Simon & Schuster (January 24, 2012) ISBN 978-1-4516-4619-1
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its, Ten Speed Press (October 24, 2017) ISBN 978-0-399-58116-8
Contributor to
  • The First Year: A Mandate for Leadership Report, Heritage Foundation, 1982.
  • Supply Side Economics, Aletheia Books, 1982.
  • Agenda '83: A Mandate for Leadership Report, Heritage Foundation, 1983.
  • The Federal Debt: On-Budget, Off-Budget, and Contingent Liabilities: A Staff Study, U.S. G.P.O., 1983.
  • The Industrial Policy Debate, Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1984.
  • Beyond the Status Quo, Cato Institute, 1985.
  • Articles in National Review, Human Events, Conservative Digest, and Modern Age, and to newspapers. Contributing editor of Libertarian Review.

Notes

  1. ^ "Where is the GOP of yesteryear?". The Economist. September 2, 2009. I still consider myself to be a Reaganite. But I don't see any others anywhere in the GOP these days, which is why I consider myself to be an independent. Mindless partisanship has replaced principled conservatism.
  2. ^ a b Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2010. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2010. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC. Document Number: H1000005810. Fee via Fairfax County Public Library, accessed 2010-01-24.
  3. ^ "H.R. 1874 - CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b "CBO - H.R. 1871". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b Bartlett, Bruce (21 June 2013). "The Republican War on Data". The Fiscal Times. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  6. ^ Stevenson, Richard W. (October 18, 2005). "In Sign of Conservative Split, a Commentator Is Dismissed". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Bruce Bartlett, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, New York: Doubleday, 2006, p. 155
  8. ^ a b c Bartlett, Bruce (August 15, 2009). "The GOP's Misplaced Rage." Daily Beast. (Retrieved on August 15, 2009).
  9. ^ The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward.
  10. ^ Bartlett, Bruce (November 26, 2012). "Revenge of the Reality-Based Community" The American Conservative. (Retrieved on December 6, 2012).
  11. ^ "'Rick Perry is an idiot': The politics of name-calling". The LA Times. August 19, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Muskal, Michael (August 17, 2011). "Perry attacks Fed again despite furor over earlier remarks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  13. ^ Sechler, Bob (August 17, 2011). "Fed Is Indifferent To Political Attacks – Fisher". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  14. ^ a b Bartlett, Bruce (August 26, 2007). "Fair Tax, Flawed Tax". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. Retrieved May 4, 2008. It was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s as a way to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service, with which the church was then at war (at the time the IRS refused to recognize it as a legitimate religion).
  15. ^ "On John Linder and Scientology". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. August 28, 2007. Retrieved May 4, 2008.
  16. ^ Leo Linbeck, Chairman and CEO of Americans For Fair Taxation: "As a founder of Americans For Fair Taxation, I can state categorically, however, that Scientology played no role in the founding, research or crafting of the legislation giving expression to the FairTax. Mr. Bartlett is equally wrong about many other aspects of the FairTax". From "Be Fair to FairTax – Throw the Red Herrings Back in the Water", FairTax.org
  17. ^ Linbeck, Leo (August 29, 2007). "Be Fair to FairTax – Throw the Red Herrings Back in the Water". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  18. ^ Barlett, Bruce (December 13, 2007). "Dianetics, The Tax Plan". The New Republic. Washington, D. C. Retrieved November 30, 2009. In a strange confluence, the Scientologist proposal happens to be nearly identical to one of the trendiest conservative tax proposals of the year, the so-called FairTax ...
  19. ^ Bartlett, Bruce (April 4, 2017). "How Congress Used to Work". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-23.

External links

Articles
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Audio mixing may be performed on a mixing console or digital audio workstation.

David Malpass

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In February 2019, President Trump announced Malpass as the nominee for President of the World Bank.

FairTax

The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum tax, corporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 18) would apply a tax, once, at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or "prebate", of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. First introduced into the United States Congress in 1999, a number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the bill; however, it has not moved from committee and has yet to have any effect on the tax system. In recent years, a tax reform movement has formed behind the FairTax proposal. Attention increased after talk radio personality Neal Boortz and Georgia Congressman John Linder published The FairTax Book in 2005 and additional visibility was gained in the 2008 presidential campaign.

As defined in the proposed legislation, the tax rate is 23% for the first year. This percentage is based on the total amount paid including the tax ($23 out of every $100 spent in total). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total). The rate would automatically adjust annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year. With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption, but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income). Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high-income earners and increase it on the middle class. Supporters contend that the plan would effectively tax wealth, increase purchasing power and decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base.

The plan's supporters state that a consumption tax would increase savings and investment, ease tax compliance and increase economic growth, increase incentives for international business to locate in the US and increase US competitiveness in international trade. The plan is intended to increase cost transparency for funding the federal government. Supporters believe it would increase civil liberties, benefit the environment and effectively tax illegal activity and undocumented immigrants. Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion. They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit. Other concerns include the proposed repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use and the loss of tax advantages to state and local bonds.

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Revenue neutrality of the FairTax

The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 1025) is a bill in the United States Congress for changing tax laws to replace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all federal income taxes (including Alternative Minimum Tax), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, gift taxes, and estate taxes with a national retail sales tax, to be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to households of citizens and legal resident aliens (based on family size) as an advance rebate of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.A key question surrounding the FairTax rate is the ability to be revenue-neutral; that is, whether its proposed monetary numbers would result in an increase or reduction in overall federal tax revenues, and if so how large this disparity would be. Economists, advisory groups, and political advocacy groups disagree about the tax rate required for the FairTax to be truly revenue-neutral. Researchers can use a different tax base, time frame, or methodology that make direct comparison among estimates difficult. The choice between static or dynamic scoring further complicates any estimate of revenue-neutral rates.Proponents offer studies that calculate the tax rate consistent with the legislation (23% inclusive), while critics argue that the rate would need to be much higher and offer competing estimates. Supporters argue that if the rate seems too high or is otherwise higher, it brings to light the cost of the federal government and the true tax burden Congress has levied on the American taxpayer. Bruce Bartlett has stated that "public opinion polls have long shown that support for flat-rate tax reforms is extremely sensitive to the proposed rate, with support dropping off sharply at a rate higher than 23%." If the FairTax is presented like all real world U.S. sales taxes and foreign VATs (tax-exclusive), the rate would be presented as 30%. Opponents argue the 30% tax-exclusive figure is better understood by the general populace and that the use of the 23% tax-inclusive number is deceptive and misleading. Proponents state that the 23% presentation is easier to compare to the inclusive income tax rates being replaced.

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"Starving the beast" is a political strategy used by budget hawks to limit government spending by cutting taxes.

The term "the beast", in this context, refers to the United States Federal Government, which funds numerous programs and government agencies using mainly American taxpayer dollars. These programs include: education, welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense.

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The Elusive Quest for Growth

The Elusive Quest For Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics is a 2001 book by World Bank development economist William Easterly. Upon its release, the book received acclaim from such figures as Bruce Bartlett, Robert Solow, and Paul Romer, and has since become widely cited in the Economic Development literature.

Easterly’s primary thesis is that the numerous efforts to remedy extreme poverty in the Third World have failed because they have neglected that individuals, businesses, governments, and donors respond to incentives. Thus, he argues, the failure of economic development in poor tropical nations is not the failure of economics, but the failure to apply economic principles to practical policy work. Inspired by the moral imperative to improve the lives of the poor, his recommendation is not to abandon the quest, but to improve the institutions of governments and international actors to create incentives that promote growth.

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