In the process of killing the $2000 Covid survival checks, Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans resurrected their Party’s longest-running scam, an idea laid out by Jude Wanniski back in the 1970s to use the deficit to destroy Democrats.
The history is fascinating, and not only tells us how they’ll be re-running this long con but also what Democrats can do to expose it.
Jude Wanniski Hatches a Plan
Odds are you’ve never heard of Jude Wanniski, but without him Reagan wouldn’t have become a “successful” president, Gingrich wouldn’t have taken control of the House, Bill Clinton wouldn’t have been impeached, and neither George Bush would have been president.
A rather bookish fellow, tending toward balding with a tuft of gray hair in the center of his head in his later years, Wanniski was personally charming, although quite willing to go after his political or economic opponents when engaged in debate or in the media.
Trained as a journalist, he spoke with a slight Brooklyn accent and was often represented as an expert on economics and sometimes even introduced as an economist, although he had no academic qualifications in that field whatsoever.
Nonetheless, his “big idea” was that there are really only two types of economics in the world: “Demand Side” and “Supply Side.”
In fact, Wanniski invented the phrase “Supply Side Economics.” He even claimed that Karl Marx, Alexander Hamilton and Adam Smith were “supply-siders” who would have agreed with him.
Conservative Republicans were in a flaming crisis
When Barry Goldwater went down to ignominious defeat in 1964, most conservative Republicans felt doomed (among them the then-28-year-old Wanniski). Lyndon Johnson not only won in a landslide but was rolling out a whole new set of Great Society programs, including the brand-new proposal for Medicare, which was increasingly popular with the American electorate.
Even the most successful Republican president of the 20th century, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961), had been quite happy with FDR’s top income tax rate on millionaires of 90+ percent. He wrote a now-famous letter to his brother Edgar on November 8, 1954…