Economics/Class Relations

Trump’s Tax Gambit: Hoping for a Reagan Repeat

When Trump was running for President, he said in an interview with Megyn Kelly that two of his main goals as Prez would be “rebuilding the military” and “tax cuts.” In other words, standard Republican talking points.

By Robert E. Merry

The American Conservative

In March 1997, two Washington reporters published a book entitled Mirage: Why Neither Democrats nor Republicans Can Balance the Budget, End the Deficit, and Satisfy the Public. The authors were George Hager, then a reporter for the CQ Weekly Report, and Eric Pianin of the Washington Post. A blurb on Amazon described the book as “a story of wishful thinking compounded by a chronic failure of leadership.” The clear theme: the budget would never be balanced.

But the fiscal year that began just the following October produced a surplus of $21.9 billion. The next three years generated surpluses, respectively, of $126 billion, $236 billion, and $128 billion. When the paperback came out, the title had to be altered to reflect the intervening events that had totally negated the thesis. By then the book was worthless, and it quickly faded. Today Amazon lists it as “unavailable”—not even a tattered used copy to be found.

These were bright and accomplished reporters, and they weren’t alone. The vaunted Office of Management and Budget had projected a 1998 deficit of $339 billion; the touted Congressional Budget Office pegged it at $357 billion.



Leave a Reply