In separate interviews with Bill Moyers for Moyers & Company, David Stockman and Bruce Bartlett, senior architects of Ronald Reagan's economic policy, have harsh words for the staunch anti-tax position of modern conservatives.
David Stockman, former Budget Director under President Ronald Reagan who helped devise Reagan's supply-side, or "trickle-down," economic strategy, says today's Republicans have taken their anti-tax campaign too far.
"Taxes are the price we pay for civilization... What [conservative leaders] are saying today is foolish, it's irresponsible. How can anyone believe with the kind of deficit that we have -- a trillion dollars, year after year after year -- that we can keep taxes as low as they are?"
Economist Bruce Bartlett worked on domestic policy for the Reagan White House and served as a top treasury official under the first President Bush. Now he's a heretic in the conservative circles where he once was a star. When he called George W. Bush out as "a pretend conservative" in his book Impostor: Why George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Bartlett was fired from his position as a senior fellow at a conservative think tank. Bartlett argues that right-wing tax policies -- pushed in part by Grover Norquist and Tea Party activists -- are destroying the country's economic foundation.
"I think Mr. Bush's support for a tax increase in 1990 was an enormous act of courage that no Republican has been willing to show since, and probably never will... I mean, would you want to be a Republican running in a Republican primary, where Grover Norquist comes in and says, 'This guy must be defeated because he violated the pledge, or he refused to sign the pledge'? The members of the Tea Party don't need to know anything else. That guy's history."
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