Today’s Brew 4-13-11

Props to Professor Brian Domitrovic for taking certifiable maniac Jonathan Chait to task for his sloppy, stupid writing.

Jonathan Chait’s Voodoo History

Jonathan Chait of New Republic fame is the cliché’s most recent enunciator. He wrote the above line last month in a takedown of Republican fiscal policy, in the organ Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Chait joins a list of distinguished observers – such as MIT/IMF/Peterson Institute majordomo Simon Johnson – who have recently repeated the bald and false assertion: George H.W. Bush called supply-side economics voodoo economics.

Let’s go back 31 years and sift the evidence. The underlying reference is to the 1980 Republican primary campaign, when Bush was trying to make time against a surging and ultimately victorious Ronald Reagan. In April 1980, and in press releases in prior months, Bush did indeed, no doubt about it, say that his opponent espoused “voodoo economic policy.” But – and this is the big but – Bush did not associate Reagan’s economic plan with “supply-side economics.” Rather, Bush called himself “the supply-sider in this race.”


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