Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency Reagan Tax Cuts 40th Anniversary  CSPAN  October 11, 2021 2:00pm-3:31pm EDT

2:00 pm
low-lying coastal areas would evacuate by thousands of residents. three persons were killed. three chesapeake bay fishermen were reported missing. hurricane villa takes more than 22 lives as she wonders in a deadly path through the caribbean across mexico, >> .. >> ..
2:01 pm
>> it was a change in the mindset. the 1970s were a time of high inflation, high unemployment, low on opportunity. our nation's leaders rejected the idea of american greatness
2:02 pm
and felt the american dream was behind us. 30 years ago the heritage foundation hosted the celebration for the 10th anniversary for the tax cuts. it was entitled the importance of america's victory over washington. think about that for a second. america's victory over washington. as the tax codes were being debated in congress, president reagan gave voice to this sentiment in his televised address reassuring the american people quote all the lobbying, the organized demonstrations and the cries of protest by those whose way of life depends on government's wasteful ways were no match for your voices, which were heard loud and clear. so it's healthy and very important for our movement to celebrate our successes and remember the good things that were accomplished for the country. it's even more important for us to come together and consider the lessons learned and teach
2:03 pm
the next generations how to apply those lessons to the challenges of today and the challenges of tomorrow. a retrospective analysis of the 81 tax cuts performed by the tax foundation found that if it had been allowed to fully stay in place instead of partially being rolled back by later tax hikes, it would have increased the long run gdp by 8%. that's a huge number. think about how good that would have been for the country. perhaps we should have given that a try. it turns out that if you lower taxes, reduce regulatory burdens, allow people to keep more of their own money, and allow them to make their own decisions about what to do with it, it results in more economic growth, more prosperity, and higher standards of living for the american people. but now president biden's agenda adds another major threat to american prosperity and our way
2:04 pm
of life. they are threatening massive tax hikes, a massive expansion of government control over the most personal aspects of your life. not to mention key provisions in the tax code under current law are soon going to be expiring, and the tax code is still too burdensome, too uncompetitive and perhaps most importantly the size and scope of government has grown too unsustainable, too costly, too harmful. it restricts current and future economic growth. it infringes on liberty and has very serious negative effects on people's lives and their liberty. it is vital that we all work together, rise to meet this moment and address these challenges head on, just as president reagan addressed the challenges of his time. in his book "the age of reagan" steven heyward made an interesting observation. he said one of the things that
2:05 pm
made the supply side phenomenon so remarkable there were so few supply siders. there weren't enough to fill the key positions in the reagan administration. it's notable that some of the most ardent criticisms of the supply siders came from republicans, but the supply siders understood the way the world works, and the american people intuitivety understand as -- intuitively understand as well. so when president reagan and jack kemp and art lapper and all the others harness the power of ideas and principles and went on offense and spoke the truth boldly and unapologetically, they won. we won. even the democrats at the time started talking about the need to reduce tax rates in order to help fix the economy. the heritage foundation analysis at the time called that a triumph of supply side thought. unfortunately, too many of today's conservative are unwilling or unable to argue in
2:06 pm
terms of the first principles of our [inaudible] as well as what president reagan did. we have truth, justice, fairness and all these great things on our side. let's shout it and talk about it boldly and proudly. here to do that, we have a very distinguished and fantastic lineup this evening that needs little introduction. we will hear remarks from attorney general and key advisor to president reagan and the heritage foundation's ronald reagan distinguished fellow emeritus. we will hear from founder and chairman, on a panel moderated by larry kudlow, host of "kudlow" of fox business network. we will also hear from steve forbes, the committee to unleash prosperity steve moore, senior fellow at the independent institute judy shelton and speechwriter to president reagan
2:07 pm
anthony dolan. i would like to turn the stage over to my friend and head of the reagan alumni association. thank you. >> i'm executive director of president reagan's alumni association. on behalf of the board, we're delighted to cohost this event with the heritage foundation and the committee to unprosperity to celebrate the -- to unleash prosperity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of president reagan's tax cuts. we are at a surreal moment. on the one hand we are talking about the massive reagan tax cuts and across the street downtown, we have president biden and the democrats looking to spend 1.9 trillion. i think it is called the american rescue act, 1.2 trillion for infrastructure, 3.5 trillion and so on and so forth.
2:08 pm
it's terrible where we are now, but let's remember it was terrible at the end of the 1970s, and because of folks like reagan, folks like people in this room and others around the country, we will rebound. i want to take a few minutes to touch on some of the quotes of ronald reagan when he talked about his tax cuts because it helped position the argument pretty well leading up to it and then talking about it afterwards. many of you recall that one of the quotes he used often was government's view of the economy to be summed up in a few short phrases. if it moves, tax it. if it keeps moving, regulate it. if it stops moving, subsidize it. another one was the problem is not that people are taxed too little. the problem is that government spends too much. he said when john kennedy's tax program which he said was not
2:09 pm
too dissimilar from his was passed, the same thing happened. more revenue at lower tax rates. he said a taxpayer is someone who works for the federal government, but doesn't have to pass the civil service exam. he said our federal tax system is ensured utterly impossible, utterly unjust, completely counterproductive. it wreaks with injustice and is fundamentally un-american. it's earned the rebellion, and it is time we rebel again. a couple more is he said if you reduce tax rates and allow people to spend or save more of what they earned, they will be more industrious. they will have more incentive to work hard and keep the money that they earn. it will add fuel to a great economic machine that energizes our national progress. the result, he said, more prosperity for all and more revenue consequently for
2:10 pm
government. there were a few economists at the time that called this principle supply side economics, and he said sometimes he calls it just common sense. lastly is one of his more colorful ones when he said the american taxing structure, the purpose of which was to serve the people began instead to serve the insatiable appetite of government, and he said if you will forgive me, you know someone has likened government to a baby. it is an element [inaudible] with an appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. president reagan's tax cuts certainly stimulated the economy, created millions of jobs, and got the country out of president's carter self-described malaise. and speaking of president carter, i will try my own attempt at reagan-like humor. let's imagine in 1979 that president carter was jogging around the title basin and he --
2:11 pm
tidal basin and he slipped and fell in and was drowning. secret service had turned the other way. two kids on their bike saved him. he said i want to do something for you. the kid said can i tour the white house? he said i'm president of the united states. i will give you the tour of myself. the second kid said can i get a new bike? he said i will give you a new bike. the third kid said as president do you have power to arrange me to get a plot at the arlington cemetery? he said you're 10 years old. why are you thinking about death? he said because when i go home and tell my parents saved you, they are going to kill me. [laughter] >> next you will hear remarks from art laffer. >> thank you very much, it's a pleasure. those of you on the panel, i wish i were there. i have to go up to the mountains
2:12 pm
tomorrow, where i'm going to be hosting that event of the honorary [inaudible]. that will be fun too. i wish you all were there. what i want to say, and i don't want to overlook all the other accomplishments the reagan administration and what the president did. i mean, for example, coming in and seeing the end of the iran hostage crisis, the day, the moment he took the oath of office, incredible. that shows the power. we had to joke before he took the oath of office is what's covered with sand and glows in the dark? and the answer was [inaudible] in about 15 minutes after reagan tooks office. they understood the threat from reagan and they released the hostages as he took the oath of office. i don't want to underestimate the power of the control of oil. we had all the gas lines. it's been said the limit of how long a gas line would be how long it would take to drive through for one full tank of
2:13 pm
gas. it could never get any longer than that. and then of course the air traffic controllers, i don't want to underestimate that. that was really powerful as well. you know, as some of you may know, i think it was the air traffic controllers, correct me if i'm wrong on this, but i think they were the only union that supported us in the republican primary in 1980. i think they were the only union that supported us in the general election. but even with all of that goodwill, towards the administration, from the administration to them, you know, you can't strike against the american people, and ronald reagan gave them a firm edict without consideration of the favors they did for us and literally fired the air traffic controllers. that's really a powerful thing as well. but i want to focus on the taxes here, and you know, what you want to look at and i look at [inaudible] as being the first installment of a two installment policy. the next one was the 86 tax act. those two together just unleashed supply side economics on the economy. it proved that economics -- i
2:14 pm
mean supply side economics works. people respond to incentives. i was shocked at some of the details of the responses to incentives that occurred with the supply side economics and also with the tax cuts. to get the bill through the house and the senate, president reagan agreed to phase in the tax cuts. the tax cuts actually began in full on january 1st, 1983. it is amazing how tax cuts don't work until they take effect. we had the deep downturn in 81, 82. when the tax cuts took effect on literally one minute into 1983, bam, the boom hit, from january 1st, 1983 through june of 1984, an 18-month period, the u.s. economy grew by 12% in real terms. 12%. we grew an average annual rate of a little less than 8% per
2:15 pm
annum for a year and a half. it is amazing. you look at the set of policies. we had tax cuts. paul volcker deserves credit for the type of policies he put in in this administration. even though he was appointed by jimmy carter, he did the greatest job effort. you have sound money, tax cuts, free trade, and deregulation, and you will get the prosperity we had, and that prosperity was wonderful. i don't understand why walter heller who was the architect of the kennedy tax cuts or so he said why he would be against it when it was almost the exact same thing with ronald reagan, but he was. he said we would have hyperinflation. how does supplying more goods to the marketplace cause prices to rise? if you have a buffer crop in apples, the price of apples don't go up. it goes down. -- the price of apples don't go up. it goes down. it was a beautiful period. it was simple.
2:16 pm
as larry gatlin said, i'm going to quote here, nashville and tennessee are the lowest tax base in the nation, i want you to know i planned it that way, but larry gatlin says, it ain't rocket surgery. a poor person can't spend himself into wealth. you know, jack kennedy put it so beautifully, the best form of defense spending is always wasted whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need your military hardware and prowess, that is a clear sign that you did not spend enough. reagan understood all of these policies, put them all together and created the greatest prosperity ever. i'm so proud i was able to work with him. i just loved it. it was terrific, and now i want to give you the dean of all deans of the reagan period, my dear friend and a man i wish could be up there with me tomorrow, ed, but ed is the
2:17 pm
hero's hero. ed, the show is yours. >> great as usual, art. i want you to know how happy i am to be with you and my friends here today on this program. this was a very important day for the country, when the tax cuts were announced and the legislation [inaudible] in 1981. an important day for the presidency for ronald reagan as you have related. that was really the crux of getting things started and getting the country back again. there's one person who is not here today with us unfortunately and that's martin anderson. martin passed away a number of years ago, but he was very instrumental back in 79 and 80. he had been with ronald reagan during the campaign for the presidency of both 1976 and
2:18 pm
1980. and it was at that time as you pointed out our country was in deep trouble. we were the greatest economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s. and in the transition, ronald reagan asked martin anderson to come up with a strategy for how we could get the country back on track. so martin went to work. he definitely had your ideas in mind, art, when you illustrated supply side economy by i believe drawing a design on the back of a cocktail napkin. i think that says something significant of what your work was and how well you did it. because you were able to explain a fairly complex subject in a very very simple and very
2:19 pm
illustrative way. martin anderson came to the president with a four point strategy which he related to him in the transition, i believe it was the end of december, start of january, 1981. and there were four points, some of which you have already talked about today. one of course was the tax cut. the second was regulatory reform. the third was maintaining stable monetary policies. and the fourth was slowing the growth of federal spending. each of these is important, but the tax cut was absolutely significant because this is the one that mainly showed the american people how they individually and through their families would be able to benefit from the new policies of
2:20 pm
this administration. and so the tax cut was put into effect when ronald reagan signed the legislation on the 12th of august, 1981. [inaudible]. this was a day that i'm glad they were able to celebrate 48 years showing actually as you point out the conservative ideas and particularly conservative economic ideas work. i'm sure the panel will be speaking later on today will describe this in more detail. but the challenge was of course once the plan was enacted was to get it passed by the legislature and that's why this day itself was so important. but the challenge then after that was to make sure that these
2:21 pm
tax cuts could be continued. it was a big move in 1982 because as you point out, art, the whole program had not yet taken effect, and we still had major economic problems in 1982. many people talked about [inaudible] the tax cuts. i remember ronald reagan told those who were trying to do away with the tax cuts that he was going to stand firm and there was no way they would be able to change or modify or destroy this significant foundation for the economic recovery that then began. as you point out, art, that was the start when it took effect, that was the start of the longest period of peacetime economic growth in the history
2:22 pm
of the country. that's why it is appropriate that we commemorate that day when the legislation was signed. it is important actually that we remind people of the benefits that the country derived from that economic strategy, and it's important to rely on legislators today and the national leaders for the future, the tax cuts and low taxes is a keynote of a successful economic program and economic success for our nation. it's a pleasure to be with you all today. i've seen a lot of good friends who will be speaking later on and to commemorate what ronald reagan did and also to remember martin anderson who was instrumental with all of those who are here today in making this happen. thanks. i appreciate the privilege to be with all of you and to help you celebrate an important day. thank you.
2:23 pm
[applause] >> larry, i think you are up. the floor is yours, larry. >> you can pass those forward. anyway, thank you, it is wonderful to hear your voice. thank you for what you said. art laffer spoke out there. we just had them on on the tv show. in fact it is a repeat of the panel, except for judy and tony. everybody knows tony dolan who was a reagan speechwriter -- key speechwriter. excuse me. [laughter] >> some things never change. he also winds up bumping around the trump white house, if you can believe that. there are a few of us left who served in both of those places,
2:24 pm
but i insisted that he come here. i don't think he knows anything about the economy, but he has great stories to tell about other things. [laughter] >> my dear friend steve forbes, the head of forbes media, long time leader in supply side and politics and communications who is just a bedrock man of great great principles. my brother steve moore, similarly, we've been in the middle of just about every insurrection you can imagine here in washington and elsewhere. i think i see ann moore out there someplace. hello, ann. she's been married to steve all these years. she deserves a hand just for that alone. [laughter] >> and i'm sorry. i will get a good punching after tv show. judy shelton, great monetary expert, great friend of ours, advisors to both the reagan people and the trump people and
2:25 pm
many in between also is steadfast person of great principle. so i want to begin with one of the thoughts that steve forbes mentioned on our show a few moments ago, which i think is so very important, and that is the relationship between economic strength at home and national security military strength abroad. sometimes it's characterized as weakness at home, weakness abroad, but i think it's more properly characterized as strength at home and strength abroad. the one leads to the other. to some extent it is perhaps less understood or underrated as a factor, but steve, you mentioned it on our show as you always do, and i wanted you to talk a bit about that because america was on the defensive in the 1970s, maybe long before that, but certainly in the 70s. we forget the strength of soviet
2:26 pm
communism. we forget the fact that not only did the soviets have eastern europe and so forth, but they were infiltrating our own hemisphere not just in cuba, but also places throughout the south, littered throughout south america and that all changed during the reagan years, and why don't you take it from there because i think in some respects, in the grand sweep of history, that may be the most important impact of ronald reagan. >> that's right, not only his programs, the two big tax bills that art mentioned conquering the inflation that started off an extraordinary boom, we mentioned it on the show, between 1983 and 1990, the sheer growth, the real growth of the u.s. economy, the growth alone exceeded the entire size of the german economy, then the third largest in the world. we grew germany in seven years, an amazing achievement.
2:27 pm
silicon valley became a buy word for cutting edge high technology. the u.s. went from the malaise of the 1970s when it looked like that our best days were behind us, that we couldn't compete again, that we were going to fall behind, and we had to keep temperatures down at 55 during wintertime to a nation that was really on the stride in the world. the amazing thing after those tax cuts, 50 nations around the world imitated those cuts, so you had a global boom, but relating to what larry said, in the 1970s, especially in the demoralized aftermath of the vietnam war, after the hubris of the late 60s and by the way, the book on great society chronicles that terrible time in the late 60s, when we lost our way, but in the 70s, we faced the afternoon -- faced the aftermath
2:28 pm
of it, and as larry pointed out, central america, nicaragua fell and looked like other countries were going to go the soviet way, africa, angola and mozambique with cuban mercenaries they were falling and fell. europe itself, the soviets put in short range missiles to really destroy nato, which was an alliance that enabled us to win the cold war, but the whole battle of the missiles, nobody remembers it today, larry, but that was so important because the soviets figured if they had short-term missiles aimed at europe, the europeans would no longer trust the u.s. to defend them if there was a nuclear attack because we wouldn't risk the utter destruction of the united states. so it was key that we get short-term missile stationed in germany, which no surprise was fiercely resisted by the soviet union. they got opposition in germany and elsewhere, but thanks to the strength, the evident strength
2:29 pm
of the united states in early 80s became apparent we were on the march again, that we're a nation of innovation and confidence and growth that we had been in the 50s and 60s. that was back again. that enabled chancellor [inaudible] to believe the u.s. was going to be there and so the missiles got in, and the great soviet gamut to win the cold war ended. so a strong economy means a strong country. it doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, but the world wants a strong leader, a civilized leader, one that believes in human freedom so all the complaints you get from europeans and others about the u.s., they fear the u.s. not being strong in the world, and in asia, whoever would have thought the vietnamese would be begging us to have aircraft carriers visit as a counter to the pressure from china, and so we play that unique role.
2:30 pm
all you have to do, larry, is look at the 1930s when the u.s. was weak, racked by the great depression, and where we nearly lost civilization, the 1970s, when if these bad policies would have continued, we had soldiers on food stamps for crying out loud. we couldn't even keep our ships in repair, and so it looked like the u.s. was washed up, and suddenly overnight, confidence returns. by golly, it was a better, richer world. and that's what's so dangerous today, so dangerous today. we're making the same bloody mistakes again, and i use the word bloody advisedly, that if the u.s. is seen as weak, and by golly if biden has his way with those entitlements and everything else, weak dollar, we're going to have a troubled period again, and hopefully we can turn it around, but that's why this panel is so important and others like it to remind people it can be turned around.
2:31 pm
let's turn it around and not repeat the same mistakes again, because it is not just gdp. it is about the safety and morale of a free and civilized society. >> thank you, that's great. [applause] >> steve moore, one of the thoughts here is that when reagan started to negotiate, meet and negotiate with gorbachev, i mean, the issues were disarmament, missiles, but of course gorbachev wanted him to give up star wars in effect, you know, today by the way is a bastian of our defense by the way we keep it up. but steve, when those guys met, it just occurs to me and i think many others that gorbachev was facing a guy who along with this country had literally delivered
2:32 pm
the goods to the citizens. whereas in the soviet union, they couldn't deliver the goods. the system had in effect self-destructed as reagan himself predicted and it was happening in the mid 80s. by the time our recovery was off to a flying start, reagan in effect unleashed capitalism, unleashed free enterprise, took the cuffs off, lowered taxes, minimized regulations, deregulated oil which i recall dropped to 10 or 12 dollars a barrel at one point by the mid 80s. gorbachev could not match that because his economic system didn't work and ours did. so you and art have penned this op-ed that will be in the paper tomorrow, the journal about the growth rates and so forth. today, today, i think we're in danger of rehandcuffing free
2:33 pm
enterprise and capitalism. as dan clifton has noted in a recent piece, these are the first tax hikes on capital, right, the geese that lay the golden eggs, on capital in 50 years, and i find that to be foreboding, certainly moving in the wrong direction and will most certainly damage us in the eyes of the rest of the world. what do you think? >> for me or steve? >> for you. >> okay. >> you're not getting off. >> let me shout out a couple because there's so many great people in this room. i just wanted to say that the reagan tax cuts would not have happened without richard ron. richard you were a superstar. you were an economist at the chamber of commerce when the chamber of commerce was good. thank you for what you did. you were a driving force behind
2:34 pm
that. and then grover norquist, i don't know if you had the tax pledge then, but what reagan did certainly gave birth to that movement and held reagan from being succumbed into, you know, agreeing to tax increases, and so that was incredibly important and others, and by the way, judy, you should be the chairman of the federal reserve board because you are the top monetary [inaudible] in the country. >> by the way, i tried. really hard. [laughter] >> and so i wanted to mention two other people because this is a great day, a great day to remember what happened. the great robert bartley, bob bartley. i don't think it would have happened without -- for those of you who don't remember, he was the editorial page editor of the "wall street journal." i think about every day they had editorials explaining and teaching the american people why this was important. and jude wonesky was working for
2:35 pm
the editorial page at the time. did he come up with the supply side economics term? >> [inaudible]. >> i want to say one quick thing that i think we are in a danger zone right now because none of the lessons that we should have learned over the last 40 years seems to have been learned by the left, and that's troubling to me. one thing you said on the show today, larry, where you said it was a reagan -- revolution was a 30-year revolution. i would say it was a 40-year revolution. obviously trump followed a lot of those ideas from reagan as well. i'm going to give you all one statistic that's in our "wall street journal" op-ed tomorrow, but it's incredible when you think about this, that 40 years ago today, give or take 100 points or so, the dow jones industrial average was at 1,000, 1,000. today 40 years later, the dow is
2:36 pm
at 35 -- not 3500, 35,000. this is the greatest period of wealth creation in the history of civilization. we have never seen anything anywhere in the history of the world that comes close to what has happened in the united states. and it wasn't just the tax cuts. it was as steve forbes pointed out, it was the deregulation. it was the, you know, sound money policy clearly. it was the move, march towards free trade and limiting government. now we are seeing you know, biden, not just biden but the left in america has not learned any of the lessons from these things, and, you know, that troubles me because i do worry that if we start turning these dials back to where they were in the 70s, when we did have 60 and 70 percent tax rates. i mean elizabeth warren talks about this all the time, that's what we should go back to. larry, they want to reregulate the airlines and the railroads. i mean, come on, how stupid is that? i mean, if there's any success,
2:37 pm
it was deregulating the airlines and the energy markets and the railroads. they want to go back to the policies that we had. one of the reasons we put this whole thing together and by the way thank you to heritage for the great job in doing this and thank you for being here and braving covid to be here. i think it is really important that this lesson be taught in schools, at universities, what reagan did for our country and how if we keep these rates low, we could have another 40 years larry like the previous 40 years. i really believe that. we will be an unrivalled superpower. china will only catch us -- last point i will make. china is only going to catch us if we allow -- if we do it to ourselves, right? if we reverse our own policies because china will not whip us if we keep our tax rates low and let america succeed as it has for the last 40 years. >> judy shelton, we have talked
2:38 pm
a lot about the policy mix of low tax rates and a strong dollar or low tax rates and tight money. that's how mondale used to characterize it in his short hand. so we don't have that now. we sure don't have tight money now. and we're probably not going to have low tax rates, although we will see how that legislative argument plays out. but in your judgment, did reagan work well with volcker? what was called the laffer mondale hypothesis in play at that point, either consciously or not? >> let me also put my thanks for being with you all. i feel very grateful to be on this panel with my heroes. i didn't serve in the reagan administration, but my first job
2:39 pm
as a newly-minted doctoral person was to be a research assistant to martin anderson. >> wow. >> so i feel like i brought props with me today. my first project with martin was he had this pamphlet called an economic bill of rights. i want to go back and kind of integrate some of the things i have been hearing which have given such remarkable perspective as ed meese said, martin wrote the memorandum that laid out the four points. and in this pamphlet, he was reflecting on that. >> when was it written? >> 84. and so he had just left the white house having served as the chief domestic economic policy advisor. so he was saying what do we do next? and he decided i think to get reinvigorated at a think tank out at the hoover institution.
2:40 pm
but in here he said in the summer of 79, reagan's approach to resolving the economic malaise of the 70s was spelled out in that internal memorandum that became the basis for the policies of his 1980 campaign and the economic recovery program. there were the four basic parts. the first, control the rate of increase of government spending to reasonable prudent levels. we need that now. the second was to reduce personal income tax rates and to accelerate and simplify business depreciation schedules in an orderly systematic way, to remove the increasing disincentives to work, to save, to invest, and to produce. people respond to incentives. the third was to reform, reduce, and eliminate economic regulations, so as to encourage economic growth. that sounds a lot like the trump administration pro-growth agenda.
2:41 pm
the fourth was to establish a stable and sound monetary policy. that was the part that to me was visionary and radical in a sense, and you're right, larry, as you asked me, at the outset, did that work? here you had volcker who decided that he would try this experiment of targeting monetary aggregates and let the interest rate go wherever it had to go. at the same time, you had the pro-growth tax policies, and that was mondale's magic formula. and it did work. it worked tremendously. it was brutal. it hurt a lot of the economy. but [inaudible] the inflation was vital. we went from over 13% in 81 to what 3 or 4 two years -- two years later. it was astonishing.
2:42 pm
my other props jack kemp, the american idea, what a promoter he was. [applause] here's a guy who would sit on the bus going from one football game to the other reading john king the general theory and understanding it. [laughter] but then i remember -- and my thanks to jimmy who gave me some books from his dad's library, which i treasure, but jack said the monetary issue is anything but remote from people's experience. in my experience, honest, sound, stable money is a popular blue-collar bread and butter winning political issue, and we see how people are so distressed over this rising inflation. they definitely get the value of stable money, have a sound monetary platform so they can plan and invest and make good decisions dictated by free market mechanisms.
2:43 pm
another one, the perfect prop, bob bartley, the seven [inaudible] years. he's the one who can i say popularized in the best sense, helped everybody understand. for me, having studied international monetary systems, mondale was my personal guru in all of that, but i remember in his acceptance speech, in 99, for his nobel, here's what he said, and i think this sums it up. the 70s were a disaster, in terms of economic stability. but we learned a valuable lesson. the lesson was that inflation, budget deficits, big debts, and big government are all detrimental to public well being and that the cost of correcting them is so high that no democratic government wants to repeat the experience.
2:44 pm
i'm very afraid we might be about to, but he warned us. >> wow, that's amazing. >> yeah. so in sum on this one, it did work, and they did collaborate? question mark? >> i think that ronald reagan honored the independent judgment. it's true that volcker had come in under carter in august 79. he was there until august 87. but we had the 1981 goal commission, and i think that volcker understood that people were so concerned about the lax policies of his predecessor and arthur burns and whether there was some kind of acquiescence to what the white house might want, that president reagan was very respectful; but it turned out that what paul volcker thought he had to do to wrench out the inflation happened to be exactly
2:45 pm
in compliance with what mondale said we ought to be doing in order to have the pro-growth tax policies, expand economic output. >> uh-huh. and the combination of low tax rates and sound money, i mean, to me that's the most important lesson to be learned. so look, i was a young kid then. i did sit on one of the volcker meetings thanks to mr. meese, by the way, who would include me. reagan and volcker had something in common, gold. gold. i mean, volcker was the last guy -- volcker was defeated when nixon went through with what he went through in the early 70s and the volcker was the undersecretary of the treasury at that time. volcker did not want to delink the dollar from gold. he wanted to make some minor price adjustments to the gold link, but not to end it. i don't know about burns. burns i've heard both ways of
2:46 pm
this thing. i know volcker. i know him very well. i was once his executive assistant at the new york fed. i think reagan like those guys saw things similarly. the rest of reagan's senior staff didn't like volcker, tried to push him out and eventually succeeded in 1987. whether that was a mistake or not, i don't know. greenspan came in, thought he did a pretty good job, maybe, till the very end. i always thought those guys were in sympatico, i don't know. volcker took no prisoners. he's like reagan. reagan used to say leave the politics to me. he would always say that about a lot of debates. that was one of them. you do what tough -- you do what you have to do and i will take the political heat. i think that was fabulous in a lot of ways. tony has more reading to do on the economics side, but -- [laughter] but the benefit and the
2:47 pm
brilliance as a speechwriter and as a creative, intellectual, and ideas guy, what was reagan thinking? what was he thinking, especially in 81 and 82, tony dolan? >> i mean, i don't want to offend you but i will begin with some numbers that should appeal to you. >> really? >> we were facing 22% interest rates. we were facing 8% unemployment, back-to-back double digit inflation, two years in a row, the first time since world war i. we were also facing 18% increases in federal spending. ronald reagan came into office, said no, we're going to stop. o'neil said you're in the big leagues now. we will teach you a few lessons. he went on the air, and everything changed. ronald reagan -- sapphire came up with the perfect label for him and brand him, but also help the media assimilate. yes, that's right vague had
2:48 pm
video magic, televised trance he could put people in, the great communicator. they were quoting larry tip o'neil again when this bill came up. the reason they were doing it is because he said i have a 20 vote cushion on this. we're going to defeat it. reagan did what he had done prior with the economics speeches. by the way, marty anderson did the audit that was based on -- i'm so grateful to ed for bringing him up, but i must tell you, reagan wrote those speeches. they were his -- he had been talking about this forever, and it is the same thing -- he called up pete haniford and said pete, have you seen this tax cut bill? yeah. they did a script together. he insisted on it. no one thought reagan was going to run for president again at this time. so even then his advisors said governor, are you sure you want to be that far out on something
2:49 pm
like this? and he had to fight for it in the campaign, as we all know. [inaudible] he was a great guy as somebody said losing his mind watching him. these were things -- everyone, larry, every one of the [inaudible] told me over lunch where you and i used to commune as well, in the staff table, that ronald reagan knew economics as well as anyone we knew. in fact, it was said of him he knows our bag of tricks, got it down. >> uh-huh. >> i want to emphasize we sent two drafts in for this speech, one that changed everything. tip o'neil was laughing. all of washington was laughing. and mike said, you know, the president was very pleased with the drafts.
2:50 pm
i said mike, he ought to be. it was all his stuff. [laughter] for three months, he had been talking about this bill. and he'd been talking about it in formal situations and informal ones. a terrific supply side -- ben could handle any speech, but in particular, he was a supply side true believer. he did a draft that had a terrific description of what was going on, and again, part of the conservative speechwriter reagan white house ethos, we plagiarized reagan and then we get to take the credit for his speeches. but something i had worked on in the election eve speech when we blocked the half hour period of time, on all three networks. it was just the set-up. it was okay, folks, the breakthrough has to come now, and it is up to you.
2:51 pm
there was a critical moment. one of the congressman came in and they let me be there when -- remember, reagan got this through a democratic house and very reluctant republican senate, and one of the congressman said the democrats came up at the last minute came up with their own tax cut and this was going to finally do reagan in. one of the congressman said, you know, mr. president, i was up talking to a farmer the other day, and i explained to him our tax cut bill and how it was going to do just fine, and it was okay, and i went into all the involved discussions about it and so forth, and finally the farmer just looked at me and he said congressman are you for him or against him? he said mr. president i'm voting for you. he tells the story there in the speech. but think of what happened because ronald reagan had this vision of the economic world that he did, where did it come
2:52 pm
from? he believed that as calamitous as our world is, truth and goodness still has power. what he was saying really, he understood paradoxes. you understood you cut taxes to raise revenue. he understood that you confront a criminal regime in order to make it conciliatory. if you want i can tell you a story about the rehearsal, it was very funny, the back and forth he was doing with his tv director, but i will finish with this, he understood paradox ambiguity and mystery, the mystery of not the idea that the philosophers, kings, know better, no, it is the mysterious force, that democracy works better because people make a better corporate decision than the oligarchs and similarly a lot of people don't know each other making economic decisions and billions of transactions do way better than the government.
2:53 pm
so i have to tell you, that's the reason ronald reagan, the lead and supply side -- believed in supply side and believed that if you really stood up to the truth, it had power. why? because his mom had taught him the bible. he believed in the christian paradigm. he believed if you had a little trust, you could change the world, and that's what i believe. this was remarkable intellect as well as a remarkable communicator. >> and he actually did use numbers in his speech. >> he loved numbers. >> that's a lost art. a lot of these politicians today will tell you or their advisors will tell you oh, nobody listens to numbers. the eyes glaze over. it's not good. >> larry, listen to the 64 speech. >> he always used numbers. in fact he used on camera charts, graphs, on camera, which was very cool. >> do you want the story or not?
2:54 pm
>> sure, got to have it. [laughter] >> i'm not going to be able to stop you anyway. [laughter] >> but it is about the charts. i'm not kidding. >> go for the charts. >> by the way, [inaudible]. >> i'm your student, larry, get my title right next time. in any case, he's rehearsing. we have the script down. it was fine. he had gone through it once. and somebody, you know, white house aides, they always got to fix stuff, and i'm ready -- it's probably something like larry -- was it you, i can't remember? anyway. >> it was me. >> yeah i thought -- no, it wasn't. anyway, so he had a wonderful director mark good, and what reagan knew was live tv, anything can go wrong, talk about calamity, so you better do it right. and mark went up to him and said
2:55 pm
mr. president, we want you to go to the truck now once and then go back to the text and then back to the chart, but we only rehearsed it. you just pointed at the chart once. can you handle this? and the president just kind of looked at him and didn't say a thing, and i realized there was something going on here between director and the artist, and he said it again. mr. president, can you handle this? can you do this? and finally one more time, mark said, mr. president, can you do this? and i realized what was happening. he was giving reagan his chance to tell a story. so he pushed himself back and he said fellows, i made a film with wallace murray. i can handle anything. we all laughed hysterically, but only mark knew why we were laughing so hard. to my credit the next time i asked him, i said mr. president what did you mean by that? he said well, listen, there was a saying in hollywood never make
2:56 pm
a film -- do a scene with a little dog, a little kid or wallace, and he said it was my scene. i was the only one on camera. wallace was to my left, but i was the only one with any lines. he said by the end of that scene, do you realize i was -- wallace was the only thing you could see and i was off camera talking to the back end of the horse and it was supposed to be my scene. that's my point. he understood that -- and by the way, this is exactly what happened. they were always prepared, mark at one point had to crawl across the oval office and hold the pen up oh my marker is not working again because the lights had dried it out. but that was the point. ronald reagan had set in force -- >> he could handle anything. >> let me finish this one line. when he gave a speech, there were no theatrics. the great communicator let the
2:57 pm
words and the sentences and the ideas do the work. >> speak for themselves. steve forbes, the benefits of reagan's optimism, that's almost a lost art. there are few people who are optimists, who believe as bad as things may be, they can be turned around. as big as the soviet union was and powerful, it could be brought to its knees. as awful as the u.s. economy he inherited, it could all be changed in a year or two, and he was the quintessential optimist. how important was that? >> well, it was critical because people can be optimistic and depressed people, chamberlain was an optimist in early 1940 before the german offensive but didn't inspire people that the situation was well in hand. what made reagan's optimism believable was one, that he
2:58 pm
believed it, it wasn't just a show or just put a merry face on, but also a profound understanding of what made america unique. while times and circumstances change, free people will find a way to overcome the obstacles and move ahead because people come from the most unlikely backgrounds and do great things in commerce and elsewhere. so it was that profound faith, deeply read as it's come out here. this is not some guy that just read a line and then went on to the next thing. and people sensed that even if elites didn't. and so they believed yes, we can see through this thing. and also, what made the optimism enduring was that when he went through a very rough period, from 1981, when the bill was signed, the economy crashed into recession, took congressional elections, people thought the economy wouldn't do much in 1983, and he was going to be in
2:59 pm
jeopardy, his poll numbers went down i think about 35%. but people stuck with him, even though they may have disapproved because they figured there's something there. and that's why he rebounded so quickly. the economy rebounded quickly. but he was up in the 60s by the time 1984 rolled around, carried 49 out of 50 states, as art pointed out, would have been 56 out of 57 -- obama once thought there were 57 states. [laughter] >> but he would have done that. but the thing is it was grounded in an understanding that gave people confidence this had a real well spring like it did with churchill that as bad as things are, there's a well spring there that you can trust. that's the key word, trust. they could trust him. >> i often thought, often thought, and those are tough years. that's exactly right. we lost 25 seats in the house in november 82. the economy was in recession.
3:00 pm
we didn't get the roaring recovery in early 82 that don regan and all of us were hoping for, but i often thought as the tax debate came upon the white house, you had a faction of senior advisors who wanted to back off the tax cuts, and reagan refused. very important. i was a witness to it. but i'm just saying it occurred at the highest level, and also, with respect to his tough hard-line with the soviet union, there was really only one guy among the senior policy staff in the white house who believed a, you had to throw diplomatic shackles aside and be brutally tough with the soviet union, with respect to their flaws and their vulnerabilities and the u.s.'s, you know, new position
3:01 pm
of strength. and then b, it was really only one person among his senior policy people who truly believed, i mean, truly believed that the soviet union would and could be overturned and defeated, into the ash heap of history. that was reagan. he was the only senior policy guy, and i saw this. i watched it. :: him him if your tax cutter you would be living people not
3:02 pm
government planners and bearcats, most of his senior staff, not all that many of them wanted to change the tax policy because it was more than worshiping at the time the budget deficit didn't really care about growth or blue-collar workers reagan himself was a blue-collar background. they were afraid of politics reagan pushed it aside he would take the political wrath but he wanted to do the right thing. that's an extraordinary leadership. >> there's so much pressure to exceed to this giant tax increase in thank god he did not cancel, one of the things that congress wanted to do was cancel the last leg of the tax cut we
3:03 pm
should've gone the full thrust of the text become a i can agree with you more, they did pass the tax increase but thankfully much smaller. >> that is right. >> in the indexing, to then do what they did and 86 was an incredible published reagan comes in 50% to get us down to 20% you always talk about this 15 - 28 how great would that be. >> i was talking to milton freedman at the time and i thought he was gonna walk naked and because he was so excited he said i did this column for newsweek in the early 70s, he said reagan's rates are only three points higher than what i was trying to argue for.
3:04 pm
just emphasize what you said the economic miracle and what happened forears ago scenic onef that groundwork was laid in the air traffic control is union which had endorsed reagan during the campaign should resent upper-middle-class, not everybody but they went out on strike and reagan said don't doq it so they went out and he fired him, i always thought for domestic purposes and international purposes, that was
3:05 pm
a shot heard around the world. >> i thought that was fearless and unique and that is the definition of leadership you are so right when you mention optimism and having the integrity to fight for and carried out, that is so important that in the future from a monetary point of view, what we've been doing to put money in a bank account in making 0. how does that support the idea we sacrifice today because it's a financial seed quorum that is going to be invested productively and lead to higher standards of living and everyone benefits and you kind of
3:06 pm
destroyed that fate in the future with the monetary policy we have been having. what i loved about reagan in addition to a strong leadership what is the reliance on the private sector and his respect for the individual but it was radical in the sense that it was sophisticated it was his whole program in all four elements were international in scope, it seemed ambitious but even another book this was cochaired with jack hansen robert mindel in 1983 the scene andodestly put forward a monetary agenda for world growth but like thomas jefferson they thought the american idea was so wonderful and so blessed why not extend to the world. but then they had economic
3:07 pm
policies to make it work for america. after i had worked for martin he recommended me to the fellowship program at the hoover institution i took what i thought would be a very dry subject. as i started working on that and 85 and then i saw the impact of this wildly turning around the economy in the united states, we went from being the losers to having the right message and mechanism to turn it into a a growth machine, the impact, mr. popular, he was a person to recognize, i see that reagan by
3:08 pm
using our ability to address and the defense initiative is the maximum leverage in gorbachev was saying i don't want you to do research on it, but he knew the soviet union could never match that. my research ended up being a book that came out in january 89 the coming soviet crash so reagan was right he saw that country was going bankrupt and not just economically but morally as well. >> this is important i was on the plane back it was like the tax cuts, he said no time in newsweek in the whole world was about to make in the great peacemaker and he said no i'm going home to nancy and he was being diddled by the soviets and the only two people on the plane who were happy i don't know about reagan but we knew what had happened we knew.
3:09 pm
>> i think for different reasons. >> everybody wanted to treaty but let me tell you something he read it there and his eyes were filled with tears i could believe it. but i said you did with the american people have always wanted an american president to do, you stood up to the russians on the same courage you point out about the tax cuts at the critical moment i think the reason we talk about that because the happened. >> that's where i'm going, happened early and it was one of those moments they wrote about it i'm not going to lower tax rates away i said you think i'm not going to slim down the soviet union like i said, do you think were knocking to go ahead with our defense bill, watch me this patco thing comes in it was a wonderf-given blessing and he hit the bed and he fired them like that has never been done before.(5 no president has stood up to a
3:10 pm
labor union like that and then soviets were reacting, they went crazy. >> who is this guy. >> i might add in terms of inside the administration as the rank-and-file was a greatest thing it was like wow he did that, remember years later you called me when ron pulled out of the paris climate accord you called me that was the greatest moment he said he was going to do and he actually did it, contract that with what biden is doing, you can add this will give you that in that. i'm thinking saudi arabia to produce oil. >> he doesn't know that we have a lot of oil here away he does
3:11 pm
know. >> what are the most embarrassing. >> we do this all the time that's the way our phone calls go that's why it was so incredibly important. >> is it true that the speechwriters did not want to let reagan say klobuchar. on this wall. >> all be quick i promise. >> i heard a lot of versions. >> it was early i said mr. president you know it's early on in berlin i was wondering it was right at the end of the meeting and i said give any thought at all about what you might want to say in berlin and he did his ronald reagan imitating, yes, tear down
3:12 pm
the wall and that's how it happened, i will tell you everybody in the foreign policy committee tried to get that line out peter robinson did a brilliant draft we fought like hell for and we went through a lot of revisions and it came out a bunch of times and we got a back in. >> it was the best moment. >> there's an ugly memo about me and the nsc files saying we had five impassioned conversations, et cetera. the wonderful part reagan worked it over as he would and i was very much him but in the final analysis that was nature of ronald reagan everybody wanted out. i will tell you i wrote this in the wall street journal if anyone is interested for little words it tells the story of the morning of the speech and he was
3:13 pm
director of communication, tom said what i think he is, he said yes to pay any attention in the walls going to be there another 20 years and they took it and ultimately. >> these guys a different president we will draw a redline through that, if you cross the blood line it always gets cross now that's what are the reasons we lost respect for the institution reagan upheld his redline. >> christian. .ein.
3:14 pm
>> to come back where we were, all these decisions sent unbelievable messages to the rest of the world about american little bit of history.ce, just a ronald reagan was five times the president of the screen actors, big union and important union, how do you think that informs his actions, communications and political activities down the road. >> he learned what about leadership, you just don't do things on your own, he learned about the communist threat which soon became taboo it was anti-communist, but he learned that and learn how invidious it was and he learned that he made
3:15 pm
decisions, he did make decisions that he felt his life might be at stake, the forces against him. he was a new dealer, democrat, union guy but he never forgot he people, not some other political cause and fortunately that was reflected in much of the lieberman movement george and the others wanted more and wanted to organize and that sort of thing but there also very patriotic unlike the left today. that has been lost. >> he left the cio and that was the end of that but reagan while he was a big thinker i want to remind you he's also very practical to share the story even though the relevant in the
3:16 pm
desert on the table, eat it first because they always ask you to speak when people are having the desert and they never save it, eat it first. >> another thing he said what have you learned, never sit down at the table unless you're willing to get back up. >> he was five terms president, he did one thing that had never been done before and i'm pretty sure nonsense, he called a strike against the studio he did in college too. he did that that's only strike the ever had and in those days hollywood was a very close dark place you had four or five of these moguls around the place reagan himself and his future career was very much up for grabs he was already moving away and they called a strike, in the
3:17 pm
strike he got a lot of concessions not only for actors but for the screenwriters and the people behind the camera whose pensions were at stake in work rules were at stake and he just did that it's like patco way before there was a patco and i want to also ask anyone to tackle this, he was a ge he learned about handling unions from the other side, he learned how to be a very tough messenger of free enterprise and free markets he went to all these factories all around the country, who is it. >> there is a fabulous book and i'll never remember the author and way too old about this experience taught reagan and sound money helps a blue-collar worker which is something that
3:18 pm
jack taught all of us, reagan learned a lot of that stuff we talk about how the gop has becoming workers party and not a lot of trump's messaging and so forth reagan was right there he was doing his best and he learned that during the ge days because i said in those days he had a hundred factories around the country is not like today he would talk with the blue-collar and argue back and forth in reagan was a democrat and as he said he was a new deal democrat before he became republican and before he became a republican. i was a democrat before i became a republican and i still to this day the best republicans are former democrats. >> can we just mention that the battle against the soviet unions
3:19 pm
and all of its attacks on the human pool and materially was facilitated because of reagan's ability to work with the union movement with labor and labor÷u solidarity, and with pope john but lane kirkland was extremely helpful but the fact that reagan had such credibility that workers knew he was on their side and he uerstood how american principles really helped give opportunity to look little guy and what a message that would be. >> kirkland i got him to know what bit i was staffing for the socialist community, kirkland was anti-communist the old union are anti-communist
3:20 pm
and that game has changed the left is so awful that hate america in those days the union guys loved america they just wanted to stand up for their members and they do not collect dues in order to provide critical race theory in junior high school, they love this country and they didn't go around talking about systemic racism in america is always wrong so it's a very big difference. >> by the way in terms of ge and how many slaves great society were great writings on reagan's education, again the humor when he became a ge spokesman they turned his house into a laboratory of electricity, everything was electrified, he said i drew the line with they wanted to do chairs.
3:21 pm
[laughter] is that in your book? >> i want -- i can't go on forever but i want to make a point what we have now with the bidens the biden administration is an attempt to overturn, overthrow and reverse every single one of the principles we have been talking about this evening. i mean every single one whether it's taxes or regulations or free enterprise or patriotism or love of america as steve moore said the most pathetic thing in the long line of empathetic things i've seen in the last few months which is killing bidens poles because it can people away smarter than folks think this is pleading with saudi arabia to
3:22 pm
produce more oil, it's utterly pathetic here we have the greatest oil and gas business on the planet that was completely unlocked and unleashed by president trump where they had discovered new technology of tracking horizontal drilling and the natural gas revolution which was brought down our emissions by 25% since 2005 were five years ahead of the climate record and then at no government assistance there was no government planning it was a bunch of guys who put will technology to work which is the brilliance of the private sector but i want to say we really have to give every intellectual activism, communications, writing, money, whatever it takes to defeat the reconciliation bill that will come up not immediately but in a couple months because embodied in this bill using as a vehicle to transform america to
3:23 pm
transform its values, its culture, its history and its economy. they have no interest in economic growth, they know damn well that you want tax away into prosperity they know damn well that the inflation is rising because of too much spending and the fed is monetizing and that will be the big risk, he is already put on jay powell ted yesterday he said that he said the do it when they think it's appropriate this is a monetary equivalent is sending kamala harris to the southern border on immigration. i just want to make a personal plea, so important a great place there is nothing more important in defeating reconciliation. >> and the way our economy is at stake in every great principal were talking about from optimism
3:24 pm
to taxes to money to free enterprise to actually upholding promises to abiding by red lines in the sand will be defeated by the bidens they are rather brash about it and i don't care who's in charge whether it's aoc or bernie sanders or nancy pelosi were my suspicion, joe biden i let my panelist get one word on whatever topic they want the stakes are incredibly high. >> the clock is ticking behind his back i referred to larry the golden hearted he is a wonderful warm that the dark secret but i
3:25 pm
think the point i would make is reagan was the author of his own success, he was a troublemaker, he embraced controversy, he knew that's how you move the ball. >> reagan understood america in a way that few presidents have, lincoln did and others, nobody realizes it but reagan did that's what he was successful and he had six to eight of this and setbacks that led to his triumph even when he had the setbacks, he believed in the uniqueness of this country and sadly we have an establishment today unfortunately culture and
3:26 pm
politics and elsewhere that has the exact opposite view that this country is a disgrace to humanity. that's what we are fighting the battle for the soul of america, let's not forget it. you mentioned another tv show i worked in late 1987 under jim miller, remember jim miller we tried to privatize amtrak, they give you $50 billion they give a better transportation that we have today we prioritize amtrak. i am very proud of that that i worked for reagan and i think i
3:27 pm
tell my kids you work for ronald reagan, that is so cool but his stature keeps going up, did you notice that over time reagan stature keeps going up i went up to south dakota three weeks ago, there is room we put ronald reagan on that. >> shelton last word? >> i think he proved you really can change the world, you can change the destiny of the world for the good, for me the 80s started with the privilege of getting to hear about the reagan program from mark anderson and the people who created it, but then seen that the consequences
3:28 pm
of that just opposed against my study of the internal monetary economic system of the soviet union who of course still has the capacity for thermal nuclear exchange to destroy everything, what you saw was a combination of vision and fortitude and it was able to bring down the nation i remember when i see john sitting there, i don't know if he remembers but he once came to visit at her home and you know what you brought us a little housewarming gift a piece of the berlin wall. >> i wonder what it's worth now. >> i am keeping it. >> it just shows ideas are powerful for good or ill and if you combine that with the
3:29 pm
leadership in the integrity and the principles to see it through it is extremely powerful. >> get c-span on the go watch today's biggest political events live or on-demand anytime anywhere on our new mobile video act c-span now accepts top highlights listen to c-span radio or new podcast for free download c-span out today. >> in the past 30 years eric larson has written eight books, six of those landed on the new york times nonfiction bestseller list some of mr. larson's best-known books include splendid in the bile published in february of 2020, isaac storm released in 1999, deadweight the sinking of the lusitania, 2015 and probably his best-known work
3:30 pm
double in the white city hit the bookstores in 2003 with his most recent work air clarkston makes a transfer to ghost story fiction the title no one goes alone is available on audio only. >> eric larson on this week's episode of book note plus you can listen to it in our podcast that a new c-span now app. >> i'm excited to be here live from the flags and founding documents, those of you that do not know me i am the exhibition of the american revolution i've been on staff since 2016 and i served as one of the leaders to a flags and founding documents of 1776, an exhibit that brings together historic flags and documents from private collections and tells the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on