NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Much Credit For Economy Is Owed Bush?

March 9, 1998

Former President George Bush's Treasury Secretary, Nicholas Brady, contends Bush should be given more credit for today's rosy economy -- saying the delayed effect of Bush's policies is largely responsible for current prosperity.

While giving credit to President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and his pursuit of deregulation, Brady cites Bush victories in a number of areas: cleaning up the savings and loan debacle, handling the Third World debt problem, attacking the budget deficit and reducing interest rates.

  • Brady says Bush "had to accept a nonnegotiable precondition from the Democrats" which prompted the infamous tax increases in the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
  • He credits Bush with changing "the fundamental behavior of politicians regarding the deficit" -- noting that afterward "discretionary spending was absolutely flat and Congress did not create a single new entitlement."
  • Brady reports Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed to cut interest rates if Bush could achieve deficit reduction -- a promise which was honored in 1992.
  • The former Treasury Secretary also cites the dissolution of the Soviet Union and military downsizing as factors in today's prosperity.

"In retrospect," he writes, "our greatest failure was in not adequately explaining to the American people how these common-sense actions tied together as a policy. The recession that preceded the 1992 election made the explanation doubly difficult."

Source: Nicholas F. Brady (Darby Overseas Investments Ltd.), "George Bush Was Right," Wall Street Journal, March 9, 1998.


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