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Jude Thaddeus Wanniski June 17, — August 29, was an American journalist , conservative commentator, and political economist. Wanniski was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania , the son of Constance, who worked at an accounting firm, and Michael Wanniski, an itinerant butcher.
After college, Wanniski worked as a reporter and columnist in Alaska. In , Wanniski moved to Washington, D. He left after being discovered at a New Jersey train station distributing leaflets supporting a Republican senatorial candidate, an act considered an ethics violation.
In Wanniski started Polyconomics, an economics forecasting firm, where he and his analysts advised corporations, investment banks and others.
He also began directly advising politicians on economic policy, first candidate Ronald Reagan and later presidential hopefuls Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes. His formal role as a Reagan adviser ended after an interview he gave to the Village Voice was published under the headline "The Battle for Reagan's Mind.
It may have been the single most important political event I have witnessed in my life. What made the event so important was that when the weekend began, Farrakhan was the spiritual leader of , members of the Nation of Islam and clearly the most influential of 33 million African- Americans.
At its conclusion, Farrakhan stands a good chance at uniting 1. Polyconomics as a corporation ceased operations on June 30, , ten months after Wanniski's death, but the name a combination of "politics" and "economics" lives on at The Polyconomics Institute, where one can find the Wanniski's collected works for Polyconomics, as well as correspondence with economic policy makers, and lectures.
Wanniski consistently advocated the reduction of trade barriers, the elimination of capital gains taxes, and a return to the gold standard. Wanniski was instrumental in popularizing the ideas of lower tax rates embodied in the " Laffer Curve " and was present in when Arthur Laffer drew the curve on the famous napkin for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Laffer's postulate was that the tax rate that maximizes revenue was at a much lower level than previously believed, so low that current tax rates were above the level for revenue to be maximized.
Many economists are skeptical that it was then true, in practice. The first "Santa Claus" of the theory title refers to the Democrats who promise programs to help the disadvantaged. The "Two Santa Claus Theory" recommends that the Republicans must assume the role of a second Santa Claus by not arguing to cut spending but offering the option of cutting taxes.
According to Wanniski, the theory is simple. In , he wrote that the Two-Santa Claus Theory suggests that "the Republicans should concentrate on tax-rate reduction. As they succeed in expanding incentives to produce, they will move the economy back to full employment and thereby reduce social pressures for public spending.
Just as an increase in Government spending inevitably means taxes must be raised, a cut in tax rates—by expanding the private sector—will diminish the relative size of the public sector.
Either one would lose them elections. Wanniski's book, The Way The World Works , documented his theory that the US Senate 's floor votes on the Smoot—Hawley tariff legislation coincided day to day with the Wall Street stock market Crash of ,  and that the Great Depression was the result of the Smoot-Hawley tariff, rather than any failure of classical economics.
Wanniski is also notable for his journalism on the alleged weapons of mass destruction WMD in Iraq. He became a somewhat controversial figure in the conservative movement at the beginning of , when he vocally opposed the impending US war with Iraq. On October 27, , he publicly denounced George W. Bush , saying, "Mr. Bush has become an imperialist —one whose decisions as commander-in-chief have made the world a more dangerous place.
Wanniski has been credited with coining the term supply-side economics to distinguish it against the more dominant "demand-side" Keynesian and monetarist theories. The rising GOP star Jack Kemp became a supply-side economics advocate due to Wanniski's tutelage, and would work to put his proposals into legislative practice. The Way the World Works was named one of the most influential books of the 20th century by National Review magazine. Novak said, in the introduction to the 20th anniversary edition of the book, that it was one of two books that "shaped [Novak's] mature philosophy of politics and government.
Starting in , Wanniski edited an annual "Media Guide" in which he rated pundits on a four-star scale. Some conservatives, such as George F. Will and Norman Podhoretz , received only a single star.
In , Wanniski attempted to foster dialogue between Louis Farrakhan and those who had labeled him anti-Semitic. The extensive interview was never published in either publication, and Wanniski posted it on his website in the context of a memo to Senator Joseph Lieberman. Wanniski died of a heart attack on August 29, , in Morristown, New Jersey , while working at his desk. At the time of his death, Wanniski was at the low point of his political influence, according to longtime friend Robert Novak.
He spoke of having many Wall Street clients, although he complained that some had left due to his politics. He posted personal commentaries several times a week on his personal website, on topics ranging from international politics and trade policy to reviews of films.
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The Way the World Works