President John F. Kennedy, Conservative Cold Warrior, and Conservative Tax Cutter:

Manhattan Institute senior fellow, director of the Institute’s Center for the American University, and president and trustee of the William E. Simon Foundation

Manhattan Institute senior fellow, director of the Institute’s Center for the American University, and president and trustee of the William E. Simon Foundation

Unlike Obama, “President Kennedy was not only a conservative cold warrior but also a fiscal conservative and a tax cutter. He favored efficiency in government and aimed to cut wasteful spending. He came to office pledging to balance the federal budget over the life of the business cycle. His top domestic priority in 1963 was a general reduction in personal and corporate income taxes to spur consumer spending and to promote faster economic growth. He proposed to cut the top marginal tax rate from 91 to 65 percent and the lowest rate from 20 to 14 percent, and also to reduce long-term capital gains taxes from 25 to 19.5 percent. He pushed this proposal against the opposition of liberals like John Kenneth Galbraith and Senator Albert Gore Sr. who called for more government spending to stimulate growth. A version of JFK’s proposal was passed into law in 1964, and the payoff came in the mid-1960s, when the U.S. economy grew at average rates of more than 6 percent per year. Many of Kennedy’s central ideas, as Stoll points out, were later picked up by Ronald Reagan and other conservatives but generally abandoned by the liberal Democrats who came along in the 1970s and 1980s. This was true of Kennedy’s principle of “peace through strength,” his belief that the Cold War might eventually be won through a policy of confrontation, and his conviction that tax cuts rather than government spending are the best means to promote economic growth. Kennedy was also optimistic about America’s future, an outlook he shared with President Reagan though not with some of his dour successors in the Democratic Party like Jimmy Carter.” – Shattered Consensus, Encounter Books, New York, London, Copyright © 2015 by James Piereson, Page 255.

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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