The rise of the Corporate Special Interest System

America entered the 70s with a clear legacy of helping the poor. However, Congress enacted several changes in the mid-70s that allowed an explosion of corporate lobbyists to influence government. In an election system where the best (but not perfect) predictor of victory is the amount of money spent, it is crucial for politicians to curry the favor of lobbyists to win their donations. By 1980, corporate special interests dominated both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress, and paved the way for the pro-business, anti-labor legislation of the Reagan Revolution. (For further analysis, click on More.)

The economic slowdown of the 70s

The U.S. emerged from World War II with a booming economy. In 1973, however, America's tremendous growth inexplicably slowed. Growth rates have remained low from 1973 to this day -- despite the so-called "Seven Fat Years" of the Reagan era. America's decelerated standard of living has resulted in political pressure on leaders to restore growth. Mainstream economists say the problem of increasing productivity is deep and poorly understood. This, however, has not prevented many snake oil salesmen from both parties from claiming to know the secret to restoring growth, and getting elected based on those unsound promises. (More)

The Rise of Supply-Side Economics

Supply-side advisors to Ronald Reagan promised to restore economic growth by cutting taxes. The statistics below will examine the success of this policy, but for now it is interesting to note who the supply-siders were. Contrary to public perception, they were not drawn from any of the nation's thousands of mainstream conservative economists. Rather, they were a half-dozen journalists, congressional staffers, and crank scholars isolated from mainstream academia. Of the 18,000 economists in the multi-partisan American Economic Association in the early 80s, only 12 were supply-siders. But they had a politically potent message to sell -- cut taxes -- and they won the confidence of Ronald Reagan. (More)

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