(White House Chief of Staff and later Treasury Secretary James Baker with "friend" - coincidence? We think nope.)
Smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, stratagems and feints - all those characterizations to sum up the Reagan Economics plan. In this interview, part of the CBS News Face The Nation series from August 15, 1982, White House Chief of Staff, later appointed Treasury Secretary James Baker is asked point blank about the wildly varying opinions on the economic state and on the deficit.
George Herman (CBS News): “When do you personally think the deficit may be below $100 billion?”.
James Baker: “Well George, the official figure is of course is what I gave you and I recognize there are differences of opinion with respect to that. I think the point is that . .is that these ballooning deficits that we see are the reason why it is very important that the Congress implement the budget resolution that’s before it and it’s very . . .this is the reason it’s very important that we have a tax bill and that tax bill pass the Congress. Now, it’s really not important when I personally think the deficit might be below $100 billion. In the first place, I’m not an economist, and I really don’t have any independent view of that. The important thing, I think is that we need to constantly keep our eye on the fact that deficits are a major problem in this country. And that the ever expanding size of these deficits keeps interests rates up. And the fact that interest rates are remaining too high is what prevents the recovery from taking place. So it’s very important, we think, that as an administration that we . .that we do some responsible surgery, if you will, on these deficits”.
I guess having knowledge of economics wasn't a prerequisite for being appointed Treasury Secretary in 1985, at least not in the Reagan White House. I think its' safe to say the world o' crap we're in right now didn't necessarily start on January 2001.
But memories tend to be selective and short.
That's why we're here.