Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ties to reality

From New York Times columnist David Brooks, venturing into a sociological/methodological analysis of what ails the Republican party --

This is also a moment for sociology. Reaganism was very economic, built around tax policies, enterprise zones and the conception of the human being as a rational, utility-driven individual. The Adam Smith necktie was the emblem of that movement.

Here's the 1982 New York Times article that (depending on your point of view) identified/ validated/ discredited the Adam Smith tie trend. As with much else about today's interpretations of events 40 years ago, once you follow the trails, things get fuzzy. Consider the conclusion of the article --

Norman B. Ture, who has just resigned as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Tax and Economic Policy and who was the chief architect of last year's tax cut, reported that most everyone in the Treasury hierarchy owned Adam Smith ties and wore them often. He said his one criticism of Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan was that ''he doesn't wear his Adam Smith tie often enough.''

Norman Ture resigned from the Treasury because the supply-side tax cut of 1981 (the only one that the likes of Cruz and Rubio remember) was partially undone in 1982 by "the biggest tax increase in history" -- a reaction to the huge deficits that were forecast as a result of the earlier cuts. These tax increases went into effect despite the country still being in recession, and yet were followed by what is now hailed as Reagan's tax cutting boom. Maybe some of those ties were knotted too tightly.

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