Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett

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Bruce Bartlett is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 who turned to writing about supply-side economics
Supply-side economics
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing...

. He was a domestic policy
Domestic policy
Domestic policy, also known as public policy, presents decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to all issues and activity within the country....

 adviser to President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and was a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush.

Early life

Bartlett was educated at Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

, 1973) and Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

, 1976). He originally studied American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 diplomatic history
Diplomatic history
Diplomatic history deals with the history of international relations between states. Diplomatic history can be different from international relations in that the former can concern itself with the foreign policy of one state while the latter deals with relations between two or more states...

 under Lloyd Gardner
Lloyd Gardner
Lloyd C. Gardner is a diplomatic historian. He is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University, where he has taught since 1963. A specialist in 20th century foreign policy, Gardner has held several national fellowships, including two Fulbright Professorships in England and...

 at Rutgers and Jules Davids
Jules Davids
Jules Davids was a professor of diplomatic history at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University until his retirement in 1986...

 at Georgetown. He did much work on the origins of the Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 attack, doing a master's thesis on the topic at Georgetown, the substance of which was later published as "Coverup: The Politics of Pearl Harbor, 1941-1946". He was closely advised by Percy Greaves, who had been Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

A counsel or a counselor gives advice, more particularly in legal matters.-U.K. and Ireland:The legal system in England uses the term counsel as an approximate synonym for a barrister-at-law, and may apply it to mean either a single person who pleads a cause, or collectively, the body of barristers...

 to the congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack in 1946.

Political career

In 1976, Bartlett changed careers, going to work for U.S. Congressman Ron Paul
Ron Paul
Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul is an American physician, author and United States Congressman who is seeking to be the Republican Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Paul represents Texas's 14th congressional district, which covers an area south and southwest of Houston that includes...

Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

). Bartlett spent much of his time working with the House Banking Committee, of which Paul was a member, which involved Bartlett in economic issues. Paul was defeated for reelection in November, 1976.

In January 1977, Bartlett went to work for U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp
Jack Kemp
Jack French Kemp was an American politician and a collegiate and professional football player. A Republican, he served as Housing Secretary in the administration of President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1993, having previously served nine terms as a congressman for Western New York's 31st...

Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

-New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

) as staff economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

. Bartlett spent much of his time on tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 issues, helping to draft the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which ultimately formed the basis of Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut. Bartlett's book, "Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action" appeared in 1981 (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House Publishers). He also co-edited the book The Supply-Side Solution (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1983).

In 1978, Bartlett went to work for Perry Duryea
Perry Duryea
Perry Belmont Duryea, Jr. was an American politician.-Life:His father ran a wholesale seafood business, Perry B. Duryea and Son, Inc., in Montauk...

, who was the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 candidate for governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

. In November 1978, Duryea was defeated and Bartlett returned to Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, where he joined the staff of newly elected Senator Roger Jepsen
Roger Jepsen
Roger William Jepsen is an American politician from the state of Iowa. A Republican, he served in the United States Senate.-Biography :...

Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...


In 1981, Jepsen became Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and Bartlett became deputy director of the committee staff. In 1983, Jepsen became chairman and Bartlett became executive director of the JEC. During this period, the committee was very active in promoting Ronald Reagan's economic policies.

In late 1984, Bartlett became vice president of Polyconomics, a New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

-based consulting company
A consultant is a professional who provides professional or expert advice in a particular area such as management, accountancy, the environment, entertainment, technology, law , human resources, marketing, emergency management, food production, medicine, finance, life management, economics, public...

 founded by Jude Wanniski
Jude Wanniski
Jude Thaddeus Wanniski was an American journalist, conservative commentator, and political economist.- Early life and education :...

, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, that advised Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 clients on economic and investment policy. Bartlett left in 1985 to become a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

 in Washington, where he specialized in tax policy
Tax policy
Tax policy is the government's approach to taxation, both from the practical and normative side of the question.-Philosophy:Policymakers debate the nature of the tax structure they plan to implement and how they might affect individuals and businesses .The reason for such foitution effect]],...

 and was especially involved in the debate around the Tax Reform Act of 1986
Tax Reform Act of 1986
The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences...


In 1987, Bartlett became a senior policy analyst in the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 Office of Policy Development, then headed by Gary Bauer
Gary Bauer
Gary Lee Bauer is an American politician notable for his ties to several evangelical Christian groups and campaigns.-Biography:...

. In 1988, Bartlett left to become deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, where he served until the end of the administration of George H.W. Bush. He worked briefly at the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 in 1993.

From 1993 to 2005, Bartlett was affiliated with the National Center for Policy Analysis
National Center for Policy Analysis
The National Center for Policy Analysis is a non-profit American conservative think tank whose goals are to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control...

, a free-market think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 based in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

. The NCPA fired him in 2005 for his outspoken criticism of President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....


Since 1995, he has written a newspaper column for Creators Syndicate
Creators Syndicate
Creators Syndicate is an independent distributor of comic strips and syndicated columns for daily newspapers. It was founded in 1987 by Richard S. Newcombe, and is based in Los Angeles. Creators was one of the first syndicates to allow its clients to maintain creative control of their material...

, based in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, and written extensively for many newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

 magazine, and Commentary
Commentary (magazine)
Commentary is a monthly American magazine on politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues. It was founded by the American Jewish Committee in 1945. By 1960 its editor was Norman Podhoretz, a liberal at the time who moved sharply to the right in the 1970s and 1980s becoming a strong voice for the...

 magazine. He currently blogs at Capital Gains and Games.

In 2006, he published Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (ISBN 0-385-51827-7), which is critical of the Bush Administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

's economic policies as departing from traditional conservative principles. He compared the second Bush to Richard M. Nixon as "two superficially conservative presidents who enacted liberal programs to buy votes for reelection."

In an August 2007 The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

op-ed, Bartlett criticized the FairTax
The FairTax is a tax reform proposal for the federal government of the United States that would replace all federal taxes on personal and corporate income with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act would apply a tax once at the point of purchase on all new goods...

 proposal as misleading and unlikely to simplify taxpaying. Bartlett was especially critical of what he states are FairTax's accounting tricks in rate calculation and proponent claims that "real investment spending would rise 76%" if their plan were adopted. A sponsor of the plan, Representative John Linder
John Linder
John Elmer Linder is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1993 until 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party.Linder announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of the 111th Congress....

 acknowledged Bartlett's point that the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 had proposed a national sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

, but said that the FairTax movement was independent of the Church of Scientology and Bartlett had confused them with the Scientology-affiliated Citizens for an Alternative Tax System
Citizens for an Alternative Tax System
Citizens for an Alternative Tax System is a national tax reform public interest group in the United States. Their Las Vegas chapter proposes, "...that Congress should eliminate the IRS and all income taxes, corporate and personal; estate, gift and inheritance taxes, plus many excise taxes;...

. Other sponsors of the plan were critical of Bartlett's article claiming he used "red herrings
Red herring (plot device)
Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance...

" and provided false information on the plan and research. In September 2007, Bartlett wrote an article for The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

, where he continued his criticism of the FairTax, including his claim that the FairTax/national sales tax has its origins with the Church of Scientology. Bartlett restated information about the bill ("prebate" distribution method, i.e., rebate in advance) and what is included in the rate studies (prebate and government) that the plan's proponents have disputed and claim are false.

In August 2009, Bartlett wrote a piece for the Daily Beast in which he attributed the recession of 2009 to George Bush and Republicans, whose policies he claimed resulted in an inferior record of economic performance to those of President Clinton. In the same editorial, Bartlett wrote that instead of enacting meaningful healthcare reform, President Bush pushed through a costly Medicare drug plan by personally exerting pressure on reluctant conservatives to vote for the program. Bartlett claimed that because reforming Medicare is an important part of getting health costs under control generally, Bush could have used the opportunity to develop a comprehensive health-reform plan and that "[b]y not doing so, he left his party with nothing to offer as an alternative to the Obama plan." Bartlett concluded:
In Bartlett's latest book, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, he embraces Keynesian ideas, stating that while supply-side economics was appropriate for the 1970s and 1980s, supply side arguments do not fit contemporary conditions.

During an interview on CNN on August 19, 2011 Bartlett stated that presidential candidate Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

 "is an idiot, and I don't think anybody would disagree with that." The comment was in reference to Perry's earlier assertion that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke
Ben Shalom Bernanke is an American economist, and the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States. During his tenure as Chairman, Bernanke has overseen the response of the Federal Reserve to late-2000s financial crisis....

's actions would be "almost treasonous" if the Fed were to print more money before the election to stimulate the econonmy.

Personal life

Bartlett lives in Great Falls, Virginia
Great Falls, Virginia
Great Falls is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 15,427 at the 2010 census.Although primarily a bedroom community for Washington, D.C., one major attraction is Great Falls Park which overlooks the Great Falls of the Potomac River, for which...

. He is a member of the American Economic Association
American Economic Association
The American Economic Association, or AEA, is a learned society in the field of economics, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. It publishes one of the most prestigious academic journals in economics: the American Economic Review...

 and the Committee for Monetary Research and Education.


  • Bruce R. Bartlett, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan is an international academic and trade publishing company, headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom and with offices in New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Delhi, Johannesburg. It was created in 2000 when St...

     (October 13, 2009) ISBN 978-0230615878
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past, Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan is an international academic and trade publishing company, headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom and with offices in New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Delhi, Johannesburg. It was created in 2000 when St...

     (January 8, 2008) ISBN 978-0230600621, Palgrave Macmillan (January 6, 2009) ISBN 978-0230610996
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Doubleday (February 21, 2006) ISBN 978-0385518277
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Reagonomics, Arlington House (1981) ISBN 978-0870005053, Random House Value Publishing (March 24, 1982) ISBN 978-0517548172
  • Bruce R. Bartlett, Cover-Up: The Politics of Pearl Harbor, 1941-1946, Arlington House Productions (1978) ISBN 978-0870004230
  • The Keynesian Revolution Revisited, Committee for Monetary Research and Education, 1977.
  • (With Timothy Roth) The Supply Side Solution, Chatham House, 1983.
  • The Federal Debt: On-Budget, Off-Budget, and Contingent Liabilities: A Staff Study, U.S. G.P.O., 1983.
  • Contributor to
    • The First Year: A Mandate for Leadership Report, Heritage Foundation, 1982.
    • Supply Side Economics, Aletheia Books, 1982.
    • Agenda '83: A Mandate for Leadership Report, Heritage Foundation, 1983.
    • The Industrial Policy Debate, Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1984.
    • Beyond the Status Quo, Cato Institute, 1985.
  • Contributor to magazines, including National Review
    National Review
    National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

    , Human Events
    Human Events
    Human Events is a weekly American conservative magazine. It takes its name from the first sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence...

    , Conservative Digest , and Modern Age
    Modern Age
    Modern Age is an American conservative academic quarterly journal, founded in 1957 by Russell Kirk in close collaboration with Henry Regnery...

    , and to newspaper
    A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

    s. Contributing editor of Libertarian Review
    Libertarian Review
    Libertarian Review was a libertarian magazine published until 1981. It had been established by Robert Kephart in 1972 as a book-review magazine, initially titled SIL Book Review , then Books for Libertarians, and was renamed with the October, 1974 issue...


External links

  • Bruce Bartlett's blog on Capital Gains and Games
  • Bruce Bartlett's column in Forbes
    Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

  • Bruce Bartlett in The Arena at Politico
    Politico (newspaper)
    The Politico is an American political journalism organization based in Arlington, Virginia, that distributes its content via television, the Internet, newspaper, and radio. Its coverage of Washington, D.C., includes the U.S. Congress, lobbying, media and the Presidency...

    , bio and contributions
  • "How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome", Cato Journal
    Cato Journal
    The Cato Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Washington, D.C.-based, libertarian think-tank, the Cato Institute, and features articles discussing politics and economy.According to the Cato Institute website, the journal is a...

    , Fall 1994
  • "Without a Doubt", New York Times, October 17, 2004
  • Bruce Bartlett Fired After Writing Anti-Bush Book, Outside the Beltway, October, 2005
  • "An Outspoken Conservative Loses His Place At The Table", New York Times, February 13, 2006
  • "Right Cross", Dallas Observer
    Dallas Observer
    The Dallas Observer is a free alternative weekly newspaper distributed around the Dallas, Texas . At its inception, it was conceived as a weekly local arts and cinema review publication, with the credo "Advocate for Excellence in the Arts" on the cover. For a time during the early years, the paper...

    , February 16, 2006
  • Interview on Fresh Air, February 22, 2006
  • by James Pinkerton
    James Pinkerton
    James Pinkerton is a columnist, author, and political analyst. A graduate of Peter Vanleslie High School and Stanford University, he served on the White House staff under both Ronald Reagan and George H.W...

    ] on After Words
    After Words
    After Words is an American television series on the C-SPAN2 network’s weekend programming schedule known as Book TV. The program is an hour-long talk show, each week featuring an interview with the author of a new nonfiction book. The program has no regular host...

    , March 5, 2006
  • "Changing World of Commentary", Washington Times, July 11, 2007 - Bartlett's last weekly column
  • Video debates featuring Bartlett on is a political, world events, philosophy, and science video blog discussion site in which the participants take part in an active back and forth conversation via webcam which is then broadcast online to viewers...

  • C-span interview on New American Economy November 9, 2009