Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett (b. October 11, 1951 in Ann Arbor, Michigan) is a historian who turned to writing about supply-side economics. He was a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and was a treasury official under President George H.W. Bush.


Bartlett was educated at Rutgers University (B.A., 1973) and Georgetown University (M.A., 1976). He originally studied American diplomatic history under Lloyd Gardner at Rutgers and Jules Davids at Georgetown. He did much work on the origins of the Pearl Harbor 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" (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House Publishers, 1978). He was closely advised by Percy Greaves, who had been Republican counsel to the congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack in 1946.

In 1976, Bartlett changed careers, going to work for Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). 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. (Paul was subsequently elected in 1978-1984, did not seek reelection after 1986, but has been elected and reelected 1996. [cite book
authorlink=Michael Barone
coauthors=Richard E. Cohen
others=Charles Mahtesian and Mark Wegner (eds.)
title=The Almanac of American Politics
publisher=National Journal Group
location=Washington, D. C.
] )

In January 1977, Bartlett went to work for Congressman Jack Kemp (R-New York) as staff economist. Bartlett spent much of his time on tax 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, who was the Republican candidate for governor of New York. In November 1978, Duryea was defeated and Bartlett returned to Washington, where he joined the staff of newly elected Senator Roger Jepsen (R-Iowa).

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-based consulting company founded by Jude Wanniski, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, that advised Wall Street clients on economic and investment policy. Bartlett left in 1985 to become a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, where he specialized in tax policy and was especially involved in the debate around the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

In 1987, Bartlett became a senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Policy Development, then headed by Gary Bauer. 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 in 1993.

Bartlett lives in Great Falls, Virginia.

Current work

Since 1993, Bartlett had been affiliated with the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market think tank based in Dallas, Texas. In 2005 he was fired by the NCPA for his outspoken criticism of President George W. Bush.Fact|date=August 2008

Since 1995, he has written a newspaper column for Creators Syndicate, based in Los Angeles, and written extensively for many newspapers and magazines, including "The Wall Street Journal", "The New York Times", "The Los Angeles Times", "Fortune" magazine, and "Commentary" magazine.

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's economic policies as departing from traditional conservative principles.

In an August 2007 "The Wall Street Journal" op-ed, Bartlett criticized the FairTax proposal as misleading and unlikely to simplify taxpaying.cite news
title=Fair Tax, Flawed Tax
work=The Wall Street Journal
location=New York City
quote=It was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s as a way to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service, with which the church was then at war (at the time the IRS refused to recognize it as a legitimate religion).
] 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 acknowledged Bartlett's point that the Church of Scientology had proposed a national sales tax, 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. [cite news
title=On John Linder and Scientology
work=The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
location=Atlanta, Georgia
] Other sponsors of the plan were critical of Bartlett's article claiming he used "red herrings" and provided false information on the plan and research. [cite web
title=Be Fair to FairTax -- Throw the Red Herrings Back in the Water
publisher=Americans for Fair Taxation
quote=As a founder of Americans For Fair Taxation, I can state categorically, however, that Scientology played no role in the founding, research or crafting of the legislation giving expression to the FairTax.

Mr. Bartlett is equally wrong about many other aspects of the FairTax. We are disappointed...] cite web|url=| title=Be Fair to FairTax -- Throw the Red Herrings Back in the Water| publisher=Wall Street Journal|last=Linbeck| first=Leo| date=2007-08-29|accessdate=2007-09-02] In September 2007, Bartlett wrote an article for "The New Republic", [cite news
title=Dianetics, The Tax Plan
work=The New Republic
location=Washington, D. C.
quote=In a strange confluence, the Scientologist proposal happens to be nearly identical to one of the trendiest conservative tax proposals of the year, the so-called FairTax...
] 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. [ [ H.R.25 (FairTax Act) Sec. 302.] defines the rebate (it is based on family size and does not track income as Bartlett criticizes). [ Boston University & BHI Suffolk University FairTax study] Section III A & B defines the rebate based on family size and what the rate would be with and without the rebate (Bartlett stated the prebate was not included in rate studies). Section III D(2) and elsewhere in the study for inclusion of Government (Bartlett stated that Government was not include in rate studies). The prebate and government are also included in the [ William Gale rate study] . [ Boston University & BHI Suffolk University] and [ Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics] found the rate to be approx. 23% inclusive (Bartlett criticized that revenue estimators have always found the rate to be much, much higher than 23%).]


"If George W. Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3." [ [ Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush] ] - Bruce Bartlett, 2004.


External links

* [ "Without a Doubt"] , "New York Times", October 17, 2004
* [ "An Outspoken Conservative Loses His Place At The Table"] , "New York Times", February 13, 2006
* [ "Right Cross"] , "Dallas Observer", February 16, 2006
* [ "Changing World of Commentary"] , "Washington Times", July 11, 2007 - Bartlett's last weekly column
* [ Interview on Fresh Air]
* [ Interviewed by James Pinkerton] on "After Words"
* [ Bruce Bartlett Fired After Writing Anti-Bush Book]

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