JFK, Fiscal Conservative, Tax-Cutter

November 22nd, 1963 is a day that many Americans will never forget. I wasn’t around back then, but can only imagine what it was like to have such a young, optimistic, and charismatic president shot down in the prime of his life. Of course, that is the basis of the Kennedy myth. One of the myths perpetuated by liberals is that Kennedy was a standard “liberal.” This myth was given additional credence in a story in the Albuquerque Journal.

Certainly, the term “liberal” can be applied to a lot of different policy areas from foreign policy to race relations and the economy, but Kennedy was by no means an Obama-style big-spending tax-hiker. For starters, as I wrote a decade ago while at National Taxpayers Union, Kennedy’s tax cuts reduced federal spending by more than 12 percent. As a comparison, George W. Bush’s tax cuts reduced spending by only 8 percent. So, Kennedy was a bona fide tax-cutter.

And, as the following chart shows, unlike George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Kennedy didn’t embrace massive increases in government spending either:

Undoubtedly, the Kennedy myth transcends his tax and fiscal policies and has a great deal to do with the way he died, but it is worth noting historical reality as we mark the 50th anniversary of this tragic occasion.

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One Reply to “JFK, Fiscal Conservative, Tax-Cutter”

  1. You write about our president being a “big-spending tax-hiker,” as if he can raise taxes, write a check and spend the taxpayers’ money anytime he wants. How can this be when the only money he can spend is the money appropriated by Congress through legislation originating in the House of Representatives? I thought tax increases had to be approved by Congress. Am I wrong? I’m not defending the president, nor am I approving of money spent. I’m just asking for clarification. If we are looking for places to cut spending, the Defense Department certainly deserves a long hard look. I also think we could close tax loopholes that result in huge subsidies to corporations, especially the fossil fuel industry. I’d also like to see farm subsidies that only go to small family farms and not to large corporate factory farms

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