The Corner

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

After posting praise for my interview with Tom Wolfe, below, I suppose I had this coming: A reader notes that in a post I put up yesterday I got my dates wrong. Here’s what I said:

“[The Reagan economic] program,” Jim Manzi writes, “was focused on two things: sound money and deregulation….” It was also focused, with considerable intensity, on a third thing: cuts in personal income tax rates. Reagan himself insisted on this. In 1983, as the recession deepened and the deficit began growing, Jim Baker, Dick Darman, David Stockman and others persuaded Reagan to raise certain taxes, in effect taking back part of his 1982 tax cuts. But on personal rates, Reagan just wouldn’t budge. (When Arthur Burns pestered him, Reagan famously replied, “Arthur, never mention a tax hike in my presence again.”)

And here are the reader’s comments:

Shouldn’t the year of the first Reagan tax cut be 1981 (although they actually didn’t go into effect until 1982)? Were they not signed at the little round table in the patio at Rancho del Cielo, maybe shortly after he was shot?

This is important to me because my biggest disagreement with the entire eight years was the TEFRA tax increase, agreed to in August 1982, where Reagan’s diaries show he actually supported more than the “let Reagan be Reagan” supporters (and I) ever realized….But cutting marginal income tax rates, and the incentive that produces, absolutely was a major component of economic recovery and growth.

The reader is right and I am wrong. When I wrote “1983″ I should have written “1982,” and where I wrote “1982″ I should have written “1983.”

If there’s anyone out there who’d like to send me a fresh note of praise about that Tom Wolfe interview, well, don’t hold back. I’d really much rather end the day with a pat on the back.

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