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Fixing America’s Finances

Ronald Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, says it’s time to cut and tax to save the country’s finances.

Lawmakers are racing to reach a deal on the nation's debt ceiling before the August, when the US could go into default. (Creative Commons)

Lawmakers are racing to reach a deal on the nation's debt ceiling before August, when the US could go into default. (Creative Commons)

David Stockman was there at the beginning of the Republican political comeback.  The Reagan revolution.  He was Ronald Reagan’s budget director.

Flash forward thirty years, and David Stockman is now devastatingly critical of current Republican moves on the US deficit.

The leading GOP deficit plan, says Stockman, quote:  “appears to be an attack on the poor in order to coddle the rich.” Ouch. But wait. He’s very tough on Democrats, too. Solving our fiscal problems, he says, will take big cuts and new taxes.

This hour: David Stockman on the American deficit.

- Tom Ashbrook



David Stockman, former U.S. congressman from Michigan, Reagan administration budget director and author of “Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.”  Read his op-ed for the New York Times.

Gail Chaddock, senior congressional correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor

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  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I’ve heard a rumor that David Stockman has changed his tune since the Reagan days.

    He’d better have, or this is going to be one useless interview. 

    • http://libraryomega.blogspot.com/ Spekkio

      He and Keith Olbermann actually agreed on some points (re: tax policy) not long ago. I think that serves as a good indicator that Mr. Stockman isn’t in lockstep with the Republicans of today.

      I think it’s worth noting that the modern Republican Party (and the “Tea Party”) has a pretty radical, Randian understanding of taxes. So it may be more that the Republican Party moved away from Mr. Stockman than the reverse.

      • Anonymous

        How one perceives today’s Republican party depends a lot on one’s age.  Old timers — old lefties like me — remember a time when one could have a perfectly intelligent, even humor-filled conversations with the political opposition about issues of the day.  We might even agree on some points.  Today’s Republicans are tenacious in their claim of conservativism.  They don’t deserve it. What they really have in mind (and many may not even understand this) is radical and draws heavily on both theocracy and authoritarianism, as well as the “know-nothings.” 

        I think we should think seriously about not calling the right by its own inappropriate labels — “Republican” and “conservative.”  They are neither.  Can’t tell you how many times in the past 15 years I’ve wanted to cry out, “Shame!  Shame!”

    • Anonymous

       If you google him you can find some good editorials he has written.
      He’s still a conservative Republican. However he’s very critical of the Republican parties absurd ideas on taxes. Has openly said that trickle down did not work.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    I’ve seen Stockman numerous times on the PBS NewsHour and he certainly has seen the light. This should be a good show, he’s a bright guy. While I won’t give a guy like Henry Kissinger any slack should he change his ways (a war criminal is a war criminal) Stockman freely admits he had it wrong back then.

    I hope Tom and Stockman will discuss the beginning of the deregulatory mess that took place on his watch as well as the general failure of the trickle down model which also started back then.

    The savings and loan crisis which happened on Stockman’s watch was a pre-shock for the financial earthquake we’re now attempting to recover from.

  • Bob Dumouchel, Nassau

    Question for Mr. Stockman: If President Reagan were alive today, what do you think he would tell those who still believe in the theories of “supply-side economics” and “trickle-down economics”?

  • Sara Giannoni

    *How about weaning the agricultural industry off government subsidy, that would include my own state of it’s dairy money.
    *They should look at entitlement reform, not just cut people off because many people rely on it, but don’t have the skills to just go out and get a job that will sustain them

    Just two places to save money.

  • Mark from Martha’s Vineyard

    As I understand it, there are 80 members of the Progressive Congressional Caucus who have proposed a budget plan that gets this government’s finances out of deficit faster than any other competing proposal out there.

    It would be nice to see Mr. Stockman comment, in detail, on this “People’s Budget”.  Better yet, it would be enlightening if Onpoint could devote an entire show to the People’s Budget. 

  • Yar

    How do we have an honest discussion on finance when we don’t even agree what is included?   Healthcare is up to 20 percent of our GDP but we are only willing to talk about the part of healthcare paid by ‘tax dollars’.   Food is another example of cost shifting. Energy, housing, the entertainment industry, funding of public offices, most of our ‘public money’ does not get paid in the form of taxes.  It shows up as hidden fees on the goods and services we use.  When did we become a nation solely focused on money?  I believe we are having an identity crisis, we don’t know if we are a compassionate people or shrewd dealing capitalistic business.  Debt does this to people.  I can’t do good if I don’t have power, I can’t have power unless I am shrewd in my dealings.  We are losing our way and most of us don’t even know why.
    The long term strength of any nation is with its children.  If we fail to provide adequate training for the next generation then all is lost.  This is where it gets complicated, is it enough for those with means to provide for only their own and leave those without to fend for themselves?  What is the effect of removing the social safety net for large segments of our society?  Before we can cut and or tax our way to civility,  we have to understand who we are.
    First of all we are a young country, a teenager at best, we have all the awkwardness of bi-polar thinking.  
    My solution to teach our nation to grow up is by teaching our youth how to grow up, I want a modern version of the Civilian Conservation Corp that drafts youth between 18 and 24 for two years of public and community service.  I see these youth assisting in schools, leading with physical activity for children, building public infrastructure, assisting in care for the elderly, I even envision these youth  helping in the war on drugs and rehabilitating addicts. 
    The bottom line of our identity crisis is; do we think every worker is entitled to a living wage that includes access to healthcare, education for his or her children and a retirement?  Our answer to this question is how we define who we are.  
    Most often when someone says they want to have an adult conversation, they mean one where both side lie to each other,  I want a truthful conversation and one where we look at who we really are.

  • twenty-niner

    Today’s uplifting headline:

    A new study finds that for first time since the Great Depression,
    tax receipts from households total less than the government paid out in
    unemployment, Social Security and other programs.



  • Banicki

    Our finances are not going to be fixed without fixing our free markets.

    Republic or Oligarchy ?

    “Over the past months, there has been some progress in getting Americans to accept the need for self-restraint. ……….  The public hasn’t bought it yet, but progress is being made…….. The breakthrough, if there is one, will come from the least directly democratic parts of the government, from the Senate or some commission of Establishment bigwigs. It will be enacted when voters realize we need to build arrangements to protect ourselves from our own weaknesses. It will all depend on reviving the republican virtues upon which the country was founded”  David Brooks, NY Times, 05/06/11  One of the vehicles to accomplish the above goal is free markets; markets that are not only free from unnecessary government intervention, but also from control by small groups of large corporations. This has happened in too many markets by too few corporations.
      The result is that wealth is unfairly distributed, goods and services become more costly, innovation is suffocated, prices rise and consolidation of political power. More

    • UtahOwl

      Can we PLEASE stop using faith-based phrases like “free market”? There are only properly-regulated or improperly-regulated markets.  Markets are like any other set of games: They have rules.  The rules depend on the nature of the game.  They need referees to see that the rules are followed most of the time.  The referees are called “regulators.”  Can we agree to start from this simple set of premises?

  • Banicki

    Finances are not going to be fixed without fixing free markets.

    Republic or Oligarchy ?

    “Over the past months, there has been some progress in getting Americans to accept the need for self-restraint. ……….  The public hasn’t bought it yet, but progress is being made…….. The breakthrough, if there is one, will come from the least directly democratic parts of the government, from the Senate or some commission of Establishment bigwigs. It will be enacted when voters realize we need to build arrangements to protect ourselves from our own weaknesses. It will all depend on reviving the republican virtues upon which the country was founded”  David Brooks, NY Times, 05/06/11  One of the vehicles to accomplish the above goal is free markets; markets that are not only free from unnecessary government intervention, but also from control by small groups of large corporations. This has happened in too many markets by too few corporations.
      The result is that wealth is unfairly distributed, goods and services become more costly, innovation is suffocated, prices rise and consolidation of political power.http://goo.gl/MqgjE 

  • NAV

    The caption under the photo above reads, “Lawmakers are racing to reach a deal on the nation’s debt ceiling before
    August, when the US could go into default. (Creative Commons)”, but realistically, lawmakers aren’t racing to do anything except try to force each other into a corner.  The reality is that the debt ceiling is the last step of the budgeting process.  First the budget is created, amended, approved and then we raise the ceiling, except the money has been spent and the ceiling hasn’t been raised.  This is irresponsible.  And now the two parties are trying to make each other look bad.   Its about ideology and not responsible government.  Republicans can not realistically ask the nation to cut so much that we not raise the ceiling.  We’ve cut taxes so much that we couldn’t even service the debt with the money that the government collects now, never mind all of the MOST basic services which the government must cover.  We have to pay more.  And lets stop protecting the rich.  They pay less as a share now than the average American.  And Democrats have to be willing to cut the spending.  Lets start at the same level of spending as 2008.

  • Mike in PA

    Show us that the public sector is taking drastic cuts and the American people will accept an increase in taxes. 

    • Anonymous

      Very true,  The federal workforce should be cut 10% and the remaining staff should take a 10% pay cut. 

    • Dean

      The public sector is the largest employer in the country.  Where are you planning to employ all the people whose jobs you will eliminate with those cuts?

    • alareiks

      What is the ‘public sector’? The fire department? The DMV? How much government spending goes to ‘private sector’ business in the military industrial complex, tax breaks, etc?

      • Anonymous

         The chart from Big Government contributor Veronique de Rugy clearly shows that federal employment has grown by 98,000 jobs since the start of the recession. This bears repeating, because lefty columnist Paul Krugman is furiously spinning that the increase in employment is due to Census hiring.

        I am almost positive these 98,000 jobs are not DMV, or Fire Department Jobs!

    • Cory

      Your comment is just a neo-con talking point.  It is devoid of depth or reason. 

  • Eric M. Jones

     This graph which shows the distribution of US Wealth. Anyone who understands what the graph shows will be mortified. I don’t really see a way out of it. Buy, hey, there are smarter people…like those who got us into this mess.Please see:http://www.periheliondesign.com/downloads/Wealth%20Distribution%202007%20update.pdf
    Note that this is a single page Adobe PDF file. I won’t hurt your computer.
    Arthur Kennickell is publishing an update for 2010, to show how the “Big Recession” affected Americans. Be prepared for even worse news than this graph.
    The basic truth is that the top 2% of the population owns 50% of all US wealth. And 50% (half the population) has 2% of the wealth…or essentially stone poor.
    Welcome to America.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Thanks for the warm welcome to the “New America”, Eric.  For the record:  Some of us were born here to parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents etc. of Native American descent. This birth-accident was quite against our wills. We are deeply touched by the offer to enter your country as immigrants, now that the invaders have destroyed everything here and bailed out for greener cash elsewhere.

      • Tina

        Hi, from another with Native American ancestry and with your same general impression of things! 

    • Tina

      The top 2% MIGHT own even MORE THAN 50% of all US wealth.  I knew the figure a month ago (why do I think it is as high as 90%?); ugh to chemo-brain!  Can others weigh in on this?  Forgive me for questioning your figure, if I’m wrong.  I just thought I remembered it being an even MORE appalling figure.  Thanks! 

  • Cory

    I am in favor of any non-regressive tax increase. 

    • Anonymous

      Why shouldn’t everyones taxes be ?% since the person making $100K will pay 2x the taxes a person making $50K ?

      • alareiks

        Because the wealth attained by the person making $100K is predicated that much more upon the economic and industrial infrastructure which is in turn supported in some way by government and tax money. In short, they have more to lose.

  • Kathy

    This guy is making a lot of sense.

  • Scott B, jamestown NY

    I heard Mr. Stockman call himself a “reformed Republican”, and have heard him speak on many programs, and he speaks truth not to just power, but , more importantly, to the ideologues. While I don’t agree with all he says, would that more Republicans would speak to the issues and not the party line.

  • Anonymous

    Can you ask your guest how many times in the last 30 years has government revenues increased the fiscal year after rasing taxes in a significant way? 

    I seems to have seen research showing that ALL instances of Tax Cuts resulting in increased federal government revenues.


    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Here’s the answer:  Clinton’s years in office.

      We’re nowhere near the tax rates that would choke off the economy.  At the current levels, cutting taxes only means cutting revenues.

      • Anonymous

        Incorrect, when Clinton raised taxes, the result was less government revenues.  The clinton years succeeded because the government kept spending increases down. 

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp
        • ulTRAX

          As usual, B makes Orwellian claims he can’t back up. “when Clinton raised taxes, the result was less government revenues.”


          1991 $1,054,996 1992 $1,091,223 1993 $1,154,341 1992 $1,091,223 1993 $1,154,341 1993 $1,154,341 1994 $1,258,579 1995 $1,351,801 1996 $1,453,055 1997 $1,579,240 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1994 $1,258,579 1995 $1,351,801 1996 $1,453,055 1997 $1,579,240 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1995 $1,351,801 1996 $1,453,055 1997 $1,579,240 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1996 $1,453,055 1997 $1,579,240 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1997 $1,579,240 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1998 $1,721,733 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest. 1999 $1,827,4592000 $2,025,1982001 $1,991,1422002 $1,853,1492003 $1,782,321I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest.  

          • ulTRAX

            Can the forum mod please delete the above post. I don’t know why the post duplicated itself over and over as it did. There’s some bug in the system.  

        • ulTRAX

          What the hell happened to that post??? Let’s try posting this again!

          As usual, B makes Orwellian claims he can’t back up. “when Clinton raised taxes, the result was less government revenues.”SOURCE: THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011, HISTORICAL TABLES Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (in hundreds of millions)—
            1991 $1,054,996

          1992 $1,091,223

          1993 $1,154,341

          1994 $1,258,579

          1995 $1,351,801

          1996 $1,453,055

          1997 $1,579,240

          1998 $1,721,733

          1999 $1,827,459

          2000 $2,025,198

          2001 $1,991,142

          2002 $1,853,149

          2003 $1,782,321

          I don’t know what sources you use B, but from your claims here I can guess they are not being honest.  

        • Anonymous

          You like to throw a lot of muck hoping some of it will stick.
          During Clinton’s tenure as president the US balanced the budget through increased revenue and cuts. How do you come up with this stuff?

    • ulTRAX

      Revenues tend to rise on their own because of inflation, population growth, and a growing economy. If revenues eventually rise again after tax cuts it’s DESPITE the tax cuts, not because of them. What you’re doing is ignoring years of DEPRESSED revenue, and dishonestly starting with a new lower baseline. It’s time to face reality Branstad… tax cuts while we’re in debt is nothing but future taxes plus interest.   

    • ulTRAX

      B wrote: “Can you ask your guest how many times in the last 30 years has government revenues increased the fiscal year after rasing taxes in a significant way?”

      We’ve be over this time and time again in other forums here B. It’s not rocket science to realize cutting taxes LOWERS revenue and tax hikes within reason RAISE revenue. Here’s a US Treasury source that shows the revenue effects of tax policy… and while you’re there… be sure to look at all those massive tax hikes during the  Reagan admin.


  • Dh001g

    Exactly! a major demobilization. Its time to stop having a military to confront the Soviet Union. Lets also get rid of the mortgage interest deduction and see where we are before we gut the social safety net which is actually solvent for the next couple of decades.

  • Ward Cheney

     I say, Go David Stockman. Refreshingly blunt, clear, direct. Maybe there’s small print to be read, listened-to, but from a life-long liberal, I’m so glad to be listening to this Reagan-era “conservative” economist.

    • Tina

      Isn’t amazing how many of us are saying this?!!!  I AM glad, though, that you said, “maybe there’s small print to be read” … I’m almost praying that there isn’t; that, instead, as you said, that Stockman already delivered the goods in a way which was ‘blunt, clear, direct”.  Thanks! 

  • darren

    The current tax rate is high for the rich,  the problem is tax loopholes.

    Instead of changing core tax rate, we should eliminate ALL tax credit/deduction.  Mortgage interest deduction should be the first scam to go.  It doesn’t benefit average home owner.  

    If we don’t get rid of the loopholes, even if we raise tax to 90%, GE will still be paying $0 tax.

    • Tina

       The dollar amounts of mortgage interest deductions is certainly extremely different in the very expensive parts of the country compared to areas where houses cost less.  Now, salaries have those same regional differences.  But, will it be unfair if people who BOUGHT HOUSES IN PART BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY COULD DEDUCT THE MORTGAGE INTEREST PAYMENTS, suddenly couldn’t — especially if the average house price in their region was $500,000, compared to parts of the country where the average house price is $138,000?   I’m not good in this kind of math; I’m just asking.   

      • darren

        You are right there is no easy answer,  but I wasn’t thinking about just removing the deduction overnight.  Also, any changes should not be impose on people who already bought the house that would be like “breaking a contract”.  However, going forward all new mortgage interest should not be deducted.

        Regarding your second concern,  people who live in the $500K region  most likely will have a household income of $166k (house price / ) and people who live in $150K area will have income of $50K.  Servicing a $100K debt for people making $50K is just as/ or more difficult than  servicing a $334K debt for people making $166k.  But because the interest on the $334k mortgage is bigger, the deduction will end up reducing the tax rate more for people making $166K.  This is the problem. people/companies are not paying their fair share of taxes.  

        Also,  the reason I think the mortgage deduction is phony is that home buyers don’t really save money because of that.  Without the deduction, the $500K house will most likely be $450K or less, thus the monthly payments will not be more even without the deduction.

    • UtahOwl

      And it’s also true that the corporate tax rate is high (35%) but none of the Really Big Corporations pay that.  They just book all their profits into their Singapore subsidiary.  Fixing THAT problem is going to take something more intelligent than I’ve heard even from Stockman.  Now there’s a question I’d like to ask Stockman.

  • Anonymous

    No Federal government workers should receive any pay raise unless the federal budget is balanced.   This change alone will result in a much more fiscally responsable governmet.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Great, and let’s hold Congress, The Supreme Court, and everyone in government to this standard.

      As a matter of fact, since Congress is controlling this, let’s say that if they don’t do it not only do they not get a raise, they don’t get paid and they lose their retirement and healthcare.

      Let’s see Boehner agree to that. Talk about crying…

    • Cory

      And let’s be sure to begin with all the troops stationed abroad. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/tzbauknight Trevor Zion Bauknight

    I’m a little sick of hearing how “shared sacrifice” needs to start now. Sacrifice for the poor and middle class started a long time ago, and we’ve been subsidizing the rich and Corporate America since Reagan. It’s time for them to share the sacrifice…the rest of us have done enough.

  • Markwmeunier

     Ahmen , I’m a progressive who thinks a Reagan man has it right

  • Dean

     I never thought I would say this, but David Stockman is exactly right about what needs to be done.

    Paul Ryan and the other “experts” in Congress are absolutely wrong when they say “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem”.

    We do not have only a spending problem, we also have a major revenue problem.

    Taxes have never been this low, except 
    *in the years immediately before our present economic woes
    *in the years immediately before the recession of the early 1990s
    *and in the years immediately before the Great Depression.

    The argument that we need such low taxes for the economy to succeed is directly opposite the historical facts.

  • Sue in Beaufort, SC

    I am feeling like I am hearing good sense for the first time in way too long. Does Mr. Stockman see any hope of the two parties ever cooperating to make intelligent changes?

  • Nashville

    Thank you thank you! Finally someone that is non political coming to the table with a plan to reduce this debt. As a “purple ” person, in the middle of the two parties, I am relieve someone is talking sense in fixing our debt problem.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp


     Because X percent of income from someone making $20,000 per annum isn’t the same for someone making $100,000.  Food, housing, and so forth are constant costs and represent a bigger bite out of the income of the poor and lower middle class.

  • Doug

    Why should we be listening to David Stockman? He was a strong proponent of the trickle down theory, later “supply-side economics” (another name by which to sell the idea, by his own admission. He and his ilk are the main reasons we are now in this economic mess.

    • Rnadeau77

      It sounds to me like he has learned a major lesson. what he is saying makes a great deal of sense now. It would have been interesting to hear him comment on the faulty trickle down policies of the Reagan era. Put people to work in the US instead of overseas and create a trickle up theory.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

        He’s just a few years too late and a few trillion dollars too short to make a smidgen of difference today. Don’t you just love the conceited contrition of the elites when they get close to their natural ends? Roast with the rest of us, now, old chums : )

        • Tina

          I’m HOPING that he is speaking out on time ENOUGH.  Yes, earlier would have been much better, but would the bulk of the American public even have been listening?  Maybe yes; I don’t know.   He DID say that the Republicans took away the WRONG LESSON from the Reagan years.  THAT, at least, is a welcome sound in MY ears! When I woke up this morning, I never would have expected a gift like that, even if it IS years late.  It helps!  I prefer to be optimistic that his small gift can be part of a movement that builds, just like the idea of freedom that spread from small twitters in the Middle East.  If we squish this small message, we will only be hurting ourselves, possibly.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    Mr. Stockman just said, “This is not the endgame that we set out to achieve.”  Really?  I have a difficult time believing that the greedy, ruthless Republicans of the Reagan/Bush era did not deliberately set out to skew the economic balance in favor of the mega-rich by heaping all the devastating “sacrifices” on the middle class and poor.

    • Anonymous

       You are correct, and they have been on record admitting it. Most emblematic was Grover Norquist’s statement: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
      What that does, of course, is to shift everything to greed driven for profit enterprise which only owes allegiance to shareholders.

      • Dave in CT

        Are you that suspicious of your landscaper, your local restaurant, your dentist, your grocery store, even Apple, Google etc etc?  Corporations which are clearly evil should be rejected by consumers, drying up the profit to shareholders you speak of.

        Are there monopolies or oligopolies and collusive enterprises out there? Surely, and we should identify and prosecute them and demand transparency and competition.

        Markets give consumers a chance to buy what they demand, or not buy what they don’t. In a free society, markets are a natural and rational thing.

        People always throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

        Grover sure got mileage out of that comment. Given the dismal government failures in economic macro and micromanagement, enforcement  of existing regulations, corporatist approach to governing, and debt-spending us into eternal servitude, what sane person wouldn’t want to drown it in a bathtub, and let the people make choices in a free market without financial shenanigans passed off as attempt at utopian social engineering herding us around like sheep.

        A transparent, equally-applied, ends-indifferent, protecting opportunity Rule of Law, plus a free people, seems pretty sane.

        I don’t know what G Norquist thinks deep inside, but I think most limited government people don’t want anarchy and lawlessness, but a free market where the peoples choices drive our trajectory, not a corruptible central power.

        • Anonymous

           Thanks you for adding the religious point of view, that of Market Fundamentalism. Sure, there’s some truth in what you say but 
          1) “free” markets are an illusion for the gullible, they don’t exist. Instead we have regulatory instruments favoring some “free” forces while screwing others through customs duties, taxes, incentives and provided infrastructure.
          2) there are huge sectors where market forces never lead to desirable outcomes
          3) Much outward profitability is simply a function of turning inherently profitable fields over to privatized entities while keeping net loss fields public.
          4) New tasks of enormous scale that need to be tackled soon and in consort with other nations cannot rely on cruel and crude market mechanisms. That does by no means exclude public/private cooperation but to fall on your knees before “free markets” as a panacea has no place in the reality of the 21st century

      • Tina

        m2cts, This is one of our country’s BIG TROUBLES:  our Supreme Court has said something to the equivalent of this — that corporations owe their primary allegiance to their shareholders.  Someone, please  write in and re-write my post with more accurate language and context, but I’ve got some of the gist of it correct, and I find this kind of court decision SO TERRIBLY TROUBLING!  It means all we can do is flail about in disgust; we cannot change certain things — OR, IS THERE A WAY to bring about a test case to the Court that COULD allow a different ruling?  If so, maybe On Point could do a show about the whole issue.  Thanks!

  • L-sigmund

     Lest your guest forget, George W. Bush inherited an budget surplus in 2000, after 8 years of the Clinton presidency.  Clinton, had inherited a budget deficit from 12 years of Reagan Bush rule.  I’d say that the profligacy charge primarily applies to the ‘no tax is a good tax’ party.

  • Robb

    While I agree with most of what Stockman has to say, he’s missing the real moral defect of the Ryan plan… that it absolves our generation of all responsibility in paying back the money we spent on ourselves these past 30 years and hands the bill over to our kids. Ryan’s plan is a $13 trillion money laundering scheme.  

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       You’ve got it all wrong.  The current system is/has been a the money laundering scheme.  Ryan simply ends it (for medicare).

      I’ve seen no alternative proposed which puts any responsibility back on the current and prior generations benefiting from SS and medicare largesse. They’ve always called this ‘the third rail’ for a reason.

      For that matter, I’ve seen no alternative proposals at all.

      • Anonymous

        Oh for the love of… that is complete nonsense. The Ryan plan is a joke. It does nothing to balance the budget and it only makes our health care problems worse. I repeat Ryan’s plan is a joke.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           I agree it doesn’t go far enough but at least it is a start.  What is truly a joke is Obama’s plan.  Nil.

      • Robb

        Social Security can take care of itself with a few adjustments. Medicare is a bit more tricky because the GOP will oppose all reforms that will bring the cost of health care down… such as going to a Single Payer system. The money laundering scheme I was talking about was that $13 trillion we’ve spent since 1981 that we refuse to pay for. Since that has nothing to do with SS or Medicare, perhaps you might address that.

  • Mimsterzoo

    Can Mr. Stockman comment on the “People’s Budget”?  I understand there is a bill nicknamed the People’s Budget that supposedly addresses exactly what he is talking about and I wonder if this is true?  Thank you

  • Tina

     Boy!  I CANNOT BELIEVE that I agree with David Stockman’s assessment!  I’ll have to listen again to make sure, but this is SO surprising, because I detested his views during the 1980′s.  

    The OTHER THING is:  he was SO CLEAR!  His language use was SO HELPFUL!!  Sometimes economists come on, and then they don’t have antecedents for their pronouns, and I get lost.  Several times, Mr. Stockman went back to reiterate just whom he was talking about!  Yay!

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Stockman is fantastic and we need to hold our elected representatives to the standard he’s setting.

  • Jack Fox

    There is more support for shared sacrifice the politicians think. But it has to be fair. While they well off will have to pay more, the burden should be scaled so that the poor pay little or nothing, the middle more, and the well off much more.
    Mr. Stockman is correct, both political parties are avoiding the issue. St. Thomas Acquinas is quoted as saying “You shouldn’t lie, but you don’t always have to tell the truth.” That’s what Obama and the Republicans are doing. 

  • Steve in Augusta

    This is the guy who said we could cut taxes, increase the military budget and grow the economy. All it did was create a record deficit. Why are we listening to this guy?

    • Tina

       Because he seems to have done that rare thing:  learn from his mistakes.  And, he is not too proud to tell the tale of mistakes made, and to have analyzed those past mistakes to come up with better ideas while armed with facts and figures.  He is not speaking theoretically; he has that experiential information that is missing in so much of the dialogue/dispute, otherwise. 

  • Bill

    The gorilla in the room no one discusses is the interest payments on the national debt. It’s a huge part of the budget now. When the interest rates go back up it’s going to explode. And we’ll have to either make draconian spending cuts or massively increase borrowing to deal with that. Either way it will tank the economy.

  • Paul Nakian

    Stockman clearly is speaking the truth–the obvious. In part he is turning away from his own party’s history.  AND, he is correct that the Obama Administration is only taking half steps.  We need to hear more from this clear thinking man.  Please have him “On Point” again soon–for an hour so we can really pose some questions.   

    • Tina

      Yes!  Tom, I agree with Paul!  Having David Stockman on again, and for the full hour is a TERRIFIC IDEA!!!  Thanks! 

  • jack

    Why the surprise that there’s fighting over the how to fix the deficit/budge problems?  First, a plan might help – what type of society do the majority want to live in: a Democratic/Left one with a robust safety net, or a Republican one that is dog-eat-dog free-market capitalism, a hybrid.  The goal needs to agreed upon before a plan is developed on how to get there.


  • Anonymous

    The resurgence of Progressives over the last 10 years has effectively redestributed and spent us into poverty…. Yes, that includes GWB! 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       What resurgence are you referring to?  Over than a Medicare prescription drug benefit, there hasn’t been much that Progressives want.

      You may include Obama’s healthcare reform program, but that’s more of an adjustment of the current system than a progressive new idea.

      • Anonymous

        This guy is a reactionary. The more I read of Brandstad’s comments the more I see he’s more interested in posting nonsense hoping people agree with him or make some kind of remark. It’s a waste of time.

        • UtahOwl

          “Troll” is the word you’re looking for, Geffe.

    • Cory

      Redistributed to whom?  The poor? 

    • TomK in Boston

      There has been plenty of redistribution, from the middle class to the oligarchs.

  • Cal

    What saddens me is that this man started this ball rolling and had no care about setting his boss straight during his time in the White House…but now…now he is wise in his old age…his plan is what will need to happen in order to get our house in order, but that fundamental budgeting we all learned in 8th grade was convoluted to keep Reagan in office and he had no care about our future then, just as our politicians don’t seem to care today.  They will have a rude awakening when the middle classe’s backs finally break and they all come tumbling down…..

    • Tina

       I detested the man AND his policies in the 1980′s; but I’m still grateful for ANY growth in understanding that a human being exhibits.  It also seems to me that HIS seeing the error of his ways IS more helpful, over all and to the nation as a whole, than Democrats being right about the same things.  In saying his OWN party was wrong and is STILL wrong, he MIGHT get more people to get up and re-think.  I’ll bet he is alienating himself amongst his old friends, and for that, I am extremely grateful!

  • Nick Masucci

    You just had a caller who stated that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the prime drivers of the federal Budget deficit. That is not correct. Social Security and Medicare are actually funding the Federal Budget. They areself funded and do not contribute to the deficit. 

  • Neal

    Agree with David Stockman’s view – everyone will have to adjust/sacrifice. ?: how much more margin do you think the poor, working class and even middle class have to be squeezed? Especially when you look at the enormous, out of balance windfall benefits the owning class have enjoyed in the past decade. Shouldn’t their entitled, insider, protective profit shield be sacrificed too?

    • Tina

       I THINK Stockman was saying that the entitled insider SHOULD be taxed, too.  MAYBE they should be taxed FIRST and SOON, so that some relief can pour into the system first?

  • Dave in CT

     Could you please ask Mr. Stockman:

    What potential candidate or political figure does he think would share his vision and execute accordingly?

    We need someone to coalesce behind.

    Thank you.

  • Jmichal2

    Stockman says we middle class Americans have to be willing to ACCEPT some austerity? Excuse me, sir, but we’ve been living with austerity – and downward mobility – since his old boss was inaugurated. We aren’t willing to be driven further into poverty to fix the GOP’s contrived financial crisis.

    What we really need to rebuild American prosperity is massive reinvestment in middle-class America, paid for by massive taxes on the Rich. Where Reagan, Stockman and the Supply-Siders got it wrong 30 years ago is that sustainable prosperity doesn’t “trickle down” from the Top. It bubbles up from the Bottom. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonvaage Jon Vaage

      While the middle class has certainly been pounded by the globalization and the concentration of wealth at the top, it’s not helping to just point the finger at another demographic and say it’s their responsibility to fix the problem. Many middle class households are also partially responsible for the problem and it’s not moving the debate forward to say “we, the middle class should get preferrential treatment.” We all need to own up to the mistakes of our parent’s generation and work together. We should cooperatively strive for fairness and equality, not divisive middle-class affirmative action.

  • Kristina S.

    Our discussion is backwards.  The disconnect between parties is determining what programs should be covered, but all we are talking about is how much budget we want.  We have to discuss the role of the government and what programs we determine essential, then coordinate revenue to cover those programs.  What programs do the people want to keep? 

    • Tina

       I think that that’s what’s called Zero Based Budgeting.  Did you hear that some politician is talking about ZBB?  If it was Paul Ryan, I’d hate it, because I don’t trust his choices.  Please forgive me if this is used absolutely everywhere; I just don’t think that it is; I think it is still avoided like the plague; yet I first heard about it in about 1978.  Hmmm….

      I’m afraid that discussions about the “role of government” might still come to blows.  That’s why it was so interesting to hear David Stockman say that the Republicans came away from the Reagan administration with the WRONG UNDERSTANDING, with the WRONG FOUNDATIONAL MANTRAS!  I basically thought that he was saying that Trickle Down does not work.  I’m sure we’ve SEEN that Trickle Down doesn’t work!  I’ll listen to the podcast to hear that part again.  


  • Marion

    David Stockman makes sense.  He is the first in a long, long time to do so.

  • Bob

      On the show today David Stockman said we can’t grow our way out of this fiscal crisis, stating that we came out of WW II with a clean balance sheet.  
      My review of the historical record of national debt indicates that we ended WW II with a debt to GDP ratio of about 125%, approx. twice what it is today.  [At that time the highest tax rate on wealthiest americans was 90% (until 1963, I believe). Instead of austerity, we rebuilt Europe and Japan at a tremendous cost, paid for all interested GI's to bo to college, and Eisenhower started the building of our Interstate highway system.  New businesses sprang up and the  prosperity was shared by a growing level of home and multiple-car ownership by the middle class (whose consumer spending is the backbone of the US economy).  Balanced budgets where pretty much the norm until 1981, when Stockman and Reagan admittedly went overboard with tax cuts (which they later pared back).]
        Which is correct, clean balance sheet in 1945 or huge debt followed by more deficit spending, with end result of reduced debt and balanced budgets?  

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonvaage Jon Vaage

      We had post-war prosperity because there were no international competetors to our American Industry. We don’t have that luxury any more. It might make sense to borrow and spend a lot when our nation had such a huge economic advantage over the entire world.

      • twenty-niner

        Correct, and we were a net oil producer until right around 1970. Further, the sheer intensity of the war effort led to huge advances in technology that led to the creation of huge industries including jet aircraft, rocketry, synthetic rubber, radar, microwave communications, nuclear power, the list goes on.

  • guest

    Does Mr. Stockman have a comment on the Senate’s stonewalling the retirement of the tax incentives for big oil?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Yes, the oil subsidies are noise.  A pitance.  The ethanol subsidies are much larger.

      A complete revamping and simplifying of the tax code is needed to create organic growth in the economy.

      Regarding oil, a new program that derives massive increased revenues from new drilling and increased royalty share is the way to go.  The new revenues will dwarf the elimination of any oil tax.  Also, imports will be reduced and we will have good domestic jobs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonvaage Jon Vaage

        That would only be worth doing if they simultaneously got rid of the subsidies and re-evaluated the royalties rate from it’s current, near give-away value. 

  • Tom from Hingham

    Wow!  Listening to David Stockman is like drinking from a firehose!  I’m a Democrat, and he’s my guy!

  • jack

    Why no war tax?  5% of country carrying the load, 95% getting a free ride.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      How about double taxing the gung-ho war mongers who make enormous profits by killing people they don’t even know?
      Maybe call it a “mass murder lovers tax”. Hey, you gotta pay for all that exciting entertainment somehow.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonvaage Jon Vaage

        That’s ridiculous. Using tax policy to attack your political enemies is foolish. We need to strive for a pure, fair, unpoliticized tax code. What you’re advocating is just fanning the flames of the partisan grid lock which is the true friend of the status quo.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

          Dear Jon,

          Ever hear of satire? It’s a literary device designed to point out blatant absurdities by making them sound even more absurd. It is not political in essence yet it may be applied to politics in general.
          To acclimate oneself to satire, if not yet familiar with its effects, I suggest you watch the Daily Show or the Colbert Report sometime.

          If you cannot laugh at the sophisticated satire employed by the writers of these comedic programs, choosing to make them YOUR political enemies, instead, then it is not about politics at all.  Consult your doctor, it may be a serious personality disorder. 

        • UtahOwl

          @ Jon:  One word, dude:  Irony.  Although if I ever live to see a “pure, fair, unpoliticized tax code”, I’ll know the Kingdom of God has arrived on earth.

  • Simon

    agree on cutting military spending, raise tax on the rich but not on middle class because it is already disappearing.

  • JayG

     I think the greedy portion of the Top Two Percenters are funding the Propaganda Machine that dictates no new ntaxes, so they can put more money into their pockets at the expense of this nation.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    There is a group of millionaires and billionaires that support a higher tax rate, “Patriotic Millionaires”.  Even Warren Buffet said that he needs to be paying more taxes. He wondered why he’s taxed at a significantly lower rate than his secretaries assistant (16% vs 22%)?  When he said this in front of a Congressional hearing some of his contemporaries suggested that his mental facilities were impaired (infferring dimentia or Alzheimers).

    • Mill

      Correct. But what’s stopping Warren Buffet (and other patriotic m/billionaires) from voluntarily paying more taxes if he strongly feels that he should be paying more? Does the IRS reject any money over and beyond what Warren Buffet owes?

  • Ruth, Nashville

    As a moderate republican, I am heartened to hear what Stockman says.  We all need to make some sacrifices and focus on those big items to really make some differences in our debt problem 

  • Davesweetman

    David Stockman is spot on as many of us have understood for years,  but he  reaches only a sub set of the NPR Archipelago.  If he could get a fair hearing on Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Fox et al we might make progress.  But to think that the Industrial Military Axis, the delusional gluttons in “Wall Street” and the Banks and their lobbyists and lackey aka Washington’s timorous doctrinaire incompetents – both parties, all three branches will change is pure fantasy.  Consider the lack of real hard news on any TV channel except NPR and tell me how well the American people are informed.  The voters have been drugged by the huge propaganda machine.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Agree. The people I know who are addicted to inflammatory,vitriolic
      mouthpieces like the guys you mention, above, are in no mood to hear softer voices bringing them their “news”. In fact, a well reasoned, calm discussion will become a raging debate in a heartbeat when dealing with these folks. Their brains have been damaged by the rush of stress hormones – on a constant, regularly scheduled dosage- that are triggered by the fight or flight response to perceived danger. I don’t understand what they get from it, personally, but then again, I never understood why some people inject heroin, either, when they know how bad it is to get hooked on it. Gluttons for punishment, perhaps, slaves to authority, definitely, and poor suffering critters every one.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    It is clear to me that the Congress is completely corrupt and votes for its own interests first, and then the interests of its handlers…US corporations. They pretend to represent the citizens, but that is just so much political theater.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia


      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

        “They pretend to represent the citizens, but that is just so much political theater.” – JasonA
        Listening to the masterful elocution of our illustrious Prez, just now, reinforces JasonA’s hunch. I could swear that he’s reading a from script, having been cast to play the role of of a straight, white Republican male. Damn good acting! Give the man an Oscar to go next to his Nobel Peace Prize on the family mantelpiece.

    • Yar

       Jason, you will love today’s cartoon by Joel Pett, in the Lexington Herald Leader,   A picture is worth a thousand words. http://media.kentucky.com/smedia/2011/05/19/06/110519pett.aurora_standalone.prod_affiliate.79.jpg

      • UtahOwl

        Thanks, Yar – Great Cartoon!  I’m sending to my Utah Senators Smee & Snatch.

  • Kristina S.

    If we increase taxes, people will find more loopholes and corporations will continue to move their corporate office abroad (while keeping their workforce here) to avoid the taxes.  Everytime we try to fight a loophole, they will find a replacment loophole.

    We need to increase wages and have a national discussion on which companies we are supporting financially.  If we increase the wages of the lower and middle class will that reduce demand on government services, and increase revenue for income taxes?  We continue to financially support big business instead of local services, giving the money to the wealthy and increasing their lobbying power.  If we choose to buy foreign made items, then we choose to weaken our economy, and risk the safety issues that are not up to US standards. 

    We just need better discussions and education to develope reasonable practices.  Can we create a reality TV show to teach the American Public consequences for thier daily decisions? 

  • Jim, Boston

    Let’s return to our simple A-B-C’s: Across-the-Board-Cuts. Choose a point in the future (maybe five years from now) to achieve a balanced budget. Then do the math and cut EVERYTHING in the federal budget – and I mean EVERYTHING (defense, the US war machine, foreign aide, social security and all other entitlements, education, social programs, EVERYTHING, even congressional salaries) — across the board by the same amount to hit that five-year target. Maybe it’s 20%…25%…30% even. Yes, it will be painful. But everyone will share the pain equally. Presumably, by including the hugely funded (e.g. defense) along with the barely funded (e.g. education), the total cuts will be deep enough but fair. Then, if necessary, increase taxes across the board as well (maybe 5%) for EVERYONE, rich, middle class, poor.

    Why are the leading players in this debate not embracing such a simple equation? Do the numbers just not add up? Is it just not politically expedient? Seems totally fair to me: if an ABC plan were adopted, any politician or constituency that began to squawk could get easily shot down: shut up and deal with it! Everyone one else is hurting just as much as you!David Stockman mentioned across-the-board cuts this morning, but it’s too bad he didn’t discuss the specific numbers. How deep would ABC cuts have to be to eliminate our collective $14 trillion hole in, say, five to seven years?

    Repeat after me everyone: A-B-C! A-B-C!

    • Anonymous

      The problem is that everyone will not share the pain. Wealthy Americans wont feel the pain of losing health care coverage as someone who is on disability for instance, will.  Education is already collapsing in this country. The question is do we want to be competitive with the rest of the world or do we just want to be a back water with a wealthy class and an underclass. Which is where we are going.

      • Jim, Boston

        True, ABC cuts won’t fix existing social inequalities, and that would not be their goal. Yes, we should continue to address social injustice and inequality, but in the meantime, we can actually move forward in getting our nation’s financial house in order. Basically, ABC cuts would take the whole current mess we are in, inequalities and all, and cut the whole thing back. If someone is getting $700 month in disability payments, and now they get $595 due to a 15% cut, they’ll make do, just like everyone else. Losing $105 a month is not the end of the world. Should we be taking better care of the folks who are on disability in the first place? Probably, but that’s a separate issue that could and should be addressed independently. No matter how much we would like to, we will never be able to fix major societal ills with deficit reduction. One last point: the wealthy WILL feel SOME pain as the cutback effects ripple through society (e.g. the fraying of public infrastructure, etc.), just not as much pain as the rest of us. But we can continue to hammer on wealthy separately.

        • UtahOwl

          There is excellent research data that show that cutting 15% for someone who is just making it will lead them to cut their medical costs by (a) not taking needed medication and (b) not seeking medical care early.  There are actual facts backing the assertion that cutting the vulnerable populations will cost more in the long run (5-10 years).  Of course, you could just not let them in the ER & let ‘em die.  That would save money.

    • Kristina S.

      Are you asking for a balanced budget or elimination of our deficit?  Many economists believe some dept is a good thing.   Andrew Jackson did eliminate our defict once, we should learn from that historical event before attempting to repeat that action.

      • Jim, Boston


    • Sam Wilson

       Yes, lets cut the whole thing down.. there is no need to spend in any of the Interstate Highways, State Highways, NASA, DoD, CDC, Health Care for the poor and disabled, Bridges, Parks, Military, …

      Lets cut everything and lets live in a country like Somalia..

      • Jim, Boston

        I agree that 30% ABC cuts would be harsh and it would probably start to feel like Somalia around here. But what if, after we crunch the numbers, we find that we could easily balance the budget AND eliminate our $14 trillion deficit within 5-7 years with only, perhaps, 10% ABC cuts and a 2-3% tax increase, that’s not so bad actually. I just really wonder what the magic number is, given a 5-7 year time frame.

    • Sam Wilson

       Yes, lets cut the whole thing down.. there is no need to spend in any of the Interstate Highways, State Highways, NASA, DoD, CDC, Health Care for the poor and disabled, Bridges, Parks, Military, …

      Lets cut everything and lets live in a country like Somalia..

      • William

         A 20 percent cut in all spending, everything, would be a good first start.

  • Cabmanjohnny

    There once existed a 90 percent top rate and those folks still prospered, the renter-unearned income set now pay little on the gains that have favored them almost exclusively. However changing tax laws or rates is a tiresome and disingenuous story, it always amounts to shifting payers between whatever party ideal in in power at the time. The reality is that the Federal System should not require such tax amounts nor be providing most of the costly programs it does.
    Do we really need 737 foreign military bases, deployments nation building, two-half wars? Agricultural subsidies? Foreign aid? Social welfare supplements and supports? Most of the alphabet agencies? Yet I have no illusions any of this will go away nor get any better.

    • Mill

      “Do we really need 737 foreign military bases, deployments nation
      building, two-half wars? Agricultural subsidies? Foreign aid? Social
      welfare supplements and supports? Most of the alphabet agencies?”

      Let me know when the Democrats jump aboard your proposal.

  • TomK in Boston

    Stockman tells the truth. The primary cause of the deficit is tax cuts for the rich, followed by the recession and the wars. It is nothing but class warfare for the right to try to fix a problem with these causes by screwing the middle class.

    It’s very funny how Gingrich is being excommunicated for letting the truth briefly slip out – the ryan plan to replace medicare’s guarantee with groupons is “extreme” and “right wing social engineering”. The way to fix medicare is to control costs, for example by removing the prohibition on negotiating drug costs, and provide more revenue by taxing the rich. Note that medicare costs are increasing LESS rapidly then corporate insurance costs. Throwing granny into the corporate shark tank with a groupon in hand is precisely “right wing social engineering”.

    The #1 component of the deficit is the tax cuts. Anyone who is serious about our fiscal condition will be arguing for tax hikes at the top. Anyone who does not is a class warrior using the deficit as camouflage.


    • Worried for the country(MA)

       No TomK it wasn’t tax cuts for the rich.  Nice try though.  It was tax cuts for everyone.  The tax cuts for the rich are only 25% of the Bush tax cuts.

      Also, you are just plain wrong that the tax cuts is the primary reason for the deficit.  The total tax cuts account for about $400 billion per annum.  Since the deficit is running at about $1.3T the only conclusion is spending is way out of whack.

      • TomK in Boston

        I know you state the party line, worried, but please note that the rich are by definition a small % of the population (I use top 1%, I don’t know what you use) and if they get 25%, that tells me something. Anyway, fine, just call it “tax cuts” – they are the #1 problem followed, as I said before, by the wars and the recession itself. Even by your estimate, $400 bil out of $1.3 trillion is a lot more than anyone will ever get by squeezing the middle class!

        Repealing the “temporary” bush tax cuts would still leave us with a tax code that is not nearly progressive enough. It’s absurd that the tax rate maxes out at a few hundred thou. The marginal rate should keep rising through the top brackets. It should be higher at $10 mil than at $1 mil. Reaganomics has driven all the income to the top, the tax code should “follow the money”.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           Party line? Pot calling kettle black.  I don’t belong to a party.  The GOP party line is no new taxes.  I think new taxes are required (however in moderation as to not damage the recovery).

          Regarding the definition of rich, I use Obama’s definition of households making > $250K.  That is the straw man that Obama’s been using for raising taxes.

          The problem with your analysis is there simply isn’t enough rich income to tax to solve the problem.  “all of the income” isn’t at the top.  Most of the income is below $250K.

          I will probably agree with you that there is plenty of unfairness in the tax code.  This can be solved by tax simplification and transparency.  Let’s put all the tax accountants and lawyers that make a living avoiding tax out of a job.  Tax simplification has the added benefit that it will grow the economy organically.

          Once the tax code is simple and there is NO way to hide income with shelters etc. then a simple flat tax would be the most fair.  The more you make, the more you pay.  Personally, I would still support marginal tax rates as long as all rates are reasonable  (the calls for return of 90% rates are obscene and in my view based purely on envy and are a form of theft).

          The Simpson-Bowles tax simplification is a good start.

          Look at the chart you linked for 2011 and 2012.  The Bush tax cuts are less than 1/4 of the deficit.  I’m OK with rescinding ALL the Bush tax cuts but spending is still the #1 problem.

          • TomK in Boston

            Worried, “party line” or not, I hear endless repetition of how there is just not enough “rich” income to make a difference. This was true when we were a middle class society, but it is not true after the spectacular growth of income inequality since 1980.

            The top 1%, with incomes over $1.1mil, have 25% of the income. Isn’t that amazing?! That is what I’d expect in a 3′rd world dictatorship. 

            Total income is $12-14 trillion, so conservatively say the top 1% have $3 trillion. If their taxes increased by a mere 10%, that would be $300 billion in revenues that might keep granny out of the hands of WellPoint. Why do you say there is not enough “rich” income to make a difference?

            BTW the top 400 families had 1.6% of all the income in 2007, up over 3x from 0.52% in 1990. Uganda, here we come!

            You really can’t understand any of this without an appreciation of our spectacular, 3′rd world inequality.

            Spending is not the #1 problem. It’s low taxes at the top, the wars, and the recession. Recessions always cause deficits – they decrease tax revenues and increase demand for services. One of the best ways to get rid of a deficit is to simply get the economy going again – and ryan’s herbert hoover austerity policies will stall the economy, possible even producing a double dip.

            Ending the “temporary” tax cuts is not enough. Rates should not max out at a few hundred thou. $10 mil should pay a higher rate than $1 mil. Once again, the tax code has not adjusted to our new oligarchy. The income has moved to the top, taxes have to follow the money.

          • ulTRAX

            Worried wrote: “I will probably agree with you that there is plenty of unfairness in the tax code.  This can be solved by tax simplification and transparency.  Let’s put all the tax accountants and lawyers that make a living avoiding tax out of a job.” Gee, this is similar to what advocates of Single Payer Health Insurance want to do… put the parasitic bureaucrats in the private sector out of work. As for tax simplification… sure… as long as it’s a strongly progressive income tax. We can start with eliminating the interest deduction on second homes. Oops, the GOP voted against that reform just as they did in the 80′s.  

  • Lynn

     I completely agree with Stockman, as, it seems, many of us do. Hear, hear! Let’s hope someone is our government is listening.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      The Congress is only listening for the corporate cash register to ring. Payday from the lobbyists….yet again. The Congress is completely corrupt and has sold out the middle class for corporate money. The same could be said for the Supreme Court…how else could one explain the Citizens United decision? There is no other rational explanation. 

  • Ron

    As a career military serviceman, I don’t see any problem in cutting defense spending. The defense budget is HUGE. We must learn to live and operate within a reasonable budget. Less military spending equates to a smaller, more elite force that is involved in selectively fewer worldwide conflicts. Of course this principle must be applied to many other areas too. Federal social are generally very popular because they provide services to people; however, our government must cut many programs after prioritizing which are most essential (helpful) and operate within it’s budget. Aid for the elderly who have paid lifelong taxes or for the disabled should not be cut; aid for able-bodied Americans and immigrants should be at the top of the list of cutbacks.

  • Daniel

    If you want some good news, Tom, please email me. I would like to talk to you about the City of Somerville’s happiness survey: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05… I think it would be a great topic for On Point. Thanks!

  • TomK in Boston

    Even “Worried” admits that the bush tax cuts contribute $400 billion out of a $1.3 trillion deficit per year, almost 1/3! Yet ryan et al  all say “tax increases are off the table”. If a GoP suggests that tax increases might be OK, he’s attacked and excommunicated. Look what happened to Newt for briefly letting the truth slip out, that ryan’s budget it “far right social engineering”.

    Can you imagine anyone who is REALLY concerned about the deficit saying that the “temporary” tax cuts that cause a great big 1/3 of it are “off the table”?? These are the same people who say “everything is on the table” when it comes to screwing the middle class. They are disgusting

  • Gregg Davey

    He’s right!

  • Beth, Lexington KY

    I’m tired of the complete lack of respect being shown to American citizens by their elected “leaders”.  Do they not think that we are intelligent and reasonable enough to acknowledge that we DO need to pay a little more and take a little less to make this work?  They should stop making all their decisions based on the rantings of far-right and far-left loudmouths and start talking reasonably to the rest of us. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Sadly, that’s not within their job description. Once, a free press moderated between the radical factions (some call them “loudmouths”) in D.C. and the different State governments.

      Today, you only get what they want to serve up (some call it B.S.) in the form of consolidated corporate commercial broadcasting. “But wait….there’s more…” As a former journalist, I’m not only offended by the low-brow patter of mainstream “journalism”, I’m also out of
      work because of my “old school” ethical standards.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      I cannot see what you are complaining about…  The Congress is doing exactly what it is being paid to do:   represent the best interests of its corporate benefactors…disregard the needs of the Nation, and the middle class…and all the while pretend to serve the electorate.  

      We have no representation….it is all pretend…and political theater.

    • Fredlinskip

        There are still a high percentage of Americans, after 30 years of disastrous Reaganomic experiment, that still choose to believe that if we just continue to find ways to find ways to funnel resources to the richest few, that all will be peachy. And they vote.Borrow and Spend. Brilliant!Why?    Americans not intelligent? Not reasonable? Easily manipulated by the privileged “greed is good “ crowd who best gamed the system during that period? Do they choose simply not to be informed?Leaders? Leaders do not vote 99% of the time with their political party on all issues. A monkey can do that. Leaders actually talk to each other in a constructive open way in an attempt to make informed decisions. There are very few leaders in congress and especially in GOP. Look at the GOP presidential potentials to get some idea. Go Michelle Bachmann go! (talk about brainless monkeys).

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Stockman’s ideas are pretty spot on in my view. Except I would not means test SS. I think the income level should be raised.
    All the Bush tax cuts should be stopped, cut the military by at least a third or more if we can afford it. Mind you I wonder what will happen if we  add tens of thousands of unemployed military and other people to the already huge amount that are unemployed. Austerity might sound like good game, but we could end with a lot of civil strife. This is a real huge problem that is has to be the crisis of our times. Between what Mr. Stockman is taking about and health care, which is was not really touched on much, we are in for a rough ride it seems. Fasten your seat-belts…

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Cut defense by half at least. Can you think of any good reason for us to have over 200 military bases around the globe? Plus tens of thousands of troops in Japan, Germany and Korea?  End the no bid billion dollar plus contracts to the likes of Halliburton, Blackwater, or Xe, or whater name this mercinary operation is called today. Its very existence is a threat to the Nation.

      • Jim in Omaha

        That expense would be of tremendous benefit to our country if those people were not deployed a long ways away, assigned at huge expense to achieve a literally impossible task, where petroleum and logistical support war profiteers are the primary beneficiaries.  Look up where that $1million per troop really goes.

        If we paid them to build infrastructure, support the education and medical care systems, etc., at public expense, we would create a lot of new jobs in our country.  And none of them would be more war profiteers.  They would be construction materials and support, design, etc.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Yes indeed. We can rebuild Baghdad, and Kabul…while our own cities are decaying. Rebuild Detroit first, to heck with these foreign mis-adventures. Thanks to George Bush..who ought to be in prison.  

  • William

    After hearing Senator Reid defend spending money on cowboy poetry I can’t help but think we pay too much in taxes already.

  • Stef

     Mr.Stockman is wrong on two important points:
    1. The Reagan “Revolution” was a brainchild of Ms.Thatcher and 
    was designed for GB,then in the pits.
    2. The reason the US broke even (how smartly put.A real politician
    Mr. Stockman.),after the second WW,was the huge credit taken up by 
    the government to create jobs (credit amounting three times that of
    the GDP ).This debt was paid off in five years.(This is a precedent that
    does not exist,according to Mr Stockman.)

    I am sure Mr.Stockman know his history and presents things that suits
    his “taste”.
    But I did not hear anybody objecting to this.

    You could start with your roads.
    If the pot holes do not open your eyes,perhaps they will make you cry
    for the “good old roads” or at least swear.



    • Utahowl

      Agree, Stef.  Stockman painted “spending” as giving money for consumerism – “another Coach bag.”  Krugman & others have repeatedly called for spending on INFRASTRUCTURE.  Why aren’t we talking about CCC 2.0 (Civilian Conservation Core, for those too young to remember!)

  • Logan

    I suspect that long before I retire, China will force us to drop our
    military expenses to defensive only levels (like Japan after WWII) as
    part of a debt restructuring treaty.

    That won’t change the fact that the military industry we’ve created is a monster.  And when can no longer pay the bill, who can say for sure which heel the monster will go to when called?  The history of fallen empires is not on our side.

  • jocelyn thomas

    Shared sacrifice is an obvious value.  But the Republicans will never have that spirit. That should also extend to carpooling.  The pain at the gas pump should only be greater.  That is much needed sacrifice too.  

  • Toni Kirkland

    American people have gotten spoiled. We want our gas to be $3, our our health care, our vacations.  We’ve gotten hooked on credit. Never mind the rest of the world. If the economic crises hadn’t come along we’d still be spending. I hate it when our politicians fib about the facts to sell their position and it doesn’t really fix anything. I want President Obama to take a stronger stand on cuts and taxes. I agree, cut the military without cutting employment, reform taxes that level the playing field and share the sacrifice. What will happen will be the American people will get nickeled and dimed to death with local taxes. My city doesn’t mind raising my water tax, my electric tax, my school tax, my dog tag tax, my drivers license fees. 

    During WW 2 everybody pitched in, in every way. That’s how dire things could get. 

  • Jjseven

     No where in the discussion is the cost of the war in lives and treasure, the Bush tax cuts, the unfunded prescription addition to medicare, the Wall St. bailout, the regressive nature of SS taxes with a ~102k limit and the fact that coming into the new century, the budgets were starting to be balanced.  It’s easy to pick on medicare and ss because there are no lobbyists paid lots of cash to arm twist about them.  What dis-ingenuity to only talk increasing burdens on the poor and middle class.  Shame on our corrupt leaders on both sides of the aisle.

    • UtahOwl

      Sorry, Jjseven: Stockman said directly that we have a tremendously outsized, expensive military that needs to be cut back hard.

      • Mark S.

        Like I said, by half, for starters.  We have enough nukes to destroy the world 10 times over.  Nobody is going to risk a frontal attack.  Terrorism is more effectively attacked as a multinational police problem, as proven time and time again.  And as for the endless series of brushfire wars that we continually seem to be getting involved in, let them eat each other’s young without our involvement.  I just don’t care anymore… 

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    The interview with Stockman, happily, was useful.

    I appreciated his point of view, but didn’t agree with everything.

    Raising taxes across the board:  YES.
    Cutting Defense:  YES.
    Austerity:  NO. 

    • Mark S.

      Cut defense by half for starters.  Then begin the conversation about other austerity measures.

  • John Myers

    Healthcare costs are increasing annually by leaps and bounds, and as Gail mentioned, the Healthcare overhaul doesn’t address that problem. This has been creating a major strain on our country for decades, and I would speculate, is one factor in pushing jobs overseas.
    It has had a cascading effect on our economy for a long time.
    David Stockman appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher a few months ago and his clarity on healthcare in America was impressive. He said that we don’t have healthcare in America, we have a ‘Sickcare Cartel.’ Pretty damning, and he’s right. This is what we get with a for-profit medical system, and our steady diet of fake food is driving us off a cliff.
    My OnPoint dream team to tackle this discussion would be science journalist Gary Taubes, Stockman and maybe Michael Pollan. And of course, news analyst Jack Beatty.

    • Mark S.

       I agree, but I have one probing and fundamental question about healthcare costs.  Why?  Precisely why are healthcare costs rising at the rate they have been in recent years?  Somebody?  Anybody?  Buehler?

  • Buzz Arledge

    Fantastic description of our financial status. Totally understandable and workable if pursued. David Stockman should get a “STANDING OVATION” from the entire nation!!!!!!! 

  • Anonymous

    Some questions not addressed by Stockman, or On Point:

    Why is it always about public debt, never about private debt?  Why is public debt bad, private debt good? Why does the government pay interest on borrowed money created by banks, when the Constitution gives the money creating power to Congress alone? Why is there any debt at all?  Why aren’t deficits funded by printing Greenbacks, which would be far less inflationary than banks creating a multiple of the deficit as bank loans?
    Why does almost everyone, Stockman and Stiglitz included, think we have a stable system that badly needs fixing, rather than a system incapable of being fixed because it is inherently unstable, bound to crash? 
    What about the profound growth of inequality? What about Dick Durbin’s contention that all of DC is owned by the bankers?
    How much crop can a sharecropper share?  How much of GNP can be paid out to non-productive coupon clippers? Doesn’t our money and banking system need total debt, public and private, to keep growing forever? Isn’t this impossible? What happens when total debt hits its limit? (It’s now
    $600,000 per family of four.)
    Why does On Point rely on economists who failed to foresee the big crash? Why don’t we hear from Michael Hudson, Randy Wray, Ann Pettifor and Steve Keen, who won the Revere Prize for best warning us of what was coming? 

    Stockman repeats the conventional wisdom that we must cut Social Security to rein in deficits. So how much has SS contributed to the deficit, or to the resultant national debt?  (Answer: Zero. Zip. Nada.)

    • Utahowl

      And to TomHagen’s point about SS: The reason Social Security is now in economic trouble – after the 1983 bipartisan fix (during Mr. Stockman’s tenure in the Reagan Admin.) which was supposed to ensure the solvency of SS in the future – is that THE PROJECTED INCREASES IN AMERICAN WAGES THE FORMULA DEPENDED ON HAVE NOT MATERIALIZED.  Why?  Because of (a) the rising cost of healthcare, which has kept wages static for over 25 yrs; and (b) the outsourcing of huge numbers of manufacturing jobs. So…whose fault is is that Social Security is now in trouble? Answer: Us. “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

      • Anonymous

        But SS is NOT in trouble.  True, the current projection of future benefits says the trust fund set up under Reagan and O’Neil will run out years hence.  But the percentage of those future benefits projected to be covered kept increasing during the Bush years, would have gone to 100% long before the dreaded depletion date – which therefore would never have arrived.  Same now, I believe. (During Bush, it was about 75%, increasing 2-3% per year – so the projected shortfall would be gone in about 8-12 years, long before the projected depletion date.) 

        Also: benefits increase FASTER than the CPI, since they are based on GNP, which rises faster, in part because inequality is increasing, the wealthy are taking more and more of the GNP.  High wage earners don’t pay their share, due to the salary cutoff.  I understand that if benefits were to be frozen today, but still adjusted for inflation, again, the trust fiund balance would never go to zero, even as projected today.

        So the “fact” that SS is “in trouble” and needs to be “fixed” just ain’t so.  This is a lie successfully propounded by those who have always wanted to do away with SS.  It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it.

        Medicare is a different story.  For one thing, the “invisible hand” so admired by free marketers pushes private insurers to marking up medical treatments by 45%, to pay for the denial clerks needed to minimize total costs, including the cost of denials. With private insurance, it pays to spend money denying coverage, hence the unaccepatable markups. Increased competition will NOT cut this markup. The famous invisible hand insures it will stay large, contrary to the notions of the free marketers. The only fix: single payer, plus a departure from the current  practice of  fee-for-service. See Dr. Arnold Relman.

  • Fredlinskip

    There are still a high percentage of Americans, after 30 years of disastrous Reaganomic experiment, that still choose to believe that if we just continue to find constructive ways to find ways to funnel all resources to the richest few, that all will be peachy. And they vote.Borrow and Spend. Brilliant!Why? Americans not intelligent? Not reasonable? Easily manipulated by the privileged “greed is good “ crowd who best gamed the system during that period? Do they choose simply not to be informed?Leaders? Leaders do not vote 99% of the time with their political party on all issues. A monkey can do that. Leaders actually talk to each other in a constructive open way in an attempt to make informed decisions. There are very few leaders in congress and especially in GOP. Look at the GOP presidential potentials to get some idea. Go Michelle Bachmann go!- talk about brainless monkeys.

  • Bstfren

    It’s so tiring to hear about the greed that goes on in this Nation. 
    Reagan wasn’t the saint everyone now makes him out to be. As a kid I remember how much he was disliked for his courting of the wealthy.
    Are there any politicians that really care about the poor of this world?
    No, I don’t think so…they just care about themselves, once in power they forget their promises…made to those of us that vote.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      They also care about the corporate money which flows to them like a river. This is the corrupting influcence which has destroyed our democracy.  

      • L.O.

        what i don’t understand is, the “poor” people - the most deploited by the system, are mostly to vote Republican!

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      They also care about the corporate money which flows to them like a river. This is the corrupting influcence which has destroyed our democracy.  

    • Evan Moleri

      I think Robert Kennedy came to care for the poor and suffering following his brother’s death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315753985 Christopher L. Fillie

    Thank you for a breath of sanity in the midst of the sound and fury…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315753985 Christopher L. Fillie

    The answer, not covered on this segment, lies within the re-skilling of America and the re-localization and food-security/urbanhomesteading movements. I hate to say it, but he is right. We gotta buckle down and learn how to work and be productive (and be members of an interdependent local community) again. Globalization of information, localization of energy.

  • VicToriA

    And screw the bastards who have been wallowing in dough made on all our backs!

  • voffray

    (If) and when the Federal Reserve finally has the deficit contractors on site to raise the debt ceiling even higher…(with smoke, & toke, & ?)
    Perhaps, at the same time, they should also mount a full picture mirror so that we all can have the satisfaction, & pleasured view of watching to see exactly who is getting screwed ~> & who is going down ! >

    Meet me at the bottom __ no time to lose — take your blues away —                                         (BMc)

    Stay Tuned…Because this is (not) Entertainment!

    & The Revolution Will (not) Be Televised (GSH)

  • DB

    On of the last people I would take economic advice from would be David Stockman.  He was a slick shyster of the first order and saw the bankruptcy and precipitous demise of Collins and Aikman (he was the CEO and its parent/related fund Heartland Industrial Properties which lost hundreds of millions- destroying not only the company and the jobs of those in it but also bankrupting a large number of its suppliers and destroying those jobs in the process.  He was lucky the US Attorney gave him a pass.  If he is so smart … could he run a liquor store?

  • Lstauduhar

    I want Stockman to run for President!

  • L.O.

    Stockman’s ideas make a lot of sense to me! I think he should try to run for the President for 2012 just to get the message out!

  • Jon

    How about not raising the debt ceiling? More debt is just digging us deeper into this hole. Step one, stop digging.

    • ulTRAX

       Sure, we need to stop digging the hole we’re in. But from your post I assume you believe in the Right’s Flat Earth Economics… that we only have a spending problem not a revenue problem. Rational people know we have BOTH.

      Yes, government spending has to go up to prevent a recession from spiraling out of control. That deficit spending won’t last forever. But we DO have a revenue problem. Bush ran on platform of preserving the surplus to pay down debt. Here’s one of his press releases. http://romcache.tripod.com/bush2000.pdf

      If Clinton era tax policy just got us to the point where we had some surplus revenue to pay down debt, why did Bush push through round after round of tax cuts even as that surplus evaporated? The answer is simple. Those tax cuts were passed to PREVENT paying down debt. These tax cuts and the wild Bush/GOP spending were designed to create MORE debt. Why? To “starve the beast”… to use massive debt as a pretense to abolish or weaken programs the far right of GOP detests… Social Security, Medicare, etc. If you look at inflation-correct (constant) dollars revenue has been virtually flat for the past 10 years. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist01z3.xls

      By blindly parroting the GOP line, you’re not just enabling this strategy, you’re allowing those who deliberately sabotaged the finances of our government to escape all culpability for what we should all consider a crime against our nation and future taxpayers who will have to pick up the tab for our irresponsibility.

  • Kfcl33

    Regarding the woman whose husband is a military officer and mentioned that their net worth in is the millions.  Tom’s response: “You certainly didn’t gain that wealth from military service.”  Yes, they probably did.  The military’s officer corps is very well compensated.  An O3 (average of ~25 – 30 years old, lower/middle management) has a compensation package of ~$80,000-$100,000 when all is said an done.  O4, O5 and up and compensation is increased.  That combined with steady work over several years and purchase of a few houses in the right location prior to the housing bubble and you’ve got a net worth in the millions.  An officer career is by no means easy work, requires sacrifice, can be difficult for families, and can be dangerous at times but is a well compensated. 

  • ulTRAX

    Reading the post of our Right wing friends I find it amusing that they believe the House GOPers are gutsy fiscal conservatives delivering a stern message America needs to hear. Clearly they have no idea what fiscal conservatism is. These people are the opposite. They refuse to make our generation take responsibility for our own spending. They have shown NO inclination to cut anything but Democratic programs. They want all new spending to be budget neutral… but exempt new tax cuts from the same requirement as if deficits created by irresponsible tax cuts are not really deficits. They even opposed abolishing the tax credit for companies to move US factories offshore!  What the GOP is doing is the end game of the “starve the beast” strategy… trying to exploit the deficit/debt problems to weaken or abolish programs like Medicare. It was never a platform they could be honest about so for 30 years the GOP sabotaged revenue by the backdoor hoping for an eventual  budget crisis.  These Tea Party GOPers are not fiscal conservatives… nor are they gutsy heroes. They are intellectually stunted rabid ideologues throwing tantrums if they cannot have everything their way… even if their way is madness.

  • Vic

     Actually, once the debt ceiling has been raised, & the full picture mirror has finally been installed, we can all watch & anticipate the pleasure of the view ~ Those teasing moments in our casino, porno economy when the stakes are high, & members swell, & nipples plump erect ~>
    The wheel spins, & the ball will drop_ _ _ . & we all can witness who is getting screwed, & who is going down for the best suck job you’ve ever had !!! 

    This job sucks.

  • Pingback: Barney Frank’s back to his old self, provocative and, this time, unsettling by Marjorie Arons-Barron | richardhowe.com

  • MichSeag

    As a self-avowed Eisenhower-Republican (making me a leftist Marxist by today’s Republican standards) I have long been a fan of Mr Stockman. I do find it quite interesting that he – the architect of Reaganomics – now finds himself resoundingly to the left of his party on most matters of economics. While it is true that Stockman shares in the belief of limited government, there is precious little else where he is in agreement with his party when it comes to macroeconomics.

    I strongly urge listeners to read “The Triumph of Politcs”. In my opinion, this book does more to frame our current economic dilema in it’s honest historical roots than any book that has been written from any Ivory Tower at Harvard or University of Chicago in the last 30 years!

  • Slipstream

    I really like this guy.  He is a moderate Republican – a bit dour perhaps, but an honest, sensible, straight-shooter.  America needs more like him.  Unfortunately the conservatives will probably condemn him as a heretic, and call for his hide. 

  • Anonymous


    30 years ago Stockman as considered a VERY conservative Republican. That he is seen as moderate today tells you just how far the Republican party has lurched to the right. If Reagan were alive today he’d surely say, “damed if those republicans didn’t leave me too!l

  • Anonymous


    30 years ago Stockman as considered a VERY conservative Republican. That he is seen as moderate today tells you just how far the Republican party has lurched to the right. If Reagan were alive today he’d surely say, “damed if those republicans didn’t leave me too!l

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