WP: Donald Trump is the ultimate Republican repudiation of Jack Kemp’s legacy

I don’t think Jack Kemp left much of a legacy to repudiate. His tax cuts were largely undone when the Democrats under Clinton took power. What exactly is his legacy? He lost his race for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988 and then he lost in 1996 when he ran as Bob Dole’s running mate in the presidential election.

To compare Kemp with Reagan and Lincoln is ludicrous.

Kemp’s platform could not work in an increasingly non-white America that wanted and needed increased social welfare, policing and prison funds.

In the end, race is more important than tax rates. A white Anglo country with high tax rates will always be more prosperous than a black country with small government.

Economic growth does not increase racial equality, it decreases it. More freedom and the more intelligent will take more advantage. In a free country, smart groups like the Jews and East Asians will in large part run things for their own benefit.

Here’s the money quote from the following essay about Kemp: “Those pleas didn’t translate at the ballot box.”

Washington Post op/ed: Looming over the meeting will be the legacy of the one-time Buffalo Bills quarterback and supply-side conservative hero Jack Kemp.

Kemp was Ryan’s mentor. In detailing to CNN his reasons for withholding his endorsement, Ryan said that Republicans were the “party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp,” implying that Trump was not worthy of their company.

Kemp, though, is recalled as an optimistic man of relentless faith in his most cherished convictions. He was most famous for his proselytizing in support of permanent, across-the-board income tax rate cuts, which he depicted as a virtual panacea for late-1970s’-era stagflation. Kemp insisted that a supply-side policy of tax cuts for all Americans would spark an era of economic growth, increase revenues for the federal government, erase budget deficits and make Americans more free to fulfill their potential.

Ryan has imbibed much of Kemp’s vision and message; Trump threatens to undo the Kempian conservative Republican identity on fiscal issues.

But Trump is a rejection of Kemp on more than economic policy. A leading voice for racial tolerance, Kemp has now been, in essence, repudiated in the most forceful terms by the Republican Party’s new standard-bearer.

Kemp’s legacy on the question of racial and economic equality is not uncomplicated. The 1981 Kemp-Roth tax act cut the marginal income tax rate by 23 percent over three years, providing substantial windfalls to the wealthiest Americans and contributing to widening income inequality that is partly responsible for fueling our current distempers. Yet at the same time, Kemp’s anti-tax crusade gave Reagan and other Republicans a model of how to push tax cuts without employing racially demagogic language. In the late 1970s, Reagan attacked government for giving undeserving assistance to a Chicago “welfare queen” and a “strapping young buck,” barely disguised code that prefigured some of Trump’s demagogic vitriol. No fan of welfare or food stamps, Kemp nonetheless criticized social spending in more neutral tones, as “programs that benefit others,” that many Americans were reluctant to pay for. Washington, he said, “has made it increasingly easy to remain unemployed without suffering deprivation,” thereby pinning the blame on government rather than minorities for a flawed system. The effect of his tax policies, of course, would have been as bad for minorities if they’d been sold with racially charged language. But Kemp’s belief in the power of tax cuts to improve all lives was genuine (if misguided and shorn of evidence), and his repudiation of divisive rhetoric mattered.

Kemp’s faith that conservative economic and social policies could promote racial equality was rooted in his years as a professional quarterback.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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