I’ve raved here before about the great new Bill Moyers show on PBS and encourage DM readers not to miss it. Last week’s episode with Reagan administration economic adviser and former Treasury department official, Bruce Bartlett, and attorney/activist/pundit Heather McGhee, the Washington, DC director of liberal think-tank Demos, knocked the ball out of the park again. I’m a week late on this, but better late than never…
The way the show aired had the Heather McGhee interview first, and the Bruce Bartlett interview second, but I’d suggest watching them in the reverse order because so much of what Bartlett talks about is “diagnostic” and much of what McGhee discusses is “prescriptive.” That there is approximately a 30-year spread in their respective ages provides an additional, unspoken context. The widescreen generational perspective here is simply priceless. You WILL be smarter after you watch these interviews, I guarantees it.
First Bruce Bartlett: In recent years, Bruce Bartlett has been a harsh, harsh critic of the economic policies of George W. Bush and the Tea party’s know-nothingness (he’s not much a fan of the Democrats, either, I should add). In recent months he’s been in the news for calling Texas Governor Rick Perry an “an idiot” on CNN, adding “and I don’t think anybody would disagree with that.”
In this interview, Bartlett, who began his Washington career first working for Congressman Ron Paul and then Jack Kemp, and who was an extremely influential figure in the “supply-side” economics debate, lets it fuckin’ rip, but in a very measured, dignified, highly informed manner. He’s not just an economist, he’s an historian as well. And he’s worked at the top levels of two Republican administrations. Here, Bartlett flat out calls “bullshit” on what’s going on now. It’s nothing short of amazing to hear someone say the things Bartlett says in this interview on American television.
The times they are a (still) changin’. What would a Tea party Republican make of the things Bartlett talks about here?!?!? I would imagine that it would cause their brains to spark, sputter & smoke!
Bill Moyers talks with conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who wrote “the bible” for the Reagan Revolution, worked on domestic policy for the Reagan White House, and served as a top treasury official under the first President Bush. Now he’s a heretic in the conservative circles where he once was a star. Bartlett argues that right-wing tax policies—pushed in part by Grover Norquist and Tea Party activists—are destroying the country’s economic foundation.
Heather McGhee interview still to come in separate post.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Why Conservative and Liberals See the World Differently