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The Triumph Of Politics: The Inside Story of the Reagan Revolution Paperback – January, 1987

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This memoir is a bitter review of Stockman's years in the Reagan Administration. It is a book with few heroes and many fools. The author claims naivete as his excuse. Although the narrative is somewhat confusing, overall, its backstage view of policymaking leaves one discouraged, even frightened by the superficiality. The book is a necessary library purchase for two reasons: the notoriety of the book and its author, and the insider's view of key policies still in place and key personalities still in power. Richard C. Schiming, Economics Dept., Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David A. Stockman was elected as a Michigan congressman in 1976, and joined the Reagan White House in 1981 as budget director. During nearly two decades at the Blackstone Group, where he was one of the early partners, and at Heartland Industrial Partners, a firm he founded, Stockman was a private equity investor. Born in Fort Hood, Texas, Stockman now lives in Connecticut. He is the author of The Great Deformation: How Crony Capitalism Corrupted Free Markets and Democracy.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm); Reprint edition (January 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380703114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380703111
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 109 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's unfortunate that a couple of my fellow reviewers let their partisan ire blind them to the valuable lessons in national fiscal policy in this book. Stockman's basic thesis is that the supply-side revolution had three main components:(1) a large tax cut package, (2) "painful" spending cuts, and (3) a hard-money monetary policy. Stockman makes a very persuasive argument that the Reagan Administration was unwilling to soften hard-line stance on the tax cut when it was obvious that (2) was not being taken care of and (3) was inconsistent with this policy. Even when the dangers of this course became clear, the Administration shut its eyes to reality and hoped for the best.
Contrary to the reviewer below, I don't think Stockman argues that the Laffer curve was "discredited" in an intellectual sense, but rather that it was only applicable in an inflationary economy; Paul Volcker's tightening actions at the Federal Reserve denied this crucial condition. As to the reviewer with the childish "liberal propaganda" claim, Stockman clearly makes the point that Republicans and Democrats alike were unwilling to make the drastic spending cuts needed to offset the revenue loss. (And regardless of your political affiliation, I'm not sure how you can defend the economic wisdom of a president who doesn't understand such rudimentary concepts as the difference between current and constant dollars). And as to the idea that Rosy Scenario wasn't all that important, how else would you explain that the mounting debt feared by Stockman actually materialized? Say what you will, Stockman's predictions turned out to be right. It would be wrong to characterize Stockman's book as an attack on Republicans, or supply-side economics per se. It is rather a warning to would-be ideologues who would attempt to impose their dreams on an uncooperative world, a lesson that both liberals and conservatives should take to heart.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By on September 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
David Stockman, the former head of the OMB (1980-1986), does an outstanding job of explaining the government's inability to control the explosive growth in national debt levels. In Stockman's memoirs there are no heroes or villians, just varying gradations of politicians dedicated to "bringing home the bacon" to their districts while piously proclaiming their allegiance to balancing the budget and restoring fiscal sanity to the political process. Republicans are portrayed as replicas of their Democratic counterparts, equally adept at seizing national assets for their paymasters. Perhaps Stockman's greatest sin, in the eyes of his former conservative comrades, was his depiction of Ronald Reagan as an old, harmless softy whose refusal to demand discipline from his staff, party, and the American people helped contribute to the deficit chaos that ensued during his tenure.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If I had to describe this book in one sentence it would be Hunter Thompson meets Alan Greenspan. The author had a writing style that was machine gun fast with the sentences almost slapping you to attention. But before you jump into the book I would suggest digging up those old college Finance, Accounting and Economics textbooks because this author does not provide a basic course in government budgetary matters, you have to earn this books respect. The uniqueness of the book does not stop there; I have never read a book with more nicknames and odd adjectives used in describing people and events. It was almost if the author had some odd personality defect that forced him to ascribe nicknames to people.
The author covers his years in the OMB for Reagan, but to be fair he really spends about 80% of the book on the first budget and the process he went through to get it passed into law. If you are a fan of detail, this book has it by the bushel full. He takes the reader into every meeting, phone conversation and thought about the process. You see just exactly how much horse-trading and arm-twisting there is in this process and you come away feeling a little unclean. This is where the author finally comes to his point, which is that, the Reagan revolutions plan of dramatically reduced tax rates and government services failed. The tax cuts happened, but the spending reductions never had a chance. This, of course, created the massive government deficits that we have been living with for the past 20 plus years. Overall this is the most interesting part of the book. His realization that the budgets he worked on and the overall outcome could be more harmful to the long term interests of the US then if the old system would have been left in place.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
David Stockman's "The Triumph of Politics" is a sober look at how the chronic budget deficits of the past quarter-century came to be.

Stockman was the OMB director for Ronald Reagan in Reagan's first term. The president's large tax cut passed in 1981. However, when it came time to pass the commensurate spending cuts to ensure that budget deficits did not go into orbit, Stockman was dismayed to learn just how tenacious the special interests were in defending all of their spending--only a few token cuts here and there could be made without committing political suicide.

Stockman's book is still relevant today. Given that a) the Baby Boomers have now begun retiring, b) we ran large budget deficits even during the blazing economy of 2003-07 before the Boomers began retiring in earnest and putting more pressure on Social Security and Medicare, c) voters really, really, don't like tax increases, and d) voters really, really, don't like spending cuts, unbearable pressure will soon be put on the system. One wonders how the budget conundrum will be solved during the 2010s, when a much larger percentage of the Boomers will have retired and the nation's fiscal day of reckoning will no longer be something that can be kicked down the road.
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