Date: October 8, 2014
Location: IUPUI University Library 4115S (IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute)
“Tax-cutting is such a prominent concern among conservatives today that one could understandably believe it to be central to the meaning of conservatism. Yet this is not the case: during the middle of the twentieth century, conservatives were defined economically less by their hostility to taxes than by their commitment to balancing the federal budget. The shift between these two positions is largely the result of the influence of ‘supply-side’ economics, an intellectual orientation that arose in the 1970s as a response to a very specific set of economic circumstances. Once some conservatives noticed a political constituency for this position, however, their call to relieve the burden of taxes on the citizenry began to harden into an ideological position. The talk will explain the genesis of supply-side economics in the ‘stagflation’ of the 1970s and its conversion from an economic to a political doctrine in subsequent decades.”
Mike O’Connor is the author of A Commercial Republic: America’s Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism (Kansas, 2014). He has also published articles in Contemporary Pragmatism and The Sixties. O’Connor teaches at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was one of the original bloggers at the U.S. Intellectual History website, and served as a founding officer of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History.