Jack Kemp was one of the first names that I became familiar with when I first started to get interested in politics. I was too young to remember him as a football player, but I was very familiar with the name because it was attached to a piece of legislation that helped save this country from ruin: the Kemp-Roth tax plan slashed income taxes dramatically, and lifted the nation from the stagnant cesspool of the 1970s into the economic bonanza of the 1980s.
As one of the first American politicians to make the strong case for tax cuts as an engine of economic growth, and as one of the first to embrace supply-side economics, Kemp was an enormous influence on the former governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Reagan had run for President in 1976 as a standard conservative Republican, interested in fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. It was Jack Kemp, among others including Arthur Laffer, who convinced Reagan that massive tax cuts would spur enormous economic growth. The taxes were cut in the grip of a massive recession, and the economic boom times followed shortly afterwards. It is too bad that not everyone has learned that lesson. Jack Kemp, RIP.