The bitter truth was that Ronald Reagan faced an excruciating test
of presidential decision-making. After an exhausting and prolonged
political struggle, he had emerged in July triumphant, having enacted
a generous tax cut for all Americans. Only three months later, he had
to admit that the triumph had been an illusion, when we couldn t win
support for the spending cuts needed ...
support for the spending cuts needed to balance the equation.
Even worse, it had not been his fault. He had been misled by a crew
of overzealous-and ultimately incompetent-advisers. The original
budget plan I had devised for him had been fatally flawed. It is even
harder to eat crow when you haven t cooked it yourself.
The President could run, but he couldn t hide. ~nclo would help
him? Not the Democrats, who were sullen and revengeful; not the
Republicans, who were hunkered down in their separate camps,
frantic and confused. Reagan had one real option: to retreat and give
back part of the huge tax cut we couldn t afford.
But he wouldn t. Ronald Reagan chose not to be a leader but a
politician, and in so doing showed why passion and imperfection,
not reason and doctrine, rule the world. His obstinacy was destined
to keep America s economy hostage to the errors of his advisers for
a long, long time.
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