His greatest contributions in the 1970s were teaching the Republican Party to be idea oriented optimistic and committed to economic growth instead of devoted to austerity.
Only Ronald Reagan was more important in shaping modern conservatism.
As a Congressman from Buffalo, New York from 1971 to1989 Kemp's devotion to the idea that lower taxes would generate economic growth was put into practice by a Democrat-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate during Ronald Reagan's first term when tax rates were rolled back about 25 percent across-the-board.
In spite of dire predictions from the Left, inflation which, under Jimmy Carter had exploded to over 13 percent a year, collapsed to about four percent. Not only that, but the proportion of income taxes paid by middle class wage-earners decreased by about 32 percent while the proportion of income taxes paid by the wealthiest tax payers increased by about 20 percent.
According to a Joint Economic Committee of Congress report in 1996 looking back at what was known as the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut, the reason was "Lower top marginal tax rates had encouraged these taxpayers to generate more taxable income."
Even President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers in wrote in a 1994 report: "It is undeniable that the sharp reduction in taxes in the early 1980s was a strong impetus to economic growth."
Jack Kemp: Professional quarterback. Congressman. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Defender of minority rights. American.
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