Learn more about Jude Wanniski
Jude Thaddeus Wanniski (June 17, 1936, Pottsville, Pennsylvania – August 29, 2005, Morristown, New Jersey) was a journalist, conservative commentator, and economic commentator. He is perhaps best known as the associate editor of The Wall Street Journal from 1972 to 1978. In 1976 Wanniski coined the term supply-side economics to distinguish the revival in classical economic thought from the more dominant "demand-side" Keynesian and monetarist theories.
His 1978 book, The Way The World Works initiated a revival in classical economics and was named one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th century by National Review magazine. It documented his theory that the U.S. Senate's floor votes on the Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation coincided day-to-day with the Wall Street stock market Crash of 1929. Wanniski consistently advocated the reduction of trade barriers, the elimination of capital gains taxes, and a return to the gold standard.
He was an adviser to Ronald Reagan from 1978 to 1981, and designed the Reagan tax cuts during his first term in office.
In 1978 Wanniski started Polyconomics, a business focused on providing investment advice based on political and economic analysis. In 1997 Jude Wanniski founded the online learning center known as the “Supply-Side University”. Both Polyconomics and Supply-Side University closed their doors on June 30, 2006, ten months after Wanniski's death.
In 1998, Wanniski attempted to foster dialogue between Louis Farrakhan and those who had labeled him anti-Semitic. He arranged for Farrakhan to be interviewed by reporter Jeffrey Goldberg who had written for the Jewish weekly The Forward and the New York Times. Since the extensive interview was never published in either publication, Wanniski decided to post the transcript on his website in the context of a memo to Senator Joseph Lieberman.
Over the years, Wanniski has repeatedly emphasized high tax rates as the cause of poverty in Africa. Wanniski collected details about the tax structures of various countries in Africa, and explained how this was limiting the progress of the poor. These observations ended up as part of an episode of The West Wing.
Wanniski is also notable for his journalism on the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. As early as 1997, Wanniski posted columns on his website alleging that after November 1991, UNSCOM inspectors had never found WMD in Iraq, and in fact had found and destroyed all of Iraq's WMD programs with the help of Saddam's regime in the months following the first Gulf War. Wanniski not only recognized the prospective importance of the Iraqi WMD question before other journalists, he argued correctly that Iraq didn't have any WMD and that the U.S. would never allow UNSCOM to end the inspections regime no matter what Iraq did.
He became a somewhat controversial figure in the conservative movement at the beginning of 2003 when he vocally opposed the impending US war with Iraq. On October 27, 2004, he publicly denounced George W. Bush, saying that "Mr. Bush has become an imperialist — one whose decisions as commander-in-chief have made the world a more dangerous place". Eventually Wanniski endorsed the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, although he clearly preferred the Republican platform on issues related to taxation.
Wanniski died of a heart attack on August 29, 2005, while working at his desk. His last published work was an article penned for the 2005 IHS Press anti-war anthology, Neo-Conned!.
Wanniski held a B.A. in political science and an M.S. in journalism from the University of California, Los Angeles.