David Stockman began his career in Washington as a Congressional assistant in 1970, and in 1976 was elected to the House of Representatives for the first of two terms. He served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1985. Stockman was the chief architect of Reagan’s supply-side, or “trickle-down” economic policies, and as Reagan’s budget director he quickly gained a reputation as a tough negotiator and a ruthless cutter of taxes and government spending. In late 1981, however, he was the subject of a controversial profile in the Atlantic magazine, in which he revealed to reporter William Greider that he was critical of the Reagan budget. He asserted in the article, titled “The Education of David Stockman,” that the huge 1981 tax cut he and Reagan had pushed through Congress “was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top [tax] rate.”
Stockman’s candor regarding the Administration’s loyalty to the wealthiest Americans resulted in a public mea culpa after being famously “taken to the woodshed” by the President. He remained at the OMB until 1985, when he left the public sector to begin a career in investment banking and private equity.
As a private citizen, Stockman has continued to speak his mind as he did when he was interviewed by the Atlantic three decades ago. He is the author of a memoir, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed (1986), an inside look at fiscal policy making in the Reagan years. He is currently at work on a new book, tentatively titled “The Triumph of Crony Capitalism,” to be published in January 2013. In the latter Stockman argues that free market capitalism in the United States has been replaced by “crony capitalism,” a system that favors Wall Street at the cost of middle class Americans, and that is built on the backs of taxpayer-funded bailouts. He has established himself in recent years as an outspoken critic of the Republican party’s fiscal policies, writing in the New York Times in 2010 that the party’s attempts to spare the richest Americans from tax increases “made a mockery of traditional party ideals.”