Wanniski, Jude 1936–2005

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Wanniski, Jude 1936–2005

(Jude Thaddeus Wanniski)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 17, 1936, in Pottsville, PA; died of heart failure, August 29, 2005, in Morristown, NJ. Economist, journalist, consultant, and author. Wanniski was a famous and influential economic theorist best remembered for devising the theory of supply-side economics. Interestingly, he came from a family of dedicated communists, though Wanniski would become a much more conservative thinker. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned a B.A. in political science in 1958 and an M.S. in journalism in 1959. During the early 1960s, he was a political columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal. Moving to Washington, DC, he reported for the National Observer from 1965 to 1972. In 1972 he formulated his theory of supply-side economics, postulating that when tax breaks are given to wealthy individuals and businesses, the money saved is reinvested into the economy to the benefit of everyone. This theory was soon adopted by many conservative politicians, especially during the administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but Democrats on occasion also accepted the theory. After joining the Wall Street Journal staff in 1972, Wanniski worked there for the next six years, but was fired in 1978 for overtly campaigning for a Republican candidate. That year, Wanniski founded his economic consulting firm, Polyconomics, in Morristown, New Jersey. He also published his influential book The Way the World Works (1978; revised edition, 1983), which defends classical economics and explains the causes of the 1929 stock market crash. In his later years Wanniski began to moderate his views, proposing a new singletax-rate theory in 1996. What was even more shocking to those who knew him was his support in the 1990s of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and, less controversially, Democratic candidate John Kerry in the 2004 presidential elections. Wanniski also later published the book The Last Race of the Twentieth Century (1999).



Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2005, p. B11.

New York Times, August 31, 2005, p. C16.

Polyconomics Web site, http://www.polyconomics.com/ (November 8, 2005).

Washington Post, August 31, 2005, p. B6.