For those not familiar with this story, here's some background. Earlier this month the Tribune-Review reported that South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint would be resigning from the Senate to replace Feulner as President of the Heritage Foundation. According to this piece from Newsmax, this makes for one big happy:
Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner is enthusiastically welcoming the appointment of South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint as his replacement.Do I need to add that Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife is the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees for Heritage and also owns 40% of Newsmax?
In announcing that DeMint will step down from the Senate on Dec. 31 to take over the running of the foundation, Feulner issued the following statement.
“Three years ago, I told the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees that I would step down as president in April of 2013. I urged them to set up a formal succession process and begin a national search.
“During their nationwide search, the Board looked for a successor who would keep Heritage on its course of growth and innovation, and preserve our widely acknowledged status as an institutional center of the conservative movement. And the Board has found a splendid successor.
“I'm delighted to announce that the Board has elected Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina to take over next April as President of The Heritage Foundation.
Nice tight little web of journalismness there, huh? All those connections to Scaife. No mention of them in Scaife's paper...
Anyway, I wanted to point out a few things. I think we can gather where Heyl did his research for his first question:
Q: You shepherded The Heritage Foundation from a nine-member outfit to an organization that employees 275-plus and occupies three Washington, D.C., buildings. Were you confident setting out that you could grow the foundation into what The New York Times once called “the Parthenon of the conservative metropolis”?If you go to Ed Feulner's bio at Heritage, you'll see these two paragraphs at the top:
Edwin J. Feulner’s leadership as President of The Heritage Foundation has transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas and what the New York Times calls “the Parthenon of the conservative metropolis.”Eric, that's some great in-depth research, my friend! Must've taken you all of 6 seconds to find. In touting Heritage, Feulner points out how it became such a powerhouse; credibility, marketing and timeliness.
Under Feulner, Heritage’s presence in Washington grew from a nine-member staff working out of a rented office on Capitol Hill in 1977 to a 275-person organization occupying three office buildings near the U.S. Capitol today.
On its credibility, he responds with this on pointing out some of Heritage's significant achievements:
It‘s been 35 years so I could go through a long, long list. But in the ’80s, it has to be when Ronald Reagan (backed) the anti-missile defense system, or Star Wars, as it was then called, and (the ideas) that tax reform and tax cuts lead to a growing economy.Hmm...so the great achievements are SDI and Trickle-down Economics - but was any of it true?
Well we have the American Physical Society way back in 1987 already doubting the feasibility of the Strategic Defense Initiative and we all know how well Trickle-down works:
The tax cuts came in 1981, Reagan's first year in office. The administration's plan slashed corporate and individual income tax rates, with the biggest cut in the top rate. The Reagan team promised that their tax cuts would jolt the economy back to life because, as the Wall Street Journal's editors put it, "high taxes interfere with natural human creativity and drive." And the true believers went so far as to suggest that the economy would grow fast enough that tax revenues would actually rise, making the tax cuts painless.Yea, great achievements, there Ed.
The results never came close to measuring up to the supply-side rhetoric. For starters, the tax cuts busted the federal budget. The federal deficit ballooned from 2.7% of GDP in 1980 to 6% of GDP in 1983, the largest peacetime deficit in history, and was still 5% of GDP in 1986. Tax revenues did pick up, especially after the 1983 payroll tax increase kicked in, reducing the deficit somewhat. Still, tax revenues grew far more slowly over than the 1980s business cycle (2.5% from 1979 to 1989) than they did in the 1990s business cycle (4.1% from 1989 to 2000).
One bit of early Heritage history not brought up much these days (and a h/t to an astute reader for bringing this to my attention): Roger Pearson. From the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism at Ferris State University:
Fascist ideologist Roger Pearson, a Pioneer Fund beneficiary ($568,000 from 1981-1991) and author of Eugenics and Race, published by Willis Carto's notoriously anti-Semitic Noontide Press, argues that the white race is endangered by inferior genetic stock, but with proper use of modern biological technology "a new super-generation" descended from "only the fittest" of the previous generation can be produced. The first nation to adopt such a scientific breeding program, Pearson contends, "would dominate the rest of the world."After an expose in the Washington Post in May, 1977, Pearson was asked to leave Heritage. Feulner became President of Heritage in 1977 - would've been nice to see a comment on how/why Heritage fired the fascist (maybe even why they hired him in the first place), huh?
In 1965 Pearson became editor of Western Destiny, a magazine established by Carto and dedicated to spreading fascist ideology. Using the pseudonym [link to deposition] of Stephan Langton, Pearson then became the editor of The New Patriot, a short-lived magazine published in 1966-67 to conduct "a responsible but penetrating inquiry into every aspect of the Jewish Question," which included articles such as "Zionists and the Plot Against South Africa," "Early Jews and the Rise of Jewish Money Power," and "Swindlers of the Crematoria."
Despite Pearson's long history of association with neo-Nazi groups, he was appointed in 1977 to the original board of editors of Policy Review, a journal published by the respected Heritage Foundation, a conservative political research organization in Washington, D.C. [Emphasis added.]