Ross Perot RIP

Writes Greg Privette:

Hi Lew,

I always admired Perot as an entrepreneur and political maverick. I did wind up a little at odds with his economic philosophies during his campaign though. My recollections on this may be a little distorted by time. I remember him as making a very big issue of the deficit, and rightly so. However, he had what to me was a critical error in his political and economic thinking. He believed that the deficit itself was the number one threat to economic growth. To me he was focused too much on a symptom and not enough on root cause. He would sometimes acknowledge spending as the underlying cause but seemed to believe we had to cure the deficit first, and that would allow more time to tackle the problem of excess spending. His emphasis was always on the deficit. The final thing that drove me away from him as a possible president was when pinned down on how to cure the deficit I believe he suggested a 1.00 per gallon gas tax. If I remember correctly at that time the number of gallons of gas purchased per year at 1.00 per gallon would have just about erased the deficit. I just thought it was very politically naive to think all that additional revenue would be put toward deficit reduction by congress, rather than simply dumped down the government rat hole like every other revenue increase. I also thought it was economically naive to think adding 1.00 to what I recall as being about an .88 per gallon price at the time would not cause more economic issues than the deficit. In thinking about it the real root cause of the deficits isn’t really even spending. The real root cause is giving politicians the nearly unchecked power to spend.