It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of Jude Wanniski's sudden passing Monday afternoon. The political economist died of a heart attack at the age of 69.
After coining the phrase "supply-side economics" in 1976 as an editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial pages, Wanniski wrote his seminal book The Way The World Works. Named one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th century by the editors of the National Review, the book revealed Wanniski's discovery of the cause of the Crash of 1929. His lucid reporting that the U.S. Senate's floor votes on the Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation coincided day-to-day with the October 1929 financial market collapse was the first persuasive explanation of that pivotal event, and began the rehabilitation of classical economics that Wanniski dubbed "supply-side" to distinguish from the "demand-side" Keynesian and monetarist theories.
Jude Wanniski pioneered modern supply-side economic theory and developed its practical application as practiced today. He founded Polyconomics, Inc. in 1978 to advise corporate and financial strategists on the impact political and economic events would have on capital markets and on domestic and global economies. Mr. Wanniski's advisory was supplemented by 40 years of earned trust from hundreds of eminently informed individuals in industry and government throughout the world. Skeptical of the forecasting prowess of purely mathematical models, his theory questioned whether mechanical models' doors of perception could fully see what one enlightened human mind can see and interpret.
Mr. Wanniski's clients spoke of him as "One of the great contrarians of his time," "uniquely provocative," "uncompromising," and consistently providing "independent and perceptive views of the monetary, fiscal, and geopolitical environment...having refined the necessary ingredients of classical and behavioral economics to reasonably predict outcomes."
On Wanniski's passing, his mentor, colleague and friend Robert A. Mundell, 1999 Nobel Laureate, observed "It is a great loss."
In his introduction to the fourth edition of Mr. Wanniski's seminal book, The Way The World Works, author, Robert Novak states, "Nobody else, I believe has accomplished what Jude Wanniski has without institutional sponsorship, without formal political or financial power, and with merely will and brainpower...he has not only described but also changed the way the world works. If the doors of power are locked, his ideas have penetrated nevertheless."
In that same 1998 edition, Mr. Wanniski writes, "America stands alone at the top of the world's power pyramid. America has never been better poised than now to become a Good Shepherd. I have tried to use to the fullest the graces and gifts God has given me. I cannot squander those gifts, nor can I let them lie dormant. The Way The World Works was the consequence of my determination to use the gifts that I have received as a child of God living in America, on behalf of all my fellow men. I did not write this book twenty years ago with the expectation that twenty years hence the rich would be richer and the poor, poorer. And they are not. We are all the richer in the accumulation of wisdom that has been added to mankind's stock of knowledge, about how to create wealth and how to destroy it, how to create hope and opportunity and how to stamp it out."
Mr. Wanniski was an adviser to President Ronald Reagan from 1978 to 1981, and designed the Reagan tax cuts that propelled the U.S. economy out of stagflation and led to the great stock market boom that followed. As an advisor, he counseled Democrats as well as Republicans, pro bono, and developed pro-growth strategies for several governments. He believed in the collective wisdom of the electorate. "The electorate, being wiser than any individual in the society, is society's most precious resource. It is the job of the politician to try to divine what it is the electorate wants."
Mr. Wanniski appeared frequently in the broadcast and print media, and wrote daily commentary at Wanniski.com and weekly analysis for Polyconomics clients. He also presided over "Supply-Side University," which has more than 3,000 registered students from around the world. Mr. Wanniski held a B.A. in political science and an M.S. in journalism from UCLA.
Those who would like to share remembrances of Jude and express condolences to his family are welcome to do so by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
May he rest in peace.
It was Jude Wanniski's wish that Polyconomics continue and we will do the utmost to make that happen.