Judging from the [Republican] candidates’ tax proposals, they seem to believe that the most Reagan-like candidate is the one with the biggest tax cut. But as the person who drafted the 1981 Reagan tax cut, I think Republicans misunderstand the premises upon which Reagan’s economic policies were based and why those policies can’t — and shouldn’t — be replicated today.Although I am skeptical of "supply-side economics" in general, and I don't think that it should be considered a success in the 1980's (see this post, for example) I think Bartlett makes a reasonable case that it made more sense (or at least was less non-sensical) in 1980 than today:
When comparing Reagan’s policies with Republican proposals today, several things stand out. Inflation is low now. We are not looking at “bracket creep” or sharply rising taxes, as we were in the late 1970s. The top income tax rate is 35 percent, half the rate Reagan inherited. And federal revenue is at a 60-year low of about 15 percent of GDP, compared with a post-World War II average of about 18.5 percent.
These differences are essential to understanding why Reagan’s policies worked when they did — and why they are not appropriate today.
All of the evidence tells us that the economy’s fundamental problem today is not on the supply side but the demand side.