BOOK REVIEW: A history liberals didn’t expect

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When he became president, he followed through. His program aimed at steep cuts in personal- and income-tax rates, as well as corporate and capital-gains tax rates.

Kennedy wanted to lower them all, writes Mr. Stoll. He made the same argument Reagan would make in 1980, but (ironically) with precisely the opposite partisan reaction: Many Republicans (and some Democrats) thought Kennedy’s plan was reckless, but centrist Democrats and a few farsighted Republicans agreed with their president.

The tax cuts’ journey toward enactment was finally authorized by Kennedy following a debate within his administration. When the measure became law after the assassination, the nation embarked on a path toward a robust economy lasting for years.

Some things about his White House tenure did not please conservatives. They are for another day. Overall, Kennedy comes off as far more conservative than liberal.

Why then does the myth of JFK the “liberal” persist? The author cites the media and biased historians, as well as friends of the president who are partial to “history” as they wish it had been.

Wes Vernon is a writer and broadcast journalist whose career ended with 25 years at CBS Radio. His column appears at

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