The Battle of Two Santas

In June 1976, Jude Wanniski wrote an article titled “Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory” that came to be one of the seminal works to help shape Republican policy.

However, what was a good policy prescription in 1976 is not necessarily a winning strategy applicable to today. After decades of pursuing the tax cutting Santa, there might not still be room to cut taxes further without serious budgetary consequences that would require the kind of painful spending cuts that Wanniski argued hindered the party from achieving electoral success pre-1970s.

In addition to the policy question marks, it is not clear that pursuing either Santa strategy is a surefire political winner today. Indeed, the only clear result is that Governors (the office level we look at) who are lucky enough to utilize both Santas have tremendous reelection success, and Scrooges certainly have a tougher time in their next election.

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