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Thatcher’s Economic Architect, RIP

Nigel Lawson, who served Margaret Thatcher as her Treasury Secretary, has died at the age of 91. Charles Moore, who Thatcher selected as her authorized biographer, says “Lawson was in many ways the economic architect of Thatcherism”.

One of your HOTLINE editors was in Britain in 1988 on the day Lawson released his budget, which abolished all tax rates above 40%, and cut the basic rate to its lowest level in half a century.

The Daily Telegraph remembers: “Coming just two years after Big Bang (financial deregulation), the defeat of militant trade unionism and a wave of privatizations, his dramatic, jaw-dropping tax reductions….transformed our competitiveness and reputation overseas, helped unleash an entrepreneurial revolution and turned the UK into a magnet for foreign direct investment.”

The Lawson budget was “a vindication of the Laffer Curve. The top 10% of earners had been paying 35 percent of the total income tax taken. Under Lawson’s lower rate that share rose to 48 percent.

Lawson left office in 1989, one year before Thatcher did, with his reputation secure. But he refused to “retire.”  He founded the Global Policy Warming Foundation to refute the most outrageous claims of the climate change movement.

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