As he became president in 1981, Ronald Reagan called in a 34-year-old congressman from Michigan named David Stockman, considered by many to be the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment.
Stockman had impressed the new president by humbling the old man in practice debates before Reagan took on President Carter back in September.
“Dave,” said Reagan, “I’ve been thinking about how to get even with you for that thrashing you gave me in the debate rehearsals. So I’m sending you to the OMB (Office of Management and Budget).” Commented David Brinkley of NBC News: “He’s so fast with big figures that he scares old Washington hands.”
Stockman had only days to come up with a balanced budget that fulfilled Reagan’s campaign promises to cut taxes and build up the military. He was fast, but not necessarily accurate or truthful. Not by a long shot. What he did was use a pre-Reagan-projected budget with a $75 billion deficit the first year. But he already knew the real figure would be more than $600 billion after totaling Reagan’s new programs. On the revenue side, he used asterisks instead numbers. Lots of asterisks.
Stockman retired after four years, wrote a book, a confessional of sorts, went to Wall Street and made a lot of money. He turned down interview requests and kind of faded away.truthdig
Until last week, when he wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times. The headline was: “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan.”
As they say, "it takes one to know one.