Carter-Bush tax rebates:

Here's how to deal with a recession: A federal government which is already spending more than its income should borrow even more money, so as to give lots of people a tax rebate. This is the bipartisan plan of President Bush and Congress. They are taking a leaf from the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

Even accounting for inflation, the Bush-Reid-Pelosi rebate is far more profligate than the proposed Carter rebate of 1977. But the two rebates appear to be based on the same demand-side principles.

President Carter also proposed tax rebates during the 1980 election campaign, as an alternative to Ronald Reagan's calls for tax cuts.

Some of the critics of Carternomics were known as "supply-siders." Ronald Reagan and his supporters argued that the best way to promote economic growth was not for the federal government to give people money, but for the government to cut marginal tax rates for the future, thereby spurring "supply-side" production and investment. The Bush tax cuts of 2001, and much of the tax policy of the rest of the Bush administration, were implementations of supply-side policy.

But the 2008 tax rebate brings us full circle back to 1980, as the final year of the Bush administration increasingly resembles the final year of the Carter administration-- including national malaise, getting tough on Israel but not on Palestinian terrorists, support for the DC handgun ban, the Olympics hosted by a communist regime with contempt for human rights, and a consensus that the current adminstration is lacking in competence.

There are important differences, of course. Including the probability that if the next President is a transformational one, that President will not an ideological successor of the genial, far-right Ronald Reagan, but instead will be the genial, far-left Barack Obama.