Former Congressman Clarence ‘Bud’ Brown passed away at the age of 94 on Wednesday, according to an obituary posted online at a funeral home in his hometown of Urbana.
The Republican lawmaker represented Ohio’s 7th Congressional District for almost two decades and worked in the Reagan administration, including as Acting Secretary of Commerce.
He was a towering figure at the time, who was known for his free-market ideals and warm manner. He was a regular guest on political news and interview programs, including Milton Friedman’s groundbreaking PBS series, “Free to Choose.”
In one particular appearance, Brown discussed the national economic “psyche” that drives monetary policy, and the burden of inflation on the American economy and more importantly, the people.
In a panel discussion about the “cure for inflation,” Rep. Brown noted “inflation as a national affliction is beginning to have an impact. In Europe and Japan inflation is a part of their national psyche.”
Brown said, “But we in America are impacted by the Depression.”
Our whole tax structure is built on the Depression – the idea of the tax structure in the past is to get the money out of the mattress – where it went after the banks failed and jobs were lost – and out of the woodshed or the tin box out of the back yard and get it out of there and put it into circulation – get it moving.
Get things going and one of the ways to do that is to encourage inflation – because if you held on to the money it would depreciate; and the other way is to tax it away from people and let the government spend it.
Now there’s a reaction to that, and people are beginning to say, “Wait just a minute – we’re not afflicted as much as were we were by Depression; we are now afflicted by inflation, and we like for you to get it under control” – and you can do that in another way, and that – without reducing the money supply radically.
I think the Joint Economic Committee has recommended that we do it gradually. But the way you can do it is to reduce taxes and the impact of government – that is, the weight of government – and increase private savings, so that the private saving can finance some of the debt that you have.
Watch the segment:
In addition to serving as a government official, Brown was a military veteran and successful businessman, operating the family-owned Brown Publishing Co.
Elected leaders across the state honored and celebrated the accomplishments of Brown.
“It was my honor to succeed Congressman Brown as the Representative from the old 7th Congressional District. Bud had represented the District for 17 years, caring deeply about the District and his constituents. He listened to them, and every day, he worked to try and take care of their problems. He had an amazing constituent services team. Bud was one of the leading Republican voices in Congress on energy policy and on economic policy. He understood the importance of cutting government waste and useless regulations, as well as cutting taxes to stimulate economic growth,” said Governor Mike DeWine.
“Having succeeded his dad in office after he had served 27 years in Congress, both Bud and his father were dedicated public servants, working tirelessly to help people in Ohio and the nation.”
“Bud Brown was a successful publisher, a historian, and an exemplary public servant. He was a patriot who was proud of our founding principles and believed that we could learn a lot from our history,” added Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). “I first met Bud when he ran for governor of Ohio in 1982, and I continued to communicate with him throughout his retirement years. I will miss him as a friend and counselor.”
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