Richard Keith Armey: The Independent Institute

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Richard Keith Armey
Richard Keith Armey

Richard Keith "Dick" Armey is an American economist and politician. He was a U.S. Representative from Texas's 26th congressional district (1985–2003) and House Majority Leader (1995–2003). He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oklahoma and served on the economics faculty at the University of Montana from 1964 to 1965. He was an assistant professor of economics at West Texas State (now West Texas A&M University) from 1967 to 1968, at Austin College from 1968 to 1972, and at North Texas State (now the University of North Texas) where he served as chairman of the economics department at North Texas State University from 1977 to 1983.

In 1994, Armey, then House Republican Conference Chairman, joined Minority Whip Newt Gingrich in drafting the Contract with America. Republican members credited this election platform with the Republican takeover of Congress (the Republican Revolution). Gingrich became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and Armey became Gingrich's second-in-command as House Majority Leader. Gingrich delegated to Armey an unprecedented level of authority over scheduling legislation on the House floor, a power traditionally reserved to the Speaker.

Armey became co-chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, which in 2004 merged with Empower America to become FreedomWorks. As a free-market economist influenced by the ideas of Milton Friedman, Armey favored relatively open immigration and advocated for free trade. Armey was one of Congress's fervent supporters of privatization of Social Security and phasing-out of farm subsidies. He was a strong supporter of replacing the progressive tax with a flat tax. Armey was very critical of a competing tax reform proposal that would replace the current system with a national sales tax, the FairTax. During his time in Congress, Armey conceived the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that became responsible for closing military bases as a cost-cutting measure. After his retirement from Congress, he told The New York Times: "A lot of people say if you cut defense, you're demonstrating less than a full commitment to our nation's security, and that's baloney."

He is the author of the books, The Freedom Revolution; The Flat Tax: A Citizen's Guide to the Facts on What It Will Do for You, Your Country, and Your Pocketbook; Armey's Axioms: 40 Hard-Earned Truths from Politics, Faith, and Life; Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (with Matt Kibbe); and Price Theory: a Policy-Welfare Approach.