Jack Kemp, who died on May 2 at the age of 73, lived the American dream as the football star who was elected to the House of Representatives. He had the vision to translate his intellectual ideas into the practical tax cuts, housing vouchers, and enterprise zones that sparked not only the Reagan revolution in America but also similar economic revolutions in many countries around the globe.
Jack Kemp spent his life as a champion of the little guy, the forgotten man, the person left behind in a world too busy to care. It is easy to look to other way and ignore the cries of the weak and the helpless. Jack Kemp could have done that. But Jack Kemp always stopped to listen. And when he listened, he stood up for the downtrodden.
His economic plan for America had a consistent theme: help the little guy. For Kemp, that meant letting him prosper and getting the government off of his back. That would work in America, and that would work around the world. Kemp spent much of his career trying to get oppressive governments off the backs of the forgotten.
Take the Soviet Union, for example. Today, almost 20 years after its demise, we can see from hindsight that the system was doomed. Yet in the early 1970s it was not obvious.