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Murray L. Weidenbaum, Reagan Economist, Dies at 87

Dr. Weidenbaum resigned because he was unhappy with the 1983 budget.
Dr. Weidenbaum resigned because he was unhappy with the 1983 budget. New York Times/file 1982

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Murray L. Weidenbaum, who as President Ronald Reagan’s first chief economic adviser elevated government regulation of business to the forefront of public policy debate but resigned unhappy about the administration’s budget-making, died Thursday in St. Louis. He was 87.

His son, Jim, confirmed the death.

Dr. Weidenbaum, a Bronx-born economist, was fond of saying, “Don’t just stand there, undo something.” And he did, beginning in 1981, when the newly inaugurated Reagan appointed him chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Reducing the size of government and lightening its regulatory hold on the private sector — including the banking, broadcasting, and the food and drug industries — became a large theme of the Reagan presidency, which began with inflation still running in double digits and the economy heading into recession.

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