Dwight D. Eisenhower was provided an economy that was on the upswing amid a post-war boom. While the highest taxes rate remained at 90%, Eisenhower refused to cut taxes.
But he didn't need to, as his two terms in office, "produced eight years of growth and relative prosperity," according to PBS.org. "Nearly every indicator of economic health -- GNP, capital investments, personal savings and income -- showed substantial upswings."
Eisenhower was given credit for keeping the world at relative peace nationwide for seven years, as well as providing over a pleasant economy.
Yet, by the time John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, the high tax rates were starting to catch up with the economy, and a brief recession ensued.
John F. Kennedy was educated on the benefits of cutting taxes to create an incentive to save and invest and stimulate the economy.
While the tax cuts were not enacted until after his death in 1964, they resulted in an economic upswing that allowed Lyndon Johnson to preside over a country in economic prosperity.
According to Wikipedia, while Johnson was president "GNP rose 10% in the first year of the tax cut, and economic growth averaged a rate of 4.5% from 1961 to 1968. Disposable personal income rose 15% in 1966 alone. Despite the drop in tax rates, federal revenues increased dramatically from $94 billion in 1961 to $150 billion in 1967.
Thus, the result was an economic boom in the 1960s instead of a deeper recession or even a depression which would have occurred had Galbraith had his way. And we would not be thinking of Kennedy in the same light as we now do. If Kennedy had listened to his advisers, we'd be talking about Kennedy in the same light as we talk about Carter.
Richard Nixon won in a landslide in 1968 and decided he was going to continue to ride the wave of the good Johnson economy (rather, the Kennedy economy) by "playing it safe."
However, due to factors beyond Nixon's control, the economy was sputtering by 1971, Nixon announced a 90-day wage-price freeze, stimulative tax cuts, a temporary 10% tariff, and spending cuts.
The economy recovered enough by 1972 and Nixon won again in a landslide.
But, according to countrystudies.us, "In 1973 the war between Israel, Egypt and Syria prompted Saudi Arabia to impose an embargo on oil shipped to Israel's ally, the United States. Other member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quadrupled their prices. Americans faced both shortages and rapidly rising prices. Even when the embargo ended the next year, prices remained high. Higher energy prices affected all areas of American economic life: in 1974 inflation reached 12 percent, causing disruptions that led to even higher unemployment rates. This era of recession and inflation ("stagflation") brought an end to the unprecedented economic boom America had enjoyed since 1948."
While Carter complained about inflation being so high when he was elected in 1976, it was even higher when he left office in January 1981.
With the country now mired in a recession, the window was now open for a the first successful trial of supply-side economics, which would end the era of high taxes.