Arthur Laffer is an economist. He is most famous for coming up with the “Laffer Curve,” a succinctly expressed economic formula that equates tax cuts with economic growth. The Laffer Curve has been like catnip to fiscal conservatives ever since 1974, when he invented it. It is a classic instance of having your cake while eating it. President Trump’s new push to cut taxes for high-income individuals and corporations has Laffer’s cake recipe as its foundation. Basically, it’s when a tax cut proposes to “pay for itself” with increased revenue from a more dynamic, profitable economy. Interviewed by the New York Times, Laffler said “It’s a slam dunk. A no brainer.”
Like most economic theory, the Laffer Curve is hard to prove, right or wrong, since economic theory never takes place in a controlled environment like a lab. Giant economies are intrinsically messy. Trump, if Congress allows him, will give it a whirl. Educated at Yale and Stanford, Laffer will turn 77 in August. His Laffer Curve theory predates even its 1974 articulation, having its roots in the thinking of John Maynard Keynes and Ibn Khaldun. Laffer’s supply-side economic theory has been embraced by other presidents, notably Ronald Reagan, for whom he worked as an advisor. Laffer sometimes writes for The Wall Street Journal.