Home Politics Trump to give Medal of Freedom to tax-cut guru Arthur Laffer

Trump to give Medal of Freedom to tax-cut guru Arthur Laffer

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Laffer says trade war would be “disaster”

President Donald Trump is set to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative economist Arthur Laffer, a former economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan who also laid the the intellectual foundation for Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.

Laffer is known as the father of supply side economics, which gained popularity under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

His theory, the “Laffer Curve,” establishes the concept that fewer regulations and especially lower tax rates spur economic growth, jobs and investment. A number of economists disagree and do not believe that cutting taxes spurs the growth that tax-cutters promise will happen. Some critics have dismissed supply side economics as “trickle down economics” that enrich the wealthy and corporations at the expense of the middle class and the poor.  

In 2012, Laffer advised Kansas to slash taxes for the state’s top earners to jump-start its economy. Instead, the state ran up significant deficits.

Trump campaign economic adviser Arthur Laffer: I hope tariffs are a negotiation tool

The 78-year-old Laffer has been supportive of Trump and especially his tax cuts passed into law in 2017. He even co-wrote a book titled “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”

But Laffer hasn’t agreed with everything Mr. Trump has pushed as president. Last year he warned that a global trade war sparked by U.S. tariffs would be “a disaster” that would undo the economic benefits of GOP tax cuts.

In an interview with Elaine Quijano on CBSN’s “Red & Blue,” Laffer said a trade war would be a “curse” on the U.S. and global economy.

“If it became a trade war, it would be a disaster — it would offset the benefits of the tax cuts,” Laffer said. “It would be very damaging to both the U.S. and the rest of the world. It really would be just a curse on all the economies in the world.”

While Laffer said at the time he did not believe a trade war is in the cards, the scenario remained “a legitimate risk,” he said.  

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. It will be awarded June 19.

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