Posts Tagged ‘license to steal’

Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

June 20, 2019

Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

Failed businessman Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer. “Freedom” here must refer to freedom from reality. Dr. Laffer popularized the “supply side” theory of economics, which holds that if you cut the taxes of rich people so they have even more money, some of it will magically trickle down to society’s less wealthy. This fiction was a favorite of Herbert Hoover, daddy of the Great Depression, and early-onset Alzheimers Ronald Reagan. You can see why the notion would be attractive to Mr. Trump, who became a millionaire at the age of 8.

Arthur Laffer revived this “supply-side” zombie with a visual aid, the “Laffer Curve,” allegedly first drawn on a cocktail napkin in 1974. That theoretical chart, based on wishful thinking and zero data, purports to show that tax cuts for the rich will boost the economy and pay for themselves. While the curve’s drinking-binge origin tale seems apt, it’s a fiction, mythologized by Dr. Laffer’s hype man, conservative pundit Jude Wanninski. The story is now enshrined in GOP dogma and, embrassingly, at the Smithsonian.

Donald Trump, despite the populist rhetoric of his campaign, enthusiasticly slashed taxes for the rich once elected, which helped no one but the wealthy. The medal award is yet another example of Mr. Trump doubling-down on a lie. How could the Laffer Curve be untrue when Arthur Laffer got the Medal of Freedom? Of course, maybe he really got it for co-authoring a book of fawning fiction called Trumponomics.


“Trump is giving Arthur Laffer the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Economists aren’t smiling.” Elizabeth Popp Berman, Washington Post

“Trump Awards Medal to Controversial Tax-Cut Champion Laffer,” Margaret Talev and Justin Sink, Bloomberg

“Trump Awards Kook Art Laffer for Inventing Fake Curve,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Why are we still pretending ‘trickle-down’ economics work?” Morris Pearl, The Guardian


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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