President Trump Presents Medal of Freedom to Economist Dr. Arthur Laffer – Video and Transcript…

Earlier today President Donald Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Arthur Laffer in the Oval Office.  [Video and Transcript]


[Transcript] – 5:16 P.M. EDT – THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is a big day. Very important for a very important subject. Today it’s my privilege to award our nation’s highest civilian honor to the father of supply-side economics: Dr. Arthur Laffer. (Applause.)

I know Art has been to the Oval Office, unlike most people, many times. But this is a very special time for you. This is a tremendous award. You have the Congressional Medal of Honor on the military side, which, of course, is something incredibly special. And the presidential medal is — I just want to congratulate you. There’s nothing like it, right?

DR. LAFFER: Nothing.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Art.

Joining us for this momentous ceremony are Art’s six children. Thank you very much. Congratulations. (Applause.) And we’re also grateful to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence. We just got back from Florida. (Applause.) Had a big night. That was a big night in Orlando, Mike. Right?

Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Alex Acosta, Elaine Chao, and Ben Carson, thank you very much for being here. And our top economic advisor and a great friend — of all of us, actually. I hear that voice and I just say “money, money, money.” Larry Kudlow. (Laughter.) Right? Larry. Thank you, Larry.

MR. KUDLOW: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Few people in history have revolutionized economic thought and policy like Dr. Art Laffer.

He developed a brilliant theory, shaped unprecedented economic reforms, and helped turn a severe recession into a remarkable boom. He proved that the most powerful way to grow the economy and raise government revenue was not to increase tax rates but to adopt strong incentives that unleash the power of human freedom and innovate, create jobs, and deliver greater opportunity to all Americans. And he’s proved it over and over again.

A Yale graduate, Art went on to earn his PhD in Economics from Stanford University. He became the youngest-ever tenured professor at the University of Chicago. Oh, that’s good. That wasn’t too long, was it? (Laughter.) He’s very deceiving. He’s a little older than he looks. He looks like he’s in his forties. (Laughter.) He’s a little older than that. Just a little bit, right?

DR. LAFFER: A lot.

THE PRESIDENT: Don’t talk about it. (Laughs.)

In 1970, Art served as the very first chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget, where he designed an economic model that is still used today to forecast tax revenue and accurately predict economic growth.

Art then returned to the University of Chicago. At the start of the Ford administration, our nation’s economic situation was becoming dire indeed. We remember.

In 1974 alone, 2 million Americans joined the unemployment lines, and inflation hit 11 percent. Right now, we have inflation at almost nothing. (Applause.) I like that better. Don’t you? It’s good to read this because we read this and we realize how well we’re doing right now.

The consensus in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, was that the government could tax, inflate, and regulate its way to prosperity. But Art had a different idea. Right? You did have a different idea. I’d have you tell it. It would be much more interesting, huh?

In 1974, Art came to dinner with the White House Chief Staff — Chief of Staff Don Rumsfeld; Deputy Chief of Staff Dick Cheney — who’s been, by the way, a tremendous supporter, and we appreciate Dick very much; and Wall Street Journal reporter Jude Wanniski.

The dinner has since become very, very legendary in many minds. Art drew on his napkin a series of lines and a curve that changed history. With the now famous “Laffer Curve” — still, a very, very highly respected economic curve — Art showed that if tax rates are too high, people stop spending and they stop investing.

The result is less growth and lower tax revenues. On the other hand, at the certain point on the curve, lower tax rates spur investment, economic growth, and raise government revenue.

I think Steve Forbes agrees with that. (Laughter.) Where’s Steve? I’ve heard you for a long time talking about that. Very much agree.

Prominent academics called this theory “insanity,” “totally wacky,” and “completely off the wall.”

With optimism, confidence, and exceptional intellect, Art would go on to prove them all wrong. He proved them wrong on a number of occasions.

In 1978, California Governor Jerry Brown asked Art to help him implement Proposition 13, which the people had overwhelmingly enacted to dramatically reduce the state property tax. I think they could use it again out there, by the way. They should do that immediately. The results were so successful that job creation soon grew at twice the nationwide rate. Within two years, 43 states adopted similar reforms.

During that same period, Art also advised Ronald Reagan, and helped shape his low-tax, pro-growth agenda. After President Reagan’s election, Art served on the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board. He played a vital role in both the 1981 and 1986 tax rate cuts, which ultimately lowered the top marginal tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. That’s not bad. That’s a pretty big reduction, I would say.

The Reagan economy soared, creating sustained economic growth, shrinking poverty, expanding incomes, and dramatically increasing federal revenue. Sounds very familiar. Sounds very, very familiar, actually. Our economy has never, ever been stronger than it is today. (Applause.) It’s true.

Dr. Laffer’s policies not only expanded opportunity for our citizens; they spurred economic reforms around the world and helped lift untold millions out of poverty. Art has advised many world leaders, including former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — a great one.

Staying true to the pro-growth vision that Dr. Laffer helped develop, in 2017, we passed historic tax cuts and reforms into law. Now, unemployment has reached its lowest level in over 51 years, with fast-growing wages, low inflation, and real GDP. And this is GDP growth that’s higher than anybody ever thought possible. First quarter was 3.2. And everybody said the first quarter is not going to be so good because the first quarter is never very good for us. But it was not only good; it was double and even triple what people expected. And we’re going to see some other very pleasant surprises, especially when the trade deals are all worked out. And they’re coming along very well, Art, as you know.

Our tax cuts and reforms also created Opportunity Zones in distressed communities, another idea that Dr. Laffer helped develop early in his career.

In 1999, TIME magazine named Dr. Laffer one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jude Wanniski wrote, “In studying public finance, there is nothing more important than an appreciation of the Laffer Curve.” I’ve heard and studied the Laffer Curve for many years in the Wharton School of Finance. It’s a very important thing that you’ve done, Art. Very important.

Dr. Laffer helped inspire, guide, and implement extraordinary economic reforms that recognize the power of human freedom and ingenuity to grow our economy and lift families out of poverty and into a really bright future.

Today, our nation is stronger, our people more prosperous, and the world a much better place because of the brilliance and boldness of Dr. Arthur Laffer.

And it’s now my profound honor to ask the military aide to come forward as I present Dr. Laffer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s my great honor. Thank you. (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE: Arthur B. Laffer, the Father of Supply-Side Economics, is one of the most influential economists in American history. He is renowned for his economic theory, “The Laffer Curve,” which establishes the strong incentive effects of lower tax rates that spur investment, production, jobs, wages, economic growth, and tax compliance.

Among other accomplishments during his distinguished career, Dr. Laffer was the first chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget and a top economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

The United States proudly recognizes Arthur B. Laffer for his public service and his contributions to economic policy, which have helped spur prosperity for our nation.

(The Medal of Freedom is presented.) (Applause.)

DR. LAFFER: Oh, my gosh. (Laughter.) When your staff said, “Keep it short,” I didn’t know that’s what they meant. (Laughter.) No, I’m just joking.

THE PRESIDENT: This is your day.

DR. LAFFER: Thank you very much.

Let me, if I can: Sincerity and brevity — or so they say — go hand in hand. And in that vein, Mr. President, I want to thank you from the top, the middle, and the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Good economic policy is a team effort. And goodness knows my fellow teammates are the best ever: Larry Kudlow, my friend forever and ever and ever. Steve Moore. Where are you, Steve? Steve Moore. Steve Forbes. Steve Forbes canceled his trip abroad to be here today. Is David Malpass here? Kevin Hassett. Team players, Steven Mnuchin, wherever — there you are. You’re way back there. Steven. You don’t get a better team than that, ever. I mean, this is the team of all teams.

And I just want to reflect for a second on some of my past colleagues and working with other administrations. For example, in the past, my colleagues included Nobel Laureate and dear friend Bob Mundell; the legendary editorial page editor, Bob Bartley, of the Wall Street Journal; Jude Wanniski, the crazy, wild revolutionary for supply-side economics; Milton Friedman, of course; my godfather and dearest supporter, Justin Dart; George Schultz, my mentor who has hired me four times and not gotten tired of it yet, I guess; Jack Kemp, who we called, “The Weapon” — he’s delivered it; and my classmate at Yale, and my dear friend, a guy named Dick Cheney. It’s just really wonderful to have — each of whom deserves a lot of praise.

By the way, just for the record, Bob Bartley, Milton Friedman, Justin Dart, George Schultz, Jack Kemp, and Dick Cheney all received the President Medal of Freedom. Isn’t that amazing? I’m in great, great company, let me tell you. I’m awed by that.
But to get over the — to get the ball over the — to get the ball over the goal line, committed leadership is the sine qua non for this. And we had President Kennedy, President Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and of course, you, Mr. President, Donald Trump, to really make it all happen. Without the leaders — (applause) — and all I can say is, wow.

I mean, you know, President Kennedy established the current Presidential Medal of Freedom, and both President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were recipients.

My business partner is here. My business partner’s friends and fellow dreamcatchers — a number of whom are here today, by the way — have allowed all of this to happen for me, and I am eternally grateful. They are the salt of the Earth. And, in fact, they actually lived the lives that we economists just talk about. They actually do it. And it is for them that we do what we do. They have kept, do keep, and will keep America prosperous.

And my final shout-out, if I may, is to my family — my wonderful family. All six of my children are here today, as well as Mike Madzin and Mike Stabile. I’m missing my 13 grandchildren and my 4 great-grandchildren, for which I am sure the White House staff is eternally grateful. (Laughter.)

My family makes me very, very proud and gives me a reason every morning to get up and get to work. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 5:31 P.M. EDT

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49 Responses to President Trump Presents Medal of Freedom to Economist Dr. Arthur Laffer – Video and Transcript…

  1. evergreen says:

    The Laffer Curve is a good way to (try to) force a liberal to actually think. Try it out as often as you can.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Steven Edwards says:

    But it is a curve…so logically if the tax rates are too low then you are not getting optimal revenue for the tax. Which means at a certain point, continuing to cut and expecting further growth doesn’t work…


    • evergreen says:

      Tax cutting is to stimulus as parking brake release is to increased horsepower.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arrest Soros says:

      The curve is a reflection of human behaviour. Therefore the point at which further tax rate cuts don’t generate more growth (or conversely the point at which further tax rate increases kill off growth) is different for different societies.
      In places where freedom and individual rights is a premium (like the USA) then tax rates can be very very low.
      In places like…say….Sweden, where communal rights are a premium, then tax rates can be much higher before growth is stifled.

      This is one of the reasons why Art Laffer never received the Nobel Prize that he much deserved. Most European economists have never accepted his theory.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Steven Edwards says:

        But it is…a curve. Which means at a certain point, wherever that point is, further cutting of taxes no longer incentives economic growth and simply reduces revenue for government operation and law enforcement to police fraud in the market.

        Liked by 1 person

        • EJS says:

          The laffer curve is the the oligarchy laffing their ass off. They have developed a Phd. in figuring out how to create money, out of thin air, and ensuring the plebes get just enough so they don’t revolt.

          Liked by 2 people

          • SwampRatTerrier says:

            That’s what they do in Chicago – Bread and Circuses.

            They TAX so much and then build a few “cheap” (comparably) parks and museums to keep their citizens distracted from the super high taxes.

            Unfortunately, now even GOPe mayors are using the same tactic. Sneak in more taxes because the voting day is all but kept secret from the public and then build multi-billion dollar boondoggles that they and their cronies make out like bandits on!


        • GB Bari says:

          Regardless of how the curve can be manipulated or interpreted by theorists to prove their points whether for or against tax cuts, the reality is that the two presidents who applied it both achieved phenomenal results in the American economy and employment numbers. That is inarguable.

          Liked by 8 people

          • Steven Edwards says:

            No what they did was steal from future generations by financing their largesse with debt. Running up the creditcard is not economic growth.


            • AZ18 says:

              Agree that debt has to be addressed. Are you saying the Laffer Curve is responsible for the debt?


              • TradeBait says:

                He will not reply to that because it does not fit his Keynesian theory. You know, government spending and all.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Steven Edwards says:

                  …I am saying the arguments by Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans including Trump has been ‘Grow our way out of it by cutting taxes’ is a fallacious argument if you are on the wrong side of the curve. At a certain point you have to cut spending and if you don’t you are simply stealing from your children and grandchildren.

                  Trump signed two budgets doing exactly this and will continue to do so.


            • GB Bari says:

              Not sure to whom you are referring as “they”.
              Remember that Reagan was coerced I go accepting House Leader Tip O’Neils’ pork loaded budget in order to get sufficient funding to rebuild the military which was decimated after both Nixon and Carter had left the military starved for maintenance funding for years post Viet Nam.

              Coincidentally Trump had to accept a similar excessive budget to get the badly needed funds he needed for the military which Obozo and the Dimms had deliberately starved for 8 years.

              So let’s make sure we correctly assign responsibility for the excessive spending to Congress. This last time the Republicans were as guilty as the Democrats.

              Liked by 2 people

              • swimeasy says:

                Well said GB, We are living the outcomes of Dr. Laffer’s theory as documented by the consumer confidence metric after a turbulent administration of Keynesian theory (hat tip to TradeBait).

                Also puts into sharp perspective what the Nobel has become when Dr. Laffer was not awarded it and Obama received the peace nobel a couple of months into his term.

                Liked by 2 people

            • Davidp says:

              Obamys 8 Trillion in Additional Debt equalling the Combined Debt of All previous presidents notwithstanding.

              Liked by 1 person

          • piper567 says:

            GB, I think the President is recognizing that “inarguable” in this ceremony.
            I’m thinking this ceremony will tick off the elite theorists and Noble losers. sweet.
            We are so fortunate to have a President who prefers solutions to theory…one of a gazillion reasons to reject socialism, btw.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Dee Paul Deje says:

            JFK applied it before it had a name and it worked for him too. But we all know the once hero of the left would be considered a right wing racist teabagger by them today.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Baby El says:

          Not true. Economic growth may continue. The Laffer curve only applies to tax revenue, not economic growth.

          Cutting taxes may spur economic growth, but it is not the only factor.

          Liked by 1 person

          • H.R. says:

            Baby El: “Cutting taxes may spur economic growth, but it is not the only factor.”

            Yup. Regulations are hidden taxes. Compliance to burdensome regulations adds cost with no added value to the end user. That’s why President Trump is having his team work on reducing the regulatory burden.

            Liked by 2 people

        • rich hahn says:

          I hope we get to that point soon. Then maybe Trump will focus on the debt instead of just growth. Shrink the size of government to match revenue.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Baby El says:

        “This is one of the reasons why Art Laffer never received the Nobel Prize that he much deserved. Most European economists have never accepted his theory”

        Or perhaps its because the Europeans are a bunch of pin-headed f**ks.

        Obama won the nobel prize for doing NOTHING.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      Amazing that when you keep it simple and logical it works but most of us take the long hard way. Well deserved metal albeit a weebit late.

      Liked by 1 person

    • John Rawls says:

      the goal of gov is not to maximize revenue,,, it’s not a business.


      • Baby El says:

        Their goal may not be to maximize revenue, but their actions can have the unintended consequence of adversely affecting revenue.

        Liked by 2 people

        • swimeasy says:

          Agree. I work in a not-for-profit health care organization and you better believe revenues, costs and bottom lines are closely monitored and we are always looking for budget neutral strategies to keep costs down.

          Liked by 1 person

    • AZ18 says:

      True…then you have to trim the fat (debt) from your budget to gain optimal efficiency.


    • Dee Paul Deje says:

      There are always 2 points on the curve that produce the exact same revenue. Liberals prefer the one that has the higher tax rate. Normal people prefer the other.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Newt Love says:

      > “… at a certain point, continuing to cut and expecting further growth doesn’t work…”

      In Economics, that is known as the Law of Dimenishing Returns. Glad you’re catching up.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. JohnCarlson says:

    The Medal of Freedom is fine, but there should also be a Medal for Spying, so that Barack Obama can get the recognition he deserves too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C says:

    I only have to add that Laffer has got a very attractive daughter back there.


  5. jmclever says:

    Wow. Isn’t it amazing what happens when a brilliant mind is unleashed in a free country!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Maquis says:

    This is great. The Left has invested a great deal of energy and mendacity attempting to discredit this gentleman’s ideas yet two Presidents and hundreds of milluons of Americans have proved him right.

    It’s hard to believe anyone could ever doubt the law of diminishing returns, or could think that punitive tax rates don’t negatively affect economic decisions and financial productivity. It seems obvious on it’s face, and proven beyond doubt. Those that oppose his policies are therefore either exceedingly stupid, or simply evil.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Steven Edwards says:

      Or you can accept his ideas as truth and then ignore the implications of being on the wrong side of the curve…


      • Baby El says:

        The curve doesn’t have a right or wrong side. It illustrates an economic theory.

        Right or wrong is political.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Maquis says:

          When tax rates are designed to punish certain groups and to control others, right and wrong most certainly are part of the picture. Especially when the dynamics illustrated by The Laffer Curve that have been well proven are willfully ignorged by fools with agendas.


  7. NoFixedAddress says:

    A tremendous recognition and thoroughly deserved.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. EJS says:

    No one has yet to prove that you can print your way to prosperity. All previous attempts have failed! But again the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Some how its different this time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Newt Love says:

      > “No one has yet to prove that you can print your way to prosperity. …”

      In fact, Milton Freidman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for proving the opposite. He showed that money was just another commodity in the marketplace.
      When too many dollars chase too few goods, the supply of money exceeds the number of other commodities, inflation happens. When too few dollars are available to facilitate the exchange of the other commodities, prices fall, but stagflation may occur.

      Freidman held that keeping the money supply in line with the size of the economy promotes stable interest rates (the cost of money) which promotes a stable economy.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. dallasdan says:

    Dr. Laffer is an economic and political national hero for his theoretical academic achievements in the field of economics and his services to the nation as an economic adviser to numerous Cabinet members and multiple President’s, most notably Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

    He was a theorist ahead of his time. Keynesian theory ruled when I was an economics undergraduate at Stanford, and Dr. Laffer did not emerge to the appropriate level of prominence until 1974 when he described to President Nixon’s Cabinet the concept that was labeled the “Laffer Curve.” The concept accurately defined the relationship of government taxation and revenue generation therefrom.

    He is the father of “Supply Side Economics” which is anathema to Dems. For that alone, he will be an immortal icon of nation-building economic and financial theory and practice. I am greatly pleased that it was President Trump who bestowed the honor upon him.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Annie says:

      it was a great speech by POTUS and Dr. Laffer, Bravo!!!!!

      Liked by 3 people

    • cthulhu says:

      There are four main branches to Economics….though you won’t hear this from people in the field. There is Classical Economics, as exemplified by Bastiat’s,_and_That_Which_Is_Not_Seen . Things progressed along until the Great Depression, where there was a major schism between Keynes (the GD was a major breakdown because the government should actively manage economies) and the Austrian School (the GD was a major breakdown because the government had been too involved in actively managing economies). And, then, there’s the neo-Classical movement — which attempts to step away from the fray between Keynesians and Austrians in favor of direct measurement of reality……but often ends up on the Austrian side, because “reality”.

      Laffer is in the neo-Classical branch, because he pointed out that you can’t tax people for doing something and expect that they’ll continue to do it.

      And, with that, I’m going to leave you with a couple of rap battles…..which accurately state a whole lot of serious Economics contentions in their several minutes.

      Liked by 3 people

      • dallasdan says:

        Thanks for your reply. There are hours of meaningful discussion embedded in your comment.

        When I left Wall Street to go to medical school, I was frustrated by the stubbornness of the zealots in each “economic camp” who had totally closed minds. Hence, I understood why economics was and still is described as “the dismal science.” To this day, I prefer to think of it as an evolving intellectual maze that is complicated frequently and significantly by exogenous variables, such as technology, international politics, and rapidly integrating global markets.

        Regarding the videos, I’m sure someone, somewhere is amused and, perhaps, enlightened by them. However, it is universally true that “You can’t spell crap without rap.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • cthulhu says:

          I’m not a rap fan, myself — but the economists behind this pair of videos do a good job of illustrating how various theories run amok. Take, for instance, GDP as defined by “Y = C + I + G + (X − M)”, and GDP growth as seen as a universal good. Breaking this down, this is “GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government + (Export Surplus)”. Let’s tag each of these….

          GDP = Consumption [#HappyPopulace] + Investment [#calculated advantage] + Government [#coercion] + (Export Surplus [#HowBadlyWe’reScrewed]). Why is government even an addition? Isn’t every dollar spent by the government likely a detriment to the well-being of citizens???

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic speech–totally presidential and shows continuity between the Trump Administration and prior (also successful) administrations. Many people don’t know how dismal the outlook was in the seventies–and even though I was not working then it was daunting to consider potential prospects. Just like under Obama, people felt “frozen” and without options–the so-called “intelligentsia” embraced government control and regulation (Nixon’s wage price controls were a disaster–not much helped by Carter’s similar policies).

    Laffer’s brilliance–and the company he kept, including Friedman, helped create policies that would unleash tremendous opportunity and prosperity for the American people. As Cthulu notes–“muh” reality can bite at times–but it rules and largely governs human behavior (which is a major driver of economic activity).

    The other great thing about this ceremony is showing the fantastic group of economic advisors that POTUS has in his administration. THIS is leadership–which the so-called elites claim to want but rarely acknowledge.

    The solution to deficits is resolutely NOT increasing taxes, Steven, but reining in spending while stoking the engine of growth. The Trump tax cuts raised government receipts–but Congress has not discipline at all. Heck, if any of the Dems are elected we’ll have triple misery-stagflation, high taxes and no liberty.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Publius2016 says:

    incredible! true revolutionaries during time of Globalist Infiltration!! He said these US Leaders: “Kennedy-Reagan-Trump”

    Liked by 1 person

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