Earlier today President Donald Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Arthur Laffer from the Oval Office. [Video along with also Transcript]
[Transcript] – 5:16 P.M. EDT – THE PRESIDENT: Well, This specific is actually a big day. Very important for a very important subject. Today This specific’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. however This specific is actually a very special time for you. This specific is actually a tremendous award. You contain the Congressional Medal of Honor on the military side, which, of course, is actually something incredibly special. along with also the presidential medal is actually — I just want to congratulate you. There’s nothing like This specific, right?
DR. LAFFER: Nothing.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Art.
Joining us because of This specific momentous ceremony are Art’s six children. Thank you very much. Congratulations. (Applause.) along with also we’re also grateful to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence. We just got back via Florida. (Applause.) Had a big night. that will was a big night in Orlando, Mike. Right?
Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Alex Acosta, Elaine Chao, along with also Ben Carson, thank you very much for being here. along with also our top economic advisor along with also a great friend — of all of us, actually. I hear that will voice along with also 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 along with also policy like Dr. Art Laffer.
He developed a brilliant theory, shaped unprecedented economic reforms, along with also helped turn a severe recession into a remarkable boom. He proved that will the most powerful way to grow the economy along with also raise government revenue was not to raise tax rates however to adopt strong incentives that will unleash the power of human freedom along with also innovate, create jobs, along with also deliver greater opportunity to all Americans. along with also he’s proved This specific over along with also over again.
A Yale graduate, Art went on to earn his PhD in Economics via Stanford University. He became the youngest-ever tenured professor at the University of Chicago. Oh, that will’s Great. that will wasn’t too long, was This specific? (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 will. Just a little bit, right?
DR. LAFFER: A lot.
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t talk about This specific. (Laughs.)
In 1970, Art served as the very first chief economist at the Office of Management along with also Budget, where he designed an economic type that will is actually still used today to forecast tax revenue along with also 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, along with also inflation hit 11 percent. Right currently, we have inflation at almost nothing. (Applause.) I like that will better. Don’t you? This specific’s Great to read This specific because we read This specific along with also we realize how well we’re doing right currently.
The consensus in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, was that will the government could tax, inflate, along with also regulate its way to prosperity. however Art had a different idea. Right? You did have a different idea. I’d have you tell This specific. This specific might 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, along with also we appreciate Dick very much; along with also 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 along with also a curve that will changed history. With the currently famous “Laffer Curve” — still, a very, very highly respected economic curve — Art showed that will if tax rates are too high, people stop spending along with also they stop investing.
The result is actually less growth along with also lower tax revenues. On the additional hand, at the certain point on the curve, lower tax rates spur investment, economic growth, along with also raise government revenue.
I think Steve Forbes agrees with that will. (Laughter.) Where’s Steve? I’ve heard you for a long time talking about that will. Very much agree.
Prominent academics called This specific theory “insanity,” “totally wacky,” along with also “completely off the wall.”
With optimism, confidence, along with also exceptional intellect, Art might go on to prove them all wrong. He proved them wrong on quite a few 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 This specific again out there, by the way. They should do that will immediately. The results were so successful that will job creation soon grew at twice the nationwide rate. Within two years, 43 states adopted similar reforms.
During that will same period, Art also advised Ronald Reagan, along with also 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 along with also 1986 tax rate cuts, which ultimately lowered the top marginal tax rate via 70 percent to 28 percent. that will’s not bad. that will’s a pretty big reduction, I might say.
The Reagan economy soared, creating sustained economic growth, shrinking poverty, expanding incomes, along with also dramatically increasing federal revenue. Sounds very familiar. Sounds very, very familiar, actually. Our economy has never, ever been stronger than This specific is actually today. (Applause.) This specific’s true.
Dr. Laffer’s policies not only expanded opportunity for our citizens; they spurred economic reforms around the entire world along with also 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 will Dr. Laffer helped develop, in 2017, we passed historic tax cuts along with also reforms into law. currently, unemployment has reached its lowest level in over 51 years, with fast-growing wages, low inflation, along with also real GDP. along with also This specific is actually GDP growth that will’s higher than anybody ever thought possible. First quarter was 3.2. along with also everybody said the first quarter is actually not going to be so Great because the first quarter is actually never very Great for us. however This specific was not only Great; This specific was double along with also even triple what people expected. along with also we’re going to see some additional very pleasant surprises, especially when the trade deals are all worked out. along with also they’re coming along very well, Art, as you know.
Our tax cuts along with also reforms also created Opportunity Zones in distressed communities, another idea that will 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 actually nothing more important than an appreciation of the Laffer Curve.” I’ve heard along with also studied the Laffer Curve for many years from the Wharton School of Finance. This specific’s a very important thing that will you’ve done, Art. Very important.
Dr. Laffer helped inspire, guide, along with also implement extraordinary economic reforms that will recognize the power of human freedom along with also ingenuity to grow our economy along with also lift families out of poverty along with also into a definitely bright future.
Today, our nation is actually stronger, our people more prosperous, along with also the entire world a much better place because of the brilliance along with also boldness of Dr. Arthur Laffer.
along with also This specific’s currently my profound honor to ask the military aide to come forward as I present Dr. Laffer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This specific’s my great honor. Thank you. (Applause.)
MILITARY AIDE: Arthur B. Laffer, the Father of Supply-Side Economics, is actually one of the most influential economists in American history. He is actually renowned for his economic theory, “The Laffer Curve,” which establishes the strong incentive effects of lower tax rates that will spur investment, production, jobs, wages, economic growth, along with also tax compliance.
Among additional accomplishments during his distinguished career, Dr. Laffer was the first chief economist of the Office of Management along with also Budget along with also a top economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.
The United States proudly recognizes Arthur B. Laffer for his public service along with also his contributions to economic policy, which have helped spur prosperity for our nation.
(The Medal of Freedom is actually presented.) (Applause.)
DR. LAFFER: Oh, my gosh. (Laughter.) When your staff said, “Keep This specific short,” I didn’t know that will’s what they meant. (Laughter.) No, I’m just joking.
THE PRESIDENT: This specific is actually your day.
DR. LAFFER: Thank you very much.
Let me, if I can: Sincerity along with also brevity — or so they say — go hand in hand. along with also in that will vein, Mr. President, I want to thank you via the top, the middle, along with also the bottom of my heart. Thank you.
Great economic policy is actually a team effort. along with also goodness knows my fellow teammates are the best ever: Larry Kudlow, my friend forever along with also ever along with also ever. Steve Moore. Where are you, Steve? Steve Moore. Steve Forbes. Steve Forbes canceled his trip abroad to be here today. is actually 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 will, ever. I mean, This specific is actually the team of all teams.
along with also I just want to reflect for a second on some of my past colleagues along with also working with additional administrations. For example, from the past, my colleagues included Nobel Laureate along with also 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 along with also dearest supporter, Justin Dart; George Schultz, my mentor who has hired me four times along with also not gotten tired of This specific yet, I guess; Jack Kemp, who we called, “The Weapon” — he’s delivered This specific; along with also my classmate at Yale, along with also my dear friend, a guy named Dick Cheney. This specific’s just definitely 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, along with also Dick Cheney all received the President Medal of Freedom. Isn’t that will amazing? I’m in great, great company, let me tell you. I’m awed by that will.
however to get over the — to get the ball over the — to get the ball over the goal line, committed leadership is actually the sine qua non because of This specific. along with also we had President Kennedy, President Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, along with also of course, you, Mr. President, Donald Trump, to definitely make This specific all happen. Without the leaders — (applause) — along with also all I can say is actually, wow.
I mean, you know, President Kennedy established the current Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with also both President Reagan along with also Margaret Thatcher were recipients.
My business partner is actually here. My business partner’s friends along with also fellow dreamcatchers — quite a few whom are here today, by the way — have allowed all of This specific to happen for me, along with also I am eternally grateful. They are the salt of the Earth. along with also, in fact, they actually lived the lives that will we economists just talk about. They actually do This specific. along with also This specific is actually for them that will we do what we do. They have kept, do keep, along with also will keep America prosperous.
along with also my final shout-out, if I may, is actually to my family — my wonderful family. All six of my children are here today, as well as Mike Madzin along with also Mike Stabile. I’m missing my 13 grandchildren along with also my 4 great-grandchildren, for which I am sure the White House staff is actually eternally grateful. (Laughter.)
My family makes me very, very proud along with also gives me a reason every morning to get up along with also get to work. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 5:31 P.M. EDT