It seems that few people like tax cuts more than Arthur Laffer.
The nationally known economist gained fame — and criticism — for popularizing the “Laffer curve’’ that postulates that deep tax cuts will spur the economy so much that revenue will come flowing into the governmental coffers. That view has been debated heatedly for decades by economists and analysts who will likely never agree.
But now Laffer is back in the news, touting the Republican tax-cut plan when he came to Hartford this week to back a separate tax plan by gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski of Madison to eliminate the state income tax over eight years.
Laffer, an economic advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald J. Trump, said in an interview that he rejects the multiple analyses that say that the Republican tax-cut plan would increase the national debt by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.
“That’s nonsense. It’s just silly,’’ Laffer told The Courant. “When were the best surplus years we’ve ever had? Under Kennedy in the go-go 60s with the fastest growth in the U.S. and under Bill Clinton with the fastest growth in the U.S. When were the two worst years? 1974 — with the slow growth — and the Obama/W era. There’s nothing that creates surpluses better than economic growth. Period.’’
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which has forecast future deficits, “is wrong,’’ Laffer said. “It’s just silly modeling. It’s just silly stuff.’’
He added, “Under Reagan, revenue growth was enormous. From January 1, 1983, to June 30, 1984, that’s 18 months, the total growth during that period of real GDP was 12 percent. We grew at an 8 percent annualized rate for a year and a half. That solves lots of problems. Believe me when I tell you.’’
Even though the general public might not be too concerned about a one-year delay, Laffer is highly concerned that the Senate version has the corporate tax cut starting in 2019. The House version would start the corporate tax cut on January 1, 2018, which Laffer says is a major difference.
Now 77, Laffer said he spent four good years in Connecticut as an undergraduate at Yale University before graduating in 1963.
While Laffer became known for his decades as an economist and university professor in southern California, he moved 12 years ago to Tennessee. But he still talks frequently about his home state, which he said he left “because of taxes’’ during the era of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.