Economic Policy Making and the Future of the Economy
Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, which gained notoriety by demonstrating that in certain situations, a decrease in tax rates could result in an increase in tax revenues. Although he does not claim to have invented this concept, it was popularized with policy-makers following an afternoon meeting with Dick Cheney in which he reportedly sketched the curve on a napkin to illustrate his argument; the term "Laffer curve" was coined by Jude Wanniski (a writer for the Wall Street Journal), who was also present.
At the time of the famous cocktail napkin incident, Laffer was on the faculty of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Earlier in his USC tenure, Laffer played a key role in the writing of Proposition 13, the still-controversial California property tax cap initiative that spawned a host of similar laws around the United States and is generally credited with launching the tax revolt of the 1970s and 1980s. During the mid-1980s, Laffer and many other conservative USC faculty members decamped to Pepperdine University in nearby Malibu, where he was on the faculty for several years.
Founder and CEO of Laffer Associates in San Diego, he received a BA in economics from Yale University in 1963. He graduated from Stanford University with an MBA in 1965 and a PhD in economics in 1971.
He has six children. His followers include Lawrence Kudlow, the co-host of Kudlow & Co. on CNBC; and Donald Luskin, author of the tendentious blog, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. Some regard Art Laffer as the greatest intransigent genius in recent memory.