Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Father of supply-side economics speaks at Kansas Union

The economy is a large part of this year’s election, so the timing was great for the School of Business to welcome Arthur Laffer to the University of Kansas. On Thursday, Oct. 11, Laffer, commonly known as the “father of supply-side economics”, spoke in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union.

Laffer touched on a number of economic topics. He spoke first about stimulus spending, the logic of it and how he believes there is no stimulus in the stimulus package. The second topic Laffer mentioned was income disparity in the U.S. and how to help the poor. Laffer spoke about the upcoming election and the economic plans of the two major candidates.

“If you look at the election today, whether it’s in the states or whether it’s at the federal level,” Laffer said, “you have to see just how polarized economics is in the two parties. I think it’s wonderful that you have this type of polarization because if you don’t have that, your vote doesn’t matter.”

Laffer went on to say that he thinks this election is the first time in generations that Americans have a true choice. The last topic Laffer spoke about was his five keys to economic prosperity: spending restraint, a sound currency, free trade, minimal regulations and a low-rate, flat tax.

“You do these,” he said, “and then get out of the way, and you’ll see [the economy] boom.”

A small reception after the lecture allowed students, professors and others a chance to chat one-on-one with Laffer.

"It's informative but at the same time it's very inspiring," said business student Shenji Pan. "As Dean Neeli pointed out, it's a university. Different ideas can emerge and people can discuss, ask questions and debate about it. I think that's the greatest thing about these events."

Laffer has had a long and successful career that includes being a major contributor to the new tax policy from Gov. Brownback. He was the first chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget from 1970-1972. He has received many awards and written many books, most recently, “Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status.” Laffer is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates and Laffer Investments and lives in Nashville, Tenn.

The lecture was sponsored by the University of Kansas School of Business, 1st Global and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.