Laffer: The Age of Prosperity Is Over

The famous economist Arthur Laffer is of course famous for the Laffer Curve.

He has a good if sobering piece in today’s WSJ. He again makes the point that there are not really leftist economics, or right-leaning economics; there are only good economics and bad economics.

The Age of Prosperity Is Over – “When markets are free, asset values are supposed to go up and down, and competition opens up opportunities for profits and losses. Profits and stock appreciation are not rights, but rewards for insight mixed with a willingness to take risk. People who buy homes and the banks who give them mortgages are no different, in principle, than investors in the stock market, commodity speculators or shop owners. Good decisions should be rewarded and bad decisions should be punished. The market does just that with its profits and losses.

But here’s the rub. Now enter the government and the prospects of a kinder and gentler economy. To alleviate the obvious hardships to both homeowners and banks, the government commits to buy mortgages and inject capital into banks, which on the face of it seems like a very nice thing to do. But unfortunately in this world there is no tooth fairy. And the government doesn’t create anything; it just redistributes. Whenever the government bails someone out of trouble, they always put someone into trouble, plus of course a toll for the troll. Every $100 billion in bailout requires at least $130 billion in taxes, where the $30 billion extra is the cost of getting government involved.

These issues aren’t Republican or Democrat, left or right, liberal or conservative. They are simply economics, and wish as you might, bad economics will sink any economy no matter how much they believe this time things are different. They aren’t.”

  • Perpetuelle

    This was a great article. I am a strong believer in supply-side economics and of course Art Laffer. Of course there is great quantitative evidence in support of Laffer’s economic views, though many still ardently try to discredit the Laffer Curve and other supply-side policies.

    Have you read his book? I was not aware that he and Stephen Moore had recently published one – I look forward to reading this one.