Reagan's supply-side guru to address accountants in Indy

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The man most despised by big-government, Keynesian disciples for arguing that lower taxes and lower government spending will spur economic growth is coming to Indianapolis next week, with a cautionary tale for the states.

Arthur Laffer, President Ronald Reagan’s go-to guy for supply-side economic theory, will address a national gathering of accountants held by Carmel-based newsletter “Inside Public Accounting,” Nov. 4-6 at the downtown Conrad Indianapolis.

Laffer, 73, is often called the father of supply-side economics. His Nov. 6 address will focus on contrasting tax and fiscal policies of California and Texas and their very different economic results.

He’s long produced research asserting states without personal income tax have markedly outperformed those with such taxes.

Texas has no personal income tax, while California has 10.3-percent income tax rate. Over a 10-year period ending in 2010, Texas trounced California in gross state product, personal income and employment growth. It also had more in-migration—people moving there from other parts of the country.

“You cannot tax your way into prosperity,” said Laffer, the founder and chairman of Nashville, Tenn.-based Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and consulting firm.

Laffer and his economic theories have been rediscovered in the wake of arguably unsuccessful attempts by the Obama administration to reinvigorate the economy with rounds of stimulus programs and tax hikes.

Recently, in a column in the British conservative magazine The Spectator, Laffer said the more than $3 trillion in government spending aimed at reviving the economy after the 2008 financial crisis was “an abject failure.” He has argued that Washington policies have little to show as far as improving employment or economic growth, and in fact prolonged the recovery.

“The last few years have delivered a powerful refutation of Keynesian economics, because the American economy has performed better in an era of downsizing government that it did during the wild spending ride of 2008-11,” he told The Spectator.

Indiana is one of those states with a personal income tax, although it probably is “the least offensive,” when it comes to rates and deleterious effects, said Laffer, a friend of former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

He contrasts Indiana’s economy to that of Michigan, “a tragedy on wheels,” whose auto industry challenges were made worse by high tax rates and government policies, he said.

“You have a very bright future in Indiana," he said.

Laffer’s appearance is to give accounting firms more perspective on how to help their clients deal with fiscal and tax policy, said Michael Platt, principal of Carmel-based The Platt Group, which publishes Inside Public Accounting.

Accounting firms themselves are dealing with challenges ranging from retirements of experienced accountants to pressures to merge to gain the heft to service more and larger clients.

Inside Public Accounting also conducts a national benchmarking report and recognizes firms that have excelled in the industry. Among those to be honored at this year’s symposium is locally based Katz Sapper & Miller.

The symposium is expected to draw a number of guests from Top 100 accounting firms.


  • Re: Reagan
    I truly believe that the state of Indiana has been smart with the use of its money. Under Reagan's term our federal economy grew, so why not add the same tactic to the Accountants in Indianapolis. Right now many accountants are facing challenges from the retirements to the merging of firms. I like the idea of trying to use supply-side economics in the workplace.
  • State performance?
    Since Laffer just likes to throw up some numbers without analysis, wonder if he would accept the numbers on Texas ranging from the number of uninsured, to infant mortality, to crime, to average wages and income inequality?
  • What's that humming sound?
    Yes the economy was humming during Reagan's second term - at least for those selling arms to Iran.
  • And
    Yes. This is from a press release. Critical thinking, "kiddies."
  • Really?
    How is "borrow and spend" a la Bush working out for ya, guys? Laffer's theories have had 40 years of real-world trial. They. don't. work. There's an interesting cadre of folks - like Laffer, Bill Bennett, Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan - who still have careers because they once shared a room with an inexplicably popular President (who did raise taxes and did support amnesty). So, go see him in the same way you'd go see Three Dog Night or Jan and Dean. Nostalgia for an age that didn't really happen the way you all "remember"...
  • ?
    I have failed to take anything away from this article.
  • Obamanomics
    How is that Obama economy and health care working out for you? Economy was humming in Reagan's second term, kiddies.
    • Lefty whiners
      Go light a candle to your Savior Obama, you name calling half-wit Commie
    • Beware
      Tax and spend clowns posted below.
    • Typical
      Typical comments from the peanut gallery. As usual with liberals, if you can't argue with facts, throw mud.
    • And, to Chris
      Journalists typically write their own articles. This is right from the Laffer PR department.
      • Conrad?
        This is being held at the Conrad? Crackers on South Meridian would be a more appropriate venue...
      • I'll go
        I like comedy.

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