Friday rant: Shotgun Economics edition

May 9

Well this is funny, if you take ‘funny’ to mean ‘tragic.’ A real laffer, literally!

The whole Reagan economic revolution was based on a napkin, the infamous Arthur Laffer “Laffer Curve.” Or Laffer Curveball. It was drawn on a napkin so as to catch the drool of the soon-to-be ultra-wealthy for whom the curve had an intrinsic appeal. It showed, in unmistakable graph form, that looked exactly like a frowny-face, that raising taxes past a certain point REDUCED tax revenue. This is true in the sense that if taxes get so high as to reduce economic activity to zero, well there is nothing left to tax. And this ‘reductio ad absurdum’ is in fact  true when you get to the tax range of absurdium, but nobody lives there. But there was the graph on the napkin! As clear as a bell curve!

The flim-flammy corollary was that less taxes automatically means more growth. This is the foundation that the whole Reagan revolution was built on. Now let’s look at an actual, non-napkin graph!

It looks like a shotgun blast!  Like something Cheney would do to your face if you were hunting with him! Hand us back that napkin, we’re bleeding! The other thing the dots look like are disaggregated grains of sand. The sand we built this castle on.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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