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Would the key element of Reaganomics (the Laffer Curve) work today? Experts say NO

The Laffer Curve by Wikipedia

In economics, the Laffer curve (sometimes referred to as the Laffer-Khaldun  

curve) is a hypothetical representation of the relationship between government revenue raised by taxation and all possible rates of taxation. It is used to illustrate the concept of taxable income elasticity – that taxable income will change in response to changes in the rate of taxation. The Laffer curve postulates that no tax revenue will be raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100%. If both a 0% and 100% rate of taxation generate no revenue, but some intermediate tax rate generates some tax revenue, it follows from the extreme value theorem that there must exist at least one rate where tax revenue would be a non-zero maximum. The Laffer curve is typically represented as a graph which starts at 0% tax with zero revenue, rises to a maximum rate of revenue at an intermediate rate of taxation, and then falls again to zero revenue at a 100% tax rate.[citation needed]

One potential result of the Laffer curve is that increasing tax rates beyond a certain point will be counterproductive for raising further tax revenue. A hypothetical Laffer curve for any given economy can only be estimated and such estimates are controversial. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics reports that estimates of revenue-maximizing tax rates have varied widely, with a mid-range of around 70%.[3]

The Laffer curve is associated with supply-side economics, where its use in debates over rates of taxation has also been controversial. The Laffer curve was coined by journalist Jude Wanniski in the 1970s, with Wanniski naming the curve after an idea sketched on a napkin in a restaurant by Arthur Laffer. Laffer later pointed out that the concept was not original, noting similar ideas in the writings of both 14th century Muslim philosopher Ibn Khaldun (who discussed the idea in his 1377Muqaddimah)[citation needed] and John Maynard Keynes.[1] Numerous other historical precedents also exist.

The opinions of the experts

The Panel of experts

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues.  To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists.  Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States.  The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President’s Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession.  This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

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