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Trump gives tax cuts guru Laffer highest US civilian award

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Arthur Laffer, a major Reagan-era economist who is seen as the godfather of Republican tax cut policies, received the highest US civilian honour on Wednesday from President Donald Trump.

[WASHINGTON] Arthur Laffer, a major Reagan-era economist who is seen as the godfather of Republican tax cut policies, received the highest US civilian honour on Wednesday from President Donald Trump.

The conservative economist, who championed a theory known as the "Laffer Curve," was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the Oval Office.

Mr Trump, who touts tax cuts he ordered early in his first term as one of his main achievements, praised the controversial thinker.

"Few people in history have revolutionised economic policy like Arthur Laffer," he said.

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Mr Laffer, 78, has inspired successions of Republicans with his theory that lowering taxes ultimately raises revenue for governments by stimulating economic activity. He has been dubbed the "father of supply side economics," but also blamed for what critics derided as president Ronald Reagan's "voodoo economics" in the 1980s.

Reagan, who brought in big tax cuts in 1981, George W. Bush, and now Mr Trump were among his supporters.

Mr Trump called a diagram developed by Mr Laffer to explain his tax theory the "curve that changed history."

But the idea has been widely attacked as wrong, leading only to bigger deficits.

When Mr Laffer was invited to advise on tax cuts in 2012 by the Republican governor of Kansas, the state's coffers quickly plunged into the red. The state later scrapped the tax cuts.

On receiving the medal in the White House, Mr Laffer declared himself "awed."

AFP