The father of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer, speaks in Tampa

  • Arthur Laffer indulges before speaking in Tampa

Known as the "father" of supply-side economics, 72-year-old Arthur Laffer made a short appearance in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, giving a quick history of tax cuts throughout the last century. Laffer then introduced Herman Cain, who was in town for his Truth Tour.

Supply-side economics is the theory that cutting taxes on the rich will unleash an avalanche of new investments that will spur economic growth, and boost job creation. It's what Mitt Romney believes in, and it's what Barack Obama said, "got us into this mess in the first place."

Arthur Laffer was a member of Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his terms in the 1980s, and will forever be known for the "Laffer Curve," which came about after he grabbed a napkin to sketch a curve of the tradeoff between tax rates and tax revenues.

A one-time adviser to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Laffer said he bailed out of the Golden State in 2006 after the action movie hero raised taxes. Laffer took his 20-member staff to Nashville (Tennessee, like Florida, has no state income taxes).

He called Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan "brilliant" — the plan would eliminate the existing tax code and replace it with a 9 percent tax on personal income, a 9 percent business tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. In a bit of economist humor, he joked that it would have been better at 8.7 percent, but admitted that didn't roll off the tongue like 9-9-9.