In this week’s UpFront, we speak with Arthur Laffer, father of supply-side economics and former economic adviser to both US presidents Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, about Trump’s “revolutionary” tax plan.
In the Reality Check, we examine waste and the real cost of the never-ending US war against the Taliban.
And in the Arena, we debate whether Rwanda is on a path to dictatorship under President Paul Kagame in light of his third election victory and constitutional amendments that would allow him to potentially stay in power until 2034.
Laffer: tax cuts will make everyone a millionaire
In a speech on Wednesday, US President Trump outlined the principles of a tax plan that would amount to the most sweeping changes to the US tax code in decades. The plan would cut taxes for the rich and businesses, although Trump insisted that his tax plan would primarily help the working class, who would reap the benefits from the resulting economic growth.
This idea – that tax cuts for the wealthy fuel growth – was popularised by conservative economist Arthur Laffer. “The Laffer Curve” goes so far as to suggest that tax cuts can actually increase a government’s revenues. Laffer’s curve and his advocacy of tax cuts have been the driving philosophy of Republican tax policy for decades.
But a 2012 survey of 40 top economists found that most of the profession disagrees with Laffer – and historically tax cuts and hikes haven’t closely correlated with economic expansion and recession.
Laffer has advised President Trump on his tax policies and said his plan would be “phenomenal” for the United States and the world. For this week’s headliner, we speak with Laffer about whether Trump’s plan will make the US economy grow, or simply widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
How big a mess is the war in Afghanistan?
Trump has proposed devoting more troops and more money to the war in Afghanistan, doubling down on the 16-year-long conflict.
In this week’s Reality Check, we assess the state of Afghanistan after a trillion dollars spent and more than 30,000 lives lost.
Is Rwanda becoming a dictatorship?
Rwandan President Paul Kagame receives frequent praise for leading the country through an extended period of relative peace and prosperity after the country’s brutal genocide in 1994.
The country has also experienced huge economic growth and much development, especially in Kigali. But Kagame’s August re-election with 99 per cent of the vote, the changes to the constitution allowing him to potentially keep in power until 2034 and accusations of repression have raised alarm that Rwanda may be sliding sliding into dictatorship.
In recent years, international human rights groups and even allies like the United States have alleged harassment, abuse and arrest of Kagame’s political opponents.
So, is Rwanda under Kagame a peaceful, democratic miracle or is it becoming a dictatorship?
In this week’s arena, we debate this with David Himbara, a former adviser to Paul Kagame and now a critic, who is also author of Kagame’s Killing Fields, and Gatete Nyiringabo, a senior fellow at the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, who also runs the popular blog and newsite Gatete Views
Source: Al Jazeera News