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Art Laffer Too Inflammatory to Speak, College Says

One of the Republican Party’s most well-known economists, Art Laffer, may not speak at Washington University (WashU) in St. Louis.

The stated reason — left-wing agitators could disrupt Laffer’s speech, and WashU would thusly have to pay more for security.  

This is according to a report from the WashU’s independent newspaper, Student Life.

According to the paper, the Washington University College Republicans (WUCR) wanted $6,977.85 to bring Art Laffer to campus on March 21. WashU would have spent $1,586 on security.  

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Washington University College Republicans (WUCR) appealed the matter to the school’s Student Union (SU) Treasury representatives, but members of that body denied the appeal.

Nearly four years ago, student protestors at Binghamton University in New York prevented Art Laffer from speaking on campus.

Nathaniel Hope is the WUCR President.

“By saying that the speaker could incite a protest like the one that occurred at the other institution was not only baseless, but really left us with the implication that if Dr. Arthur Laffer, of all people, is too controversial to speak on college campuses, then any conservative is,” Hope reportedly said. 

Treasury representative Leena Rai reportedly did not want to fund a security detail for Laffer and called it “an entirely unnecessary cost.” Rai also cited alleged bigoted remarks Laffer made about the proposed $15 minimum wage.

“For those people who are coming into the labor force fresh, not old-timers who’ve been around, the poor, the minorities, the disenfranchised, those with less education, young people who haven’t had the job experience, these people aren’t worth $15 an hour in most cases,” Laffer said once on FOX News.

“Therefore, when you have a $15 an hour minimum wage, they don’t get that first job, they don’t get the requisite skills to earn above the minimum wage and after a few years they become unemployable and after becoming unemployable they become hostile.”

Laffer later said anyone who mistook his remarks as bigoted “missed the point.”

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“This was not a value of worth of a person, this was in the marketplace in the inner city, these people who are basically untrained and have not gotten the requisite skills, they’re not going to find a lot of employers who were going to employ them for $15 an hour,” Laffer said.

Art Laffer served under former President Ronald Reagan and, later, former President Donald Trump. Laffer is known for the Laffer Curve, which states tax rates above a certain threshold reduce tax revenue as they incentivize people not to work. The Laffer Curve also says lowering tax rates motivates people to earn more money, resulting in greater tax revenue.

WashU has hosted many speakers the past several years, including left-wing journalist Bill Moyers, liberal activist Ralph Nader, and feminist Bella Abzug, according to the school’s website. The school has also hosted Republican and/or right-of-center speakers, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former GOP presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

WashU’s website did not say whether any past speakers required a security detail or how much any of those details cost. The school, however, hosted one of the 2016 presidential debates. At that time, school officials designated a Public Expression Zone for protestors.

WashU is a private college founded in 1853 and has more than 17,000 students, according to its website.

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