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Dr. Richard Bishirjian, Yorktown University’s President, asked Art Laffer what he thought about California’s new Governor, Jerry Brown. Read more to find out what he said.

January 5, 2011

Thirty-ninth Governor of California, Jerry Brown, ran for president of the United States in 1992 and Dr. Arthur Laffer, advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and countless numbers of GOP Senators and Governors, supported him.

I had forgotten that when, several years ago, I arrived late for dinner at a conference conducted Laffer Associates at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe near Delmar, California. Trying to be unnoticed before a crowd of Laffer Associates clients, I took a seat in the back and watched as a very tall man stood before a crowd of Supply-siders and responded to questions. He stood with his back to me, but I didn’t know who he was.

I listened as he made some very intelligent comments about national politics and politicians, completed his remarks, and accepted a hearty round of applause from Art Laffer’s Supply-side clients. The speaker was Jerry Brown, then Mayor of Oakland, California.

I thought little of it, but I laughed when one of the attendees told me that he was in the parking lot when Gov. Brown went to his company car. A stander-by took a look and yelled, “Hey Moonbeam, Is that you?”

Jerry Brown, 34th and 39th Governor of California, had been converted to Supply-side Economics by Art Laffer, so I took notice on January 4, when Brown was sworn in.

Jerry Brown’s Inaugural address was one of the best I’ve read and the idea struck me that just maybe we’ll all be surprised by California’s new Governor.

Here’s what he said:

“In seeking the Office of Governor, I said I would be guided by three principles.

“First, speak the truth. No more smoke and mirrors on the budget. No empty promises.

“Second, no new taxes unless the people vote for them.

“Third, return—as much as possible—decisions and authority to cities, counties and schools, closer to the people.”

I’m willing to hope for the best because America doesn’t need a state the size of California to fail. So I asked Art Laffer, what he thought.

This morning this is what Dr. Arthur Laffer wrote:

“Jerry Brown will be a force for good. I’ve worked closely with Jerry Brown in the past. In 1978 when Prop. 13 passed he called me and invited me up to Sacramento where I spent three days with him. He tried his best to implement Prop. 13 productively and well. He did a great job. Without him we never would have gotten Prop. 13 in the first place.

“As Governor he supported Proposition 4, known as the Gann spending limitation.

“During Jerry’s tenure California indexed the personal income tax for inflation and ridded itself of the state’s estate tax. Jerry Brown was a good Governor. Again, as an aside, I think Meg Whitman would also have made a good governor. My guess is that there’s a good chance that California will be a major swing factor in the economics and politics of the U.S. I would not write California off today. The redistricting, I think, is huge and I think Jerry Brown is a positive sign for the future of California and our country.”

What do you think?

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