Laffer Curve Napkin

In 1974 economist Art Laffer sketched a new direction for the Republican Party on this napkin. Displeased with President Gerald Ford’s decision to raise taxes to control inflation, four men got together at a Washington, DC restaurant to think about alternatives. Laffer was joined by journalist Jude Wanniski and politicians Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Laffer argued that lowering taxes would increase economic activity. Wanniski popularized the theory, and politicians Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney carried it out.
The cloth napkin was taken as a souvenir by Jude Wanniski. The napkin reads “If you tax a product less results/If you subsidize a product more results./We've been taxing work, output and income and subsidizing non-work, leisure and un-/employment./The consequences are obvious!” with an image of the laffer curve in the middle. The bottom of the napkin reads To Don Rumsfeld/at our Two Continents/Rendezvous/ 9/13/74/Art B. Laffer"
date made
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
Physical Description
white (overall color)
overall: 15 in x 15 in x 1/8 in; 38.1 cm x 38.1 cm x .3175 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Patricia Koyce Wanniski
See more items in
Work and Industry: Production and Manufacturing
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


It was not Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney who carried out the tax reform suggested by the napkin. They dismissed the idea, as did others within the Ford administration at the time. It was Ronald Reagan who, several years and two administrations later, inaugurated a tax cut loosely inspired by these ideas.
It appears to me that the representation of the "Laffer Curve" on the napkin is incorrectly labeled? The area below the inflection point (lower tax rate) is usually labeled the normal range, while the area above the inflection point (higher tax rate) is usually labeled the prohibitive range. Has anyone asked asserted that Laffer drew this and if he did, that he has a typo?

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