Trickle-down economics don’t work | Letter

Trickle-down economics gets its name from American humorist Will Rogers’s: “The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.” (St. Petersburg Times, 11/26/1932).

At the time, Rogers was referring to the economic policies of President Herbert Hoover and the Republican-majority 70th and 71st U.S. Congresses. They’d spent years prioritizing the interests of the wealthy and corporations over the public good, not only driving the U.S. into the Great Depression but prolonging and deepening the crisis.

Rogers continued: “Mr. Hoover … didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night.”

The research supports Rogers. The wealthiest 400 Americans already have enough money to raise wages and create jobs — proportionally they hold as much wealth now as their counterparts in the 1920s.

The lower- and middle-classes, however, have little to no discretionary income. Give those 70,000,000 households a tax break and they spend the majority of it, strengthening demand and thereby aiding the economy and becoming their own “job creators.”

Trickle-down economics failed the U.S. when Hoover implemented it, when Reagan implemented it, and when Bush, Jr. implemented it. It’s time for Congressional Republicans to stop supporting the trickle-down economics fairy-tale and support policies that benefit everyday Americans who make up the majority of U.S. households.

Eve Gordon


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