Trickle Downers

The Prospect's ongoing exposé of the folly, dysfunctions, and sheer idiocy of feed-the-rich economic policies.

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

Trickle Downers

Hot Investment Tip: The Health of Poor Children

Support for low- and middle-income families can benefit the broader economy.

AP Photo/Jacqueline Malonson
AP Photo/Jacqueline Malonson Maria Prince feeds her one-year-old daughter Monica, in her home in Crofton, Maryland. Maria and her huband Barry receive Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, one of many programs benefiting children currently at risk under the new Republican budget. trickle-downers_35.jpg T hough our economy is doing better than that of most other advanced economies, the United States still has at least three major economic problems. There’s the macro problem of growth—especially productivity growth—that’s slower than we’d like. There’s the micro problem that any growth we have continues to leave too many people behind. And there’s the political problem that the Trump administration and Republican Congress propose to make these other two problems worse. Each of these problems is easy to document. Productivity growth —a key determinant of overall living standards—averaged almost 3 percent annually between 1995 and 2005. Since then, it’s been growing at less than...

Trump Wants to Kill the Filibuster to Cut Taxes for the Rich

Once again, the president shows that he’ll do anything to afflict average-income Americans and to secure gigantic tax cuts for his wealthy pals.

 

(CQ Roll Call via AP Images) President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after delivering his address to a joint session of Congress. trickle-downers.jpg B ig surprise: Donald Trump wants the U.S. Senate to blow up the legislative filibuster to pass big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy and to rip health-care coverage from 23 million people. Amid a scatterbrained trio of Tweets Tuesday morning, Trump wrote the following: The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017 Even though Senate Republicans are expected to use the budget reconciliation process (which requires just 51 votes to pass legislation) to approve the American Health Care Act and additional tax cuts, the fact that Trump is calling on them to blow up the legislative filibuster—one of the Senate’s few remaining sacred cows, requiring most...

Below the Minimum No More

The Democrats’ new $15 minimum wage bill also phases out sub-minimum wages for millions of Americans.

Mike Umbrella/Shutterstock
Mike Umbrella/Shutterstock trickle-downers_35.jpg T his week, a majority of the Democrats in both the House and Senate introduced a long-awaited bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. While most coverage of this bill will likely focus on whether $15 by 2024 is too ambitious a target (as Jared Bernstein and I explained in the Prospect last month, it's not), there’s a less-discussed aspect of the bill that deserves considerable attention as well: its elimination of “sub-minimum” wages for various groups of workers. Establishing one minimum wage for everyone would help those workers whom past minimum wage increases have left behind. It would also break with the pattern of reinforcing anti-worker myths about the economy. That sub-minimum wages exist isn’t all that commonly known, but the one you’re most likely to have heard of is for tipped workers—people who, for example, wait your tables when you go out to eat, drive you around in taxis, cut your hair, and park...

The Poor Die Younger

Nito/Shutterstock
Nito/Shutterstock trickle-downers_35.jpg I ncome and wealth don’t trickle down. Neither do health and longevity. Last week, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on the life expectancy of Americans, and what that means for Social Security. What the CRS reported is that just as economic inequality is increasing, so is lifespan inequality. For men born in 1930, for instance, 50-year-old individuals in the highest income quintile (the wealthiest 20 percent) could expect to live 5.1 years longer than men in the lowest quintile. For men born in 1960, however, 50-year-olds in the highest quintile could expect to live 12.7 years longer than men in the lowest. Apparently, all the advances in medical science and healthy living that occurred during this rolling 30-year interval were visited upon the rich a lot more than on the poor. It’s the same story for women. For those born in 1930, the lifespan differential at 50 between rich and poor was 3.9 years. For those born in...

Trickle Downer of the Week: The American CEO

C-Suite compensation continues to grow while workers get left in the dust. 

(AP/Richard Drew) Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. trickle-downers.jpg T rickle-down capitalism has determined that the average American CEO is 347 times more valuable than the average worker. That’s the main takeaway from the new Executive Paywatch analysis by the AFL-CIO. The labor union federation dug into the compensation levels of CEOs of companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The average S&P 500 CEO pulled in $13.1 million last year, a 5.6 percent increase from 2015. Meanwhile, the average employee only made $37,362. Think about that: Your typical head honcho makes nearly as much in one day as his typical employee makes in a year. The compensation winners were the heads of corporate behemoths like Google, Charter Communications, Expedia, CBS, Nike, and Walt Disney. According to most recent data obtained by the AFL-CIO, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent...

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