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

Senate Health-Care Bill: Tax Cuts for Rich, Skimpy Coverage for Everyone Else

Instead of moderating the GOP House’s version, the Senate health-care bill doubles down on cuts in coverage and tax cuts for the rich.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, followed by Majority Whip John Cornyn, leaves a Republican meeting on health care on Capitol Hill. I n the wake of House Republicans’ May passage of the American Health Care Act, a proposal that would throw 23 million more people off their health care coverage in order to pay for fat tax cuts for several thousand wealthy people, many pinned their hopes on the Senate, where moderating forces, they hoped, might prevail over the harsh austerity measures offered by the House. Almost two months later, those hopes were dashed when Senate Republicans released their own health-care bill . Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept the main policy goal of the AHCA intact: paying for massive tax cuts for the wealthy with deep health-care cuts for the poor. The Senate version, as expected, retains the House’s Affordable Care Act tax cuts, which by 2025 will save millionaires nearly $55,000 each year. To put a finer point on it,...

Paul 'Jobs, Jobs, Jobs' Ryan Should Heed Brownback’s Trickle-Down Failures

The Republican House speaker is trying to nationalize the failed tax experiment of his former boss, the Kansas governor.

(AP/Carolyn Kaster) House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., speaks during the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 2017 Manufacturing Summit in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. A fter passing a bill that will gut the American health-care system, Washington, D.C.’s favorite conservative wonk-master, House Speaker Paul Ryan, is beginning to lay the groundwork for his “Better Way” tax plan, which he touts as a beacon of truly comprehensive reform—though the only certain detail in the plan is that it would dole out generous tax cuts to the top income and corporate rates. In a Tuesday speech at the National Association of Manufacturers’ annual summit—an event chock full of the business-owners and CEOs who will reap the tax-cut rewards—Ryan delivered a big speech about the need for tax reform that consisted of nothing more than the same tired trickle-down talking point that Republicans have clung to for 40 years. “Once in a generation or so, there is an opportunity to do something...

House GOP Votes to Deregulate Wall Street and Gut Consumer Protections

Just the latest example of trickle-down ideologues trying to wipe away the hard lessons learned from the Great Recession. 

(Wikimedia Commons) C onservatives want you to believe that regulations on powerful banks are destroying the economy. It’s not the banks themselves— you know, the ones that destroyed the economy in the 2000s by fueling a housing bubble, making money hand over fist, getting bailed out with taxpayer money, and then fraudulently booting millions of homeowners out on the street. On Thursday, House Republicans were passed the Financial CHOICE Act, a radical Wall Street deregulation bill that would undo many of the provisions passed in the wake of the Great Recession that increased scrutiny and placed modest limits on big banks to keep them from taking down the economy again. Unable to call the legislation what it is—an unhinged reversion to the Wall Street Wild West—House Speaker Paul Ryan has the audacity to call it a jobs bill for Main Street. Ultimately, the Financial #CHOICEact is a jobs bill—one that will bring hope back to Main Street. pic.twitter.com/RDEUSKwTMP — Paul Ryan (@...

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. 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 half that pace, and even...

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