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

The Media Bias Against a Decent Minimum Wage

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File Seattle became the first major American city to vote in favor of a $15 minimum wage in 2014. Here students and other supporters demonstrate in favor of a higher minimum wage at the University of Washington, Seattle. D espite abundant empirical evidence that raising the minimum wage doesn’t lead to job loss, the idea that it does is an article of faith among right-wing economists, and all too often the media report their theological musings as fact. The latest example of such folly popped up in an article in the March 22 Financial Times , a paper that usually knows better than to publish this bushwah. Here’s how the piece, headlined “Battle in Seattle to find employment,” began: In Seattle, the city’s unemployment rate remains steady, at a little over 3 percent even though a rising minimum wage may have driven out low-paying jobs. “We think the immigrant workers are heading to lower-cost regions of the country,” says Jacob Vigdor, an economist at Washington...

Trump Costs Struggling Retirement Savers Billions of Dollars

The president’s fiduciary rule delay hurts future retirees and allows Wall Street to continue lining its pockets. 

(Photo: Shutterstock) A new report published by the Economic Policy Institute argues that the delay of a Department of Labor retirement savings account conflict-of-interest rule will hit average Americans hard. Less than 15 days into his term, President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Labor to delay the implementation of this provision for at least two months—a move that will cost middle-class retirees billions in savings while lining the pockets of Wall Street firms. The conflict-of-interest rule, also known as the fiduciary rule, is a new protection that requires retirement advisors to act in their clients’ best interests. For every seven days of delay, people saving for retirement stand to lose $431 million over the next 30 years, the report found. A full 60 days of delay will cost future retirees $3.7 billion. Each additional 30-day delay would cost an additional $1.85 billion. “People who have worked hard to save for retirement need and deserve this common sense protection...

GOP Senate About to Allow Bad Employers to Avoid Reporting Workplace Injuries

Republicans want to undermine the government’s top workplace safety enforcer, and allow dangerous employers to run wild. 

AP/CQ/Tom Williams Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. A s Republicans accelerate their deregulatory crusade in Congress, they are putting workplace safety standards squarely in their crosshairs. At the top of the list, the GOP wants to do away with an Obama administration regulation that maintained the power of an OSHA workplace injury recordkeeping rule. House Republicans voted to eliminate the rule in early March, and the Senate will vote on it Tuesday. The rule mandates that employers are responsible for tracking and recording all their workplace injuries and illnesses and allows OSHA to fine companies that fail to keep accurate and complete records going back five and a half years. Obama’s former top OSHA official warns that repealing the rule would undercut the agency’s ability to levy fines against high-violation companies that consistently fail to keep records of workplace injuries,...

Paul Ryan: Trickle Downer of the Week

The House Speaker’s ACA “replacement” is not a health care plan; it’s a Reverse-Robin-Hood scheme that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.  

(AP/J. Scott Applewhite) Paul Ryan uses his trusty charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. I f it wasn’t clear before, it is now: there is perhaps nothing that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wouldn’t do to secure massive tax cuts for the rich. That includes repealing a health care law that’s secured coverage for tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans. Last week, Ryan unveiled his long-awaited replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act—the plainly named American Health Care Act. But it’s a bit of a stretch to describe it as health-care legislation. As has been widely reported now, the CBO estimates that the AHCA will cause 24 million people to lose coverage over the next decade—14 million of them in the next year alone. In reality, the AHCA is an upward redistribution scheme that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. Repealing Obamacare will generate some $883 billion in tax cuts over the next...

Emboldened by Trump, Minimum-Wage-Hike Opponents Fight Back

In a direct repudiation of voters, the business lobby and state Republicans (and some Democrats) are trying to undermine minimum wage increases. 

(AP/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey presents his 2016 State of the State address, in Phoenix, Ariz. Ducey led the charge calling on cities and towns to "put the brakes" on plans to raise the minimum wage or mandate other employment regulations such paid sick leave. O ne of the few bright spots for liberals on Election Day was that voters in four states —Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington—approved ballot measures to raise their minimum wages. The ballot wins proved, once again, that, when put directly before voters, progressive economic policies like increasing the minimum wage are wildly popular—even in red states. The business lobby, however, isn’t letting the will of the people get in its way. Chambers of commerce, restaurant organizations, and other opponents of a livable wage have launched lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona and Washington ballot measures and have embarked on heavy-handed lobbying campaigns in Maine to convince friendly...

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