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

Trump’s America: Poor Immigrants Need Not Apply

A proposed Department of Homeland Security rule would make it more difficult for indigent people to obtain green cards.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File Eighteen-year-old Dunia Bueso, center, and her relative, Augustin Vargas, left, look at Bueso's one-year-old son, Joshua Tinoco, foreground, sitting on the lap of Martina Perez, at their home in Los Angeles. Of the three, only Bueso has been issued a green card. trickle-downers_54.jpg T he Trump administration is weaponizing food stamps, family financial assistance, and other public benefits to make good on its promise to drive poor immigrants out of the country. On September 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a preliminary version of a draft regulation that would give the federal government broader authority to deny green-cards to people who could become “public charges,” that is, dependent on welfare programs. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that the change aims to promote “immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.” But a...

McDonald’s Workers Strike to Demand Response to Sexual Harassment Charges

Women employees walked off the job to force the company to take their complaints seriously.

AP Photo/Richard Vogel Striking McDonald's workers carry a banner and march towards a McDonald's in south Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. trickle-downers_54.jpg O n Tuesday, women workers at McDonald’s made history. McDonald’s workers in ten cities went on strike during the lunch hour to protest sexual harassment, as well as inadequate responses or retaliation they’d received from management. For its part, McDonald’s says that no workers walked off the job. McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando; San Francisco; and St. Louis all saw strikes as workers demanded that the McDonald’s Corporation respond to their complaints. A similar strike over the sexual harassment of women workers has not happened in over 100 years , when, in 1912, corset workers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, walked off the job in protest of sexual abuse. Women who work at McDonald’s restaurants across the country spoke...

Tipped Workers Do Better When They’re Paid the Same as Everyone Else

A new study shows that laws like D.C.’s Initiative 77 boost employees’ incomes and don’t cripple the restaurant industry. 

Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock trickle-downers_35.jpg T he debate over increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers in Washington, D.C., is set to resume next week, as the D.C. City Council returns from its summer recess to decide the future of the voter-approved ballot measure known as Initiative 77. Initiative 77, which passed with 55 percent of vote in the low-turnout June primary election, would gradually increase the tipped minimum wage over the next eight years until it reaches parity with the city’s regular minimum wage of $15 in 2026. Currently, tipped workers in the District must be paid at least $3.89 an hour. If their earnings fall short of the city’s $13.25 minimum wage after counting tips, employers are then required to make up the difference. Gratuities paid by the customer that cover $9.36 difference between the two wages is known as the “tip credit.” Eight states, including California and Washington, have eliminated or begun to phase out the tip credit, bringing the...

Incarcerated Workers Demand Better Conditions in Nationwide Strike

After three weeks, prisoners will have ended their work and hunger strikes, but their demands are no less powerful.

(Sipa USA via AP)
(Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa via AP Images) Protesters demonstrate against prison slavery on September 9, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. trickle-downers.jpg T his past Labor Day gave us ample opportunity to consider workers’ rights and what policies can be implemented to bridge the inequality between workers and their bosses and make working life better. Yet, there’s a group of workers who are generally left out of this conversation: prisoners across the country, and they’ve been on strike the past three weeks to make their demands heard. Prisoners in more than a dozen states have participated in the strike, which began August 21 and is set to end September 9. The most obvious way of striking—a work stoppage—has not always been possible for prisoners, so some have gone on hunger strikes , raised banners in solidarity, or boycotted the prison store. The strike has been organized by workers both inside and outside of prisons—the coordinating organizations are Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), a...

Donald Trump, Fiscal Conservative

On Thursday, President Trump sent a letter to Congress making clear he wants to freeze federal employees’ pay for 2019. Here’s what his letter said:

Under current law, locality pay increases averaging 25.70 percent, costing $25 billion, would go into effect in January 2019, in addition to a 2.1 percent across-the-board increase for the base General Schedule. We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases. 

How prudent that our president wants to maintain a fiscally sustainable course. Imagine, a budget increase costing $25 billion! Of course, that pales somewhat when compared with the $1.8 trillion tax cut Trump and the Republicans enacted late last year, but then that was largely directed to the wealthiest Americans, many of whom are now recycling those funds productively by donating a share of them to Republicans’ election campaigns, and since Republicans are fiscally prudent, the tax cut, though at first glance blowing a hole in the budget 72 times larger than the amount of the raise to federal employees that Trump cites in his letter, was actually an exercise in fiscal prudence. 

No?

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