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

Paul Ryan: Trickle Downer of the Week

Don’t be fooled by Ryan’s “simplification” rhetoric. The speaker’s tax plan is a massive giveaway for Corporate America and the 1 percent. 

(Photo: AP/Cliff Owen)
Photo: AP/Cliff Owen House Speaker Paul Ryan during a news conference on Capitol Hill earlier this month. A s Congress prepares to end its lame-duck session, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan races to grease the tracks for his trickle-down tax plan. His partner in this latest GOP shell game is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who told reporters at a Capitol Hill press conference Monday that after Republicans finish gutting Obamacare (their first target), they intend to use a second, filibuster-proof, budget reconciliation process to ram through comprehensive tax reform. The speaker would have you believe that his reform plan merely simplifies the tax code by shaving the number of tax brackets from the current seven—“their [the Democrats’] way”—down to just three—a #BetterWay—the average taxpayer will save big bucks. He recently tweeted: The U.S. tax code is too complicated. ← Retweet if you agree. #BetterWay pic.twitter.com/Do9qmHskzd — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 11,...

Ohio Republicans Advance Nationwide Wage-Suppression Campaign

State lawmakers move to prevent municipalities from boosting pay for low-wage workers—a growing obstacle in the Fight for $15. 

(Photo: Raise Up/Cleveland)
Fight for 15 supporters gather before a protest in Cleveland over the summer. (Photo: Raise Up Cleveland/Facebook) I n its lame-duck rush to push through a controversial legislative package, the Republican-controlled Ohio Legislature made headlines by passing the “ heartbeat bill ,” an oppressive—and likely unconstitutional—anti-abortion measure that, if signed by Republican Governor John Kasich, would be the most restrictive law in the country. But there was another harsh measure in the mix that flew under the radar: a measure that would force Ohio localities to comply with state minimum-wage regulations that top out at $8.10 an hour. The legislation aims to block Cleveland, one of Ohio’s largest and poorest cities, from unilaterally boosting wages for its low-wage workers. According to U.S. census data , 35,000 Clevelanders work full-time for less than $15 an hour, and 50 percent of those workers are black. After the Cleveland City Council rejected a both a Fight for 15 campaign...

Trump Taps Anti-Worker Fast-Food CEO for Labor Secretary

Andy Puzder, the CEO of a major fast-food company and sworn foe of raising the minimum wage, embodies the right’s anti-worker, trickle-down agenda. 

(Photo: AP/Jack Plunkett) CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder speaks at a news conference on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in Austin, Texas to highlight Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to the state of Texas. A s part of his cockeyed plan to help working Americans, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to roll back most of President Obama’s regulations in his first 100 days in office. Many of those rollbacks will go through the Labor Department, which under Obama has been implementing a slew of pro-worker rules and executive orders. As Trump fills his cabinet with controversial and, in some cases, preposterous figures, worker advocates were anxiously awaiting whom Trump would tap for the labor secretary post. On Thursday, transition officials signaled that Trump plans to nominate for U.S. Labor Secretary Andy Puzder. For low-wage workers and labor advocates, this is the worst appointment imaginable. Puzder is the millionaire CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the fast-food burger chains...

Watch Out for Even More Tax Breaks -- for the Rich

How we squander resources through the tax code, and how that could get a lot worse in the age of Trump

(Photo: AP/Matt Rourke)
(Photo: AP/Matt Rourke) This article will appear in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . T hink, if you will, about taxing and spending. The former—taxing—occurs when the government levies some claim on your income. It could be a local sales tax on a tube of toothpaste, a Medicare or Social Security deduction from your paycheck, or an income tax check to the federal IRS. Spending is what the government does with tax revenue. Local governments spend your property taxes on public schools; the feds finance social insurance, defense, the safety net, and so on. Many people think that taxing and spending, while complementary, are entirely distinct. Not so. There’s an important way in which the federal government spends through the tax code. The technical term is tax expenditures. These include tax credits, deductions, and exemptions. You can’t begin to understand the scope, the inequities, and some of the venerable benefits of our tax system without...

Beyond Carrier: Can Congress End the Green Light for Outsourcing?

Donald Trump’s unusual deal with Carrier Corp. to keep 800 jobs in the U.S. alarmed many economists, but it points to the need for a corporate norm that doesn’t tilt toward outsourcing.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci People watch as a motorcade carrying President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence arrive for a visit to the Carrier factory, Thursday, December 1, 2016, in Indianapolis, Indiana. W hile millions of Americans were thrilled to see President-elect Trump strong-arm the Carrier Corporation into keeping its Indianapolis plant open, numerous economists, commentators, and lawmakers denounced the deal. Some condemned it as crony capitalism, because Carrier will receive $7 million in state incentives as part of its agreement not to send 800 threatened jobs to Mexico. Others voiced alarm that Trump was singling out and bullying an individual company. One of the deal’s most prominent critics was Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary, who wrote an opinion piece with the headline, “Trump’s Carrier deal could permanently damage American capitalism. ” Summers wrote, “I have always thought of American capitalism as dominantly rule and law based.” But...

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