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 Eviscerates Federal Contracting Rules

The president just repealed an Obama executive order to prevent bad employers from getting federal contracts. Next up? The rest of Obama’s labor rules.

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) Workers watch a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works from the bow of the future USS Michael Monsoor in Bath, Maine. R epublicans may not be adept at health-care legislation, but they are proving themselves immensely skilled at dismantling labor protections. Using the Congressional Review Act, an obscure legislative tactic that allows Congress to repeal recently enacted regulations with a simple majority and could forbid future administrations from promulgating similar rules, Republicans are rapidly unraveling a series of President Obama’s pro-worker rules that enraged powerful business associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. President Donald Trump is more than willing to facilitate the destruction of his predecessor’s legacy of worker protections. On Monday, behind closed doors and without his typical fanfare, Trump signed Congress’s repeal of Obama’s Fair Pay, Safe Workplaces executive order that would have mandated that companies with...

The Cosmological and Temporal Implications of the GOP Tax Cut in the AHCA

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik House Speaker Paul Ryan calls on a member of the media during a news conference following a GOP party conference at the Capitol. W e fail to appreciate the depth of thought that has gone into House Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which may be brought to a vote today if there are enough Republican votes to pass it. Well, not the original, pre-amendment bill, which would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million and cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans by nearly half a trillion dollars over the next decade. No, what’s elevated the bill to the forefront of contemporary physics is an amendment pushed by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican. Ryan’s original legislation repealed the 3.8 percent tax that Obamacare imposed on capital gains, dividend, and interest income for individuals with annual incomes of $200,00 or higher, or families with annual incomes of $250,000...

Mick Mulvaney: Trickle Downer of the Week

Trump’s budget chief is testing just how far one can go to peddle feed-the-rich economic policies. 

(AP/Andrew Harnik) Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks about President Donald Trump's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year during a daily press briefing at the White House. trickle-downers.jpg E veryone knew that Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, is a Tea Party darling and notorious budget deficit hawk. But in recent days, he’s exceeded expectations and proven himself to be one of the most radical members of the cabinet (and given this cabinet, that’s no small achievement). As he works to sell Trump’s draconian budget cuts and regulatory rollbacks, he’s pushing the limits of just how callous and illogical a politician can be in service of advancing trickle-down economics. He made a lot of hay last week in a press conference on Trump’s “skinny budget” proposal that calls for deep cuts to social service programs while bolstering military spending. Mulvaney justified proposed cuts to federal programs that provide food after school to low-...

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. trickle-downers.jpg 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...

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) trickle-downers.jpg 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...

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