Well, we have a new tax plan. Despite the trillion dollar deficit it will add, Trump’s super-rich cronies and their cronies are delirious with joy. Like the imagined revival of Kentucky coal, trickle-down economics is going to save us. Or so the purveyors of snake oil tell us.
Reaganomics, Voodoo Economics, Supply-Side Economics, or Trickle-Down Economics. Like Satan it’s known by many names. But even if “trickle down” economics don’t quite work in practice, the description is surely apt if not unseemly. In fact, the meaning was not lost on New Zealand Labor Party MP Damien O’Connor who referred to it as “the rich pissing on the poor.”
Almost immediately after Reagan revived “trickle down” economics David Stockman, the chief architect of Reagan’s economic policies, disavowed it. Reagan’s eventual vice president George H.W. Bush called it voodoo economics. Countless economists have explained why the theory is (1) just plain wrong; (2) actually results in more misery for workers; or (3) is dishonest and deceptive. But facts haven’t stopped the GOP from trying to promote the scam. Repeatedly.
We are supposed to believe that when the super-rich stockpile cake we’ll get some crumbs. Most people know this fake economic theory from the 20th and 21st centuries but it actually had its origins in the 19th when it was called “horse and sparrow” theory. John Kenneth Galbraith explained delicately:
“If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”
The GOP has been shoveling horsepucky ever since. In an 1896 speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago William Jennings Bryan alluded to the fundamental difference between the major political parties:
“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”
So take your choice of metaphorical excreta. This is what the GOP successfully unloaded on America last Friday at midnight, giving Senators only a hour to read 400+ pages of last-minute changes with scribbles.
At this very moment the Democratic Party should be rolling up their sleeves. Maybe even with Jennings Bryan in mind, the DNC needs to publish an economic policy ready to be implemented the second they regain the House and Senate. Everyone remembers Paul Ryan distributing copies of his “Better Way.” Well, Democrats, where’s your Better Better Way?
I’ll wager almost anything will be better than the GOP’s horsepucky.