Why Trickle Down Economics Doesn’t Work

So in this picture, the ice cream is the part that corporate America gets under “trickle down economics” and the drips on the cone are what 99 percent of the public gets.  Is that how we want our finances to look?  I think that’s how a lot of our finances FEEL–and I think that’s part of the reason so many Americans–whether we identify as red or blue or other–are so angry and frustrated.

So here’s why “trickle down economics” doesn’t work.  These actions by corporations are  described in more detail in my ebook Conceiving a Peaceful World.  They impoverish us–and people all over the world.  (“Trickle-down economics” is associated with “the free market” and “neoliberalism”).

  1.  Hiring part-time temporary or contract workers instead of full-time employees.
  2.  Keeping worker hours below full-time so medical insurance doesn’t have to be paid.
  3.  Obscene CEO salaries that drain the corporation’s budget.
  4.  Low salaries and low hourly wages for employees.
  5.  The use of sweatshops overseas.
  6.  Moving factories overseas.
  7.  Eliminating corporate contributions to workers’ pensions.
  8. Liquidating the company’s assets and eliminating workers’ pensions, while CEOs make a fortune on their stock options and severance pay.
  9.  Squashing labor unions sometimes through firings or violence.
  10.  Small businesses and rural community development organizations can’t compete with the money, power, and influence of corporate monopolies.
  11.  The “free market” means eliminating corporate regulations and it creates a business environment that favors corporations and limits small, local businesses.
  12.  Corporations influence the passage of laws and policies to favor large corporations–through ALEC and corporate-friendly legislators and government appointees.
  13.  Factories are closed and workers laid off even when they are profitable because they don’t bring in superprofits.
  14. Large big box retail corporations have come into small towns and put small businesses out of business, people lost jobs and moved to the city, creating ghost towns, unemployment, and/or impoverishing small communities.
  15.  Corporations pressure legislators in the U.S. to shift federal and state budgets away from public infrastructure (fire, police, roads & bridges, education, health care, etc.) to fund corporate-friendly projects, provide obscene corporate subsidies, cut corporate taxes, etc.  The World Bank and Inter-Monetary Fund similarly force the governments of other countries to change their budgets to benefit corporate projects like airports instead of roads for ordinary citizens, to sell natural resources to corporations cheaply, and cut infrastructure funding and more–in order for the country’s loans to be funded or renewed.
  16.  Women and people of color are still paid less than white males.
  17.  People of color are scapegoated–AND Republicans and Democrats are pitted against each other–by the corporate media so we will all fight among ourselves instead of recognizing the corporate structure as the root cause of these injustices.
  18.  Women’s rights are attacked because women’s voices are powerful and hard to silence when we speak out on behalf of children and families and demand funding for social services and policies that support healthy communities and peace–all of which threaten corporate greed.
  19.  Environmental concerns are attacked or ridiculed because it is very expensive for corporations to clean up their messes.
  20. Many rich people are still very invested in fossil fuels–which have created ultra-rich multi-generational dynasty families.  The reality of climate change is challenged because solar and wind energy threaten their investments.  Instead of having energy independence the public is increasingly dealing with massive weather catastrophes like Katrina, extreme heat, rising seas in coastal communities, floods and droughts, etc.
  21.  Single payer health-care for all–or the expansion of Medicare for all people would be immensely cheaper and higher quality for citizens and the government–but it threatens the corporate greed of large insurance companies–several of which have had CEOs on the Forbes billionaires list–like Cigna and United Health Care–while other ordinary people have gone bankrupt or died without adequate health care.
  22.  Corporations are very similar to the Communist government in that a small group of people make decisions affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, notes Richard Wolff.  Instead, in cooperatives, the employees ARE the Board of Directors and make all the decisions–so naturally they have more concern for livable salaries, good working conditions, and the environment that contribute to healthy families and communities.  Dr. Wolff is a professor at University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
  23.  War costs us the lives and/or health of many of our family members, but militarism and war are big business for many corporations, especially those in fossil fuels, banks, and the military-industrial complex.  In fact, one legislator at the Climate March on Washington in 2017 called several of these greed-driven groups “cartels”.

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