Mr. Romney, What Is Trickle-Down Government?

Mitt Romney - 2012 - First presidential debate - photo by Justin SullivanMitt Romney used the term “trickle-down government” at least two times that I recall during Wednesday night’s first presidential debate. I know what trickle-down economics is, but what is trickle-down government?

This is a nice bit of Republican spin, deflecting attention away from decades of failed trickle-down economic policies by saying that the real problem is something called trickle-down government.

Trickle-down economics is the idea that wealth will flow from the wealthy to the poor when the wealthy are given tax cuts. This is supposed to create more jobs and economic growth and so the wealth will “trickle down” to everyone. To be clear, it’s bullshit. It has never worked. It will never work. But it is Republican gospel.

But what is trickle-down government?

I believe Mitt Romney would say trickle-down government is taxing the rich to give to the poor, but that is hardly the entire picture. The idea isn’t to give people a free handout, it’s to give people a helping hand when they need it. In other words, we are talking about progressive taxation, something that has been in place in the United States for a very long time. So the most important difference between trickle-down economics and progressive taxation (what Romney wants to call trickle-down government) is that progressive taxation has the distinction of actually working.


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