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

Workers Strike and Promote Boycotts on Amazon Prime Day

The online retail giant had an eventful Prime Day, with strikes, boycotts, demonstrations—and of course, billions of dollars in profit.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File A clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse in New York. trickle-downers_35.jpg O n that most sacred of retail discount days, Prime Day, Amazon’s profits continued to soar—but not without its employees attempting to improve their working conditions, and a host of groups calling attention to how far Amazon is willing to go to retain its market dominance. On Prime Day—which was this past Tuesday and so extensively covered by the media that Amazon reaped a further fortune in free advertising—the company made roughly $3 billion in sales and added more Prime members to its lists than on any previous day. But even as Prime members—who pay $119 each year for the membership that includes shipping fees, streaming services, and other benefits—were chasing deals, thousands of Amazon workers across Europe were striking, and activists in several countries launched a consumer boycott. Other groups used Prime Day to...

D.C. Council Members Join Congressional Republicans to Override Voters’ Decision to Raise Tipped Workers’ Wages

District voters passed Initiative 77, but “Freedom Caucus” House leaders and Democrats on the council say the vote shouldn’t count.

Prarinya/Shutterstock trickle-downers_54.jpg T he fight over increasing the tipped minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is making for strange bedfellows. Having long bemoaned congressional Republicans’ habit of meddling in District affairs, a majority of the D.C. Council now find themselves in the uncomfortable position of joining in common cause with two members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. The Republican representatives—Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who chairs the Freedom Caucus, and Gary Palmer of Alabama—moved Wednesday to block Initiative 77, a voter-approved ballot measure that would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers in the District. The measure passed with 55 percent of the vote in the June primary elections after a vicious (and expensive) messaging campaign to defeat it. The Freedom Caucus push arrived the day after seven of the council’s 13 members co-introduced legislation to overturn Initiative 77, aligning local Democrats and congressional...

How Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Could Lead to an Increase in Housing Discrimination

Kennedy was the swing vote on a case that affirmed the Fair Housing Act protects against discrimination even if it isn’t explicit.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, from left, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2016 trickle-downers_54.jpg J ustice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement has pushed a number of significant issues to the forefront of discussion, since his more right-wing replacement could join the rest of the conservatives on the Court to overturn such landmark decisions as Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges . One case of particular importance on which Kennedy provided the swing vote involves curbing discrimination—even if it’s subtle discrimination—in housing policy. 2015’s Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. confirmed that the government can use “ disparate impact ” as means to prove discrimination in housing, which is how the Fair Housing Act had been interpreted since its inception in 1968. Disparate impact is the idea that...

Federal Reorganization Plan Is Sleight of Hand to Gut the Safety Net

The plan to consolidate departments may be how Trump plans to corral assistance programs in order to destroy them.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21, 2018. O ver a year ago, the now-ousted Steve Bannon declared that a priority of the just-settling-in Trump administration was the “destruction of the administrative state.” Trump’s cabinet appointees, Bannon said, “were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction.” While Bannon no longer roams the halls of the White House, his legacy persists (one need only look to the white nationalist immigration policies seeping out of the administration). And the destruction of the administrative state continues. Last week, the Trump administration released a plan to consolidate federal agencies and move certain programs to different agencies. While this news may seem innocuous—perhaps nothing more than federal housecleaning—the proposal is likely rooted in a desire to cut social programs. The first clue that social programs may be threatened...

Will Another D.C.-Based Government Disdain Democratic Norms?

Odua Images/Shutterstock trickle-downers_54.jpg W hen is a free and open election invalid? Apparently, when elected officials don’t like the result. That’s the philosophy of Maine’s Trumpier-than-Trump Republican Governor Paul LePage, who has refused to expand Medicaid in his state despite the legally binding vote of Maine’s citizens, who passed a Medicaid-expansion initiative. LePage has been ordered by the courts to implement the expansion, but still refuses. Mercifully, LePage is termed out of office at year’s end. Something like that could never happen in the nation’s most liberal jurisdiction, right? Well, maybe it could. On Tuesday, voters in Washington, D.C., passed an initiative that would raise the minimum wage of tipped workers—currently, only $3.30—to the same level as the city’s non-tipped workers: $15, to be phased in over the next eight years. Unlike the Maine initiative, this one (Initiative 77 by name) was only advisory, but avowed liberals on the D.C. Council and the...

Pages