Bri Manning

Tides and Trickling

November 30, 2017

“Trickle down economics” and “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I feel like that should be enough. When the commonly-accepted metaphor for what you’re trying to accomplish clearly states the volume of improvement, you might not have to go much further.

A recent article by a Depression historian about the GOP’s tax plan reminded of William Jennings Bryant’s “Cross of Gold” speech. Notably, this section:

There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.

I hadn’t thought about that speech in a long time. I have often thought about “a rising tide lifts all boats” though.

It’s a wonder that it doesn’t seem logical. One benefits the lowest while the other benefits those on top and maybe a little bit below them. It’s in the trickle part of the name.

Time and again, companies have succeeded and the economy has improved when the rich are taxed more and workers are paid more. We’re seeing the failed experiment play out in Kansas right in front of us.

Whether it’s Henry Ford’s $5 a day or that top tax rate being 70% or greater from 1936 to 1981 (pdf), it’s clear we are in uncommon times. Wages have been flat while taxes have been at the lowest rates since before the Great Depression for the last 30 years. During all of this, the GOP wants to cut taxes.

I’ve never been one to think the sky is falling. It seems like the GOP wants it to fall though.