Trickling down and out

by | Dec 10, 2013 | Economy, Editor's Blog, Tax Reform | 15 comments

Teachers are leaving the state. The infant mortality rate is up. And the workforce in North Carolina is smaller today than it was in 2007.

But, hey, we’re giving tax cuts to businesses and rich people, so it’s all good. You know, those folks are going to start spending their new found wealth and everybody is going to benefit. Trickle down, remember?

According to this GOP mantra, all this money flowing from rich people and corporations is going to spur economic growth, increase our tax revenue and put money in everybody’s pocket. Only problem is, it doesn’t work. It never has.

Republicans have lived by this flawed theory since Reagan. His success in rejuvenating an economy that was bogged down by both high interest rates and high unemployment led them to believe that the tax cuts are a panacea for all our economic problems. Recession? Cut taxes. Inflation? Cut taxes.

Unfortunately, they ignore other problems. By Reagan’s second term, it was obvious that trickle-down theory didn’t actually bring in more revenue, leading to exploding deficits. And while his tax cuts weren’t matched by spending cuts, Republicans used their smaller government mantra to make cuts to social programs including kicking the mentally ill out into the streets and drastically reducing subsidized housing, creating a wave of homelessness that is still apparent today.

The money did trickle-down, though, just not far enough. It increased the wealth of the top 20% or so of the population, and created a well-heeled constituency to continue policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many. Combine those people with Tea Partiers and social conservatives who vote against their own economic self-interest, and you’ve got enough folks for a political party.

And that’s where we are today in North Carolina. Shifting money from the poor and middle-class to the wealthy. If they measure success by the bottom line of the wealthiest citizens, they can claim success. If they measure it by the impact on the rest of us, they’re already failing.


  1. Gary

    Mr. Mills makes some pretty sweeping statements without giving any sources for his data. The truth is, North Carolina is doing very well in it’s recovery from the recession.

    The editor of the Greenville Daily Reflector writes:
    “But the number of jobs in the United States grew by more than 200,000 in November. North Carolina added 22,000 jobs during September and October – making it the state with the third-highest job growth rate in the country.” Seems like the new tax plan might actually be working!

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also produces a “state coincident index” that summarizes four state-level employment variables. For the month of October, North Carolina was among the top 10 states in job creation (

    Obviously Mr. Mills in a left-winger that hates anything that smacks of the GOP and will continue to rant about the sorry state of affairs despite the facts.

    • Tony P

      90% of those created jobs were in the food/retail/service area.
      Not real jobs paying a living wage.

      • Gary

        Please provide the source for this statistic, as I did in my comments above. Otherwise, you’re doing exactly the same thing as Mr. Mills…making broad, sweeping statements without any credible source of data.

        • willard cottrell

          You might want to stay closer to home when sourcing your data. The N&O has a much different take on this subject.

          “I think we have a story of two North Carolinas,” Teshome said. “We have some really strong areas in the state – the Triangle area, Charlotte – but then other parts of the state are struggling to get back on their feet . . .”

          Over the past 12 months, the leisure and hospitality sector has added 21,500 jobs, more than any other sector. Freyer said that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that those jobs pay an average of $8.30 an hour. It would appear that you’re incorrect calling Tony P the same as Mr Mills.

          Read the whole article here:

          • Gary

            Mr. Cottrell, you misrepresented my statement, as you can plainly see if you read my post above. I did NOT say Mr. Tony P was the same as Mr. Mills. I simply asked him to identify the source of his statistics. If he could not (which he hasn’t), THEN he would be DOING the same thing as Mr. Mills. It is you, sir, who is incorrect.

            Furthermore, you quote a statistic that measures jobs created in hospitality and leisure over a 12 month period, without giving any context as to how many total jobs were created during this period, so it’s impossible to determine if Tony P’s claim that 90% of newly created jobs were in this sector.

            The number of jobs created over 12 months would have little relevancy, anyway, to my discussion with Tony P concerning so-called “trickle down” economics since any response from business and industry regarding the tax cuts would only have affected the growth of jobs (or lack thereof) since the tax cuts were announced, NOT over the last 12 months.

            Additionally, it would be helpful to know what percentage of ALL jobs in N.C. are in the leisure and hospitality area. After all, it might be factually correct, but extremely misleading in the context of our discussion, to claim that most of the jobs created were in leisure and hospitality if, in fact, that sector of the economy accounts for most of the jobs in North Carolina.

      • Gary

        Here are the employment statistics for North Carolina from BLS.

        Over the last 12 months, Information sector jobs have led growth in North Carolina (9% more in Oct. 2013 than a year ago). The professional and business sector was second with 5.1% increase. Next was the Education and Health Services Sector at +3%. Leisure and Hospitality sector was down the list at only +2.2%.

          • Gary

            Thank you for your reply, Mr. Mills. I have followed the links in your original article and only one seems to relate to employment statistics…and that article is focused on the impact that reduced unemployment compensation benefits may or may not have had on the unemployment rate…NOT if the tax cuts are stimulating North Carolina’s economy and creating jobs (which I thought was the original point of your article).

            You (and the authors of the articles in your link) seem to be stuck on the fact that North Carolina’s workforce is smaller now than it was at the beginning of the year. Apparently, you conclude that’s because people are “just giving up” and leaving the workforce (to do what, I wonder?). However, there could be many other explanations for the reduction in the workforce. None of the data referenced in either of the links you provided show WHY the workforce has decreased.

            I think the real proof is that North Carolina is one of the leading states in new job creation. Regardless of how that rolls out in the unemployment rate, which is subject to many other factors, it seems that North Carolina is, indeed, on the right track. Something is working!

  2. NitWitCharmer

    What is trickle down?

    It is the the wealth that allows for jobs, the wealth creates jobs. To deny that is to deny opportunity and to deny opportunity is to be unAmerican.

    The very fact that government taxes productivity for its existence is proof that government is a financial burden on society and not the source of prosperity unAmerican Democrats would have us believe.

    It is best to allow the private sector to do that which government can not … be productive.

    • ML

      Wrong. It’s Voodoo Economics.

    • ML

      Plus everyone here knows what trickle down economics is, we’ve been dealing with it for over thirty years now. Maybe take a second to review the alternatives, especially those of democrats and if you say socialism then you’d be dead wrong again.

    • kcc

      Well, the first part of your handle is right. The government taxes net profit of corporations and income of individuals to pay for services, some of which target those too poor to contribute to taxes.

    • willard cottrell

      You just might want to read the current comments of David Stockman (Reagan’s budget adviser and champion of this myth).

      You know nothing of what you speak and continue to live in the bubble created by the Tea Party about the legend of Ronald Reagan.

      • Gary

        Well, Mr. Cottrell, you might want to check up on the financial acumen of David Stockman. He formed his own private equity firm, Heartland Industrial Partners, in 1999 and eventually lost more than $340 million of investor funds. He then took over Collins-Aikman and drove it into bankruptcy.

        On March 26, 2007, federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted Stockman in “a scheme … to defraud [Collins & Aikman]’s investors, banks and creditors by manipulating C&A’s reported revenues and earnings.” At the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil charges against Stockman related to actions he performed while CEO of Collins & Aikman. Stockman suffered a personal financial loss, estimated at $13 million, along with losses suffered by as many as 15,000 Collins & Aikman employees worldwide. Not the type of person I’d trust my investments to!

        “Trickle down” economics was a term actually coined by Will Rogers, not Regan. Reaganomics, or supply side economics, is the term most appropriate to apply to Regan’s economic policies.

        Economist George Reisman, said the following:

        Of course, many people will characterize the line of argument I have just given as the ‘trickle-down’ theory. There is nothing trickle-down about it. There is only the fact that capital accumulation and economic progress depend on saving and innovation and that these in turn depend on the freedom to make high profits and accumulate great wealth. The only alternative to improvement for all, through economic progress, achieved in this way, is the futile attempt of some men to gain at the expense of others by means of looting and plundering. This, the loot-and-plunder theory, is the alternative advocated by the critics of the misnamed trickle-down theory.

        I like that – the “loot-and-plunder” theory. Maybe we should call it Obamanomics.

        • ML

          Gary, the loot and plunder is the vulture capitalist rent seeking economy we have now. It never has not ever will be obamanomics bc he has not and never will endorse the type of unregulated financial system that has grown the inequality gap and caused the great recessions. The big mistake is using the stock market as a barometer for our economy.

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!