Trickle-down economics refers to the largely unproven economic theory that if the wealthy are simply given enough tax breaks, incentives, and economic advantages, they will choose out of the kindness of their hearts to allow a portion of their wealth to “trickle down” to the less fortunate. This is said to come in the form of creating jobs and opportunities for the middle and lower classes that would not be available to them if the wealthy were regulated, taxed higher, or not given proper incentives.
This theory has three glaringly fatal flaws.
1.) It assumes that the rich will — without any prodding or nudging — choose to look out for people who are not related to them by blood or business bond rather than simply use the money to buy another yacht, vacation home, or small country.
2.) It assumes that the haves will be content with the amount of money they have and choose to use their wealth to benefit the have-nots, an occurrence which, if one looks at the entirety of human history, is about as rare as conjoined quadruplets living together in peace and harmony for 75 years. Both of these things are within the realm of possibility, but neither has actually manifested itself to date.
3.) It assumes that the wealthy have hearts, which is a matter largely up for debate.
Trickle-down economics was popularized most recently by President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, and the wealthy jumped on the idea, promising more jobs and higher income for the lower classes before promptly laying their employees off en masse due to computers and automation.
Incidentally, the term originates from a joke told by comedian Will Rogers, who was lampooning Herbert Hoover’s economic policies. For those under the age of 90 who are reading this, Hoover is the president who ushered in a dark time in American history that you may have heard of known as The Great Depression.