Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered a scathing critique of trickle-down economics in which she cited former President George H.W. Bush during her appearance at the AFL-CIO’s Raise the Wages summit on Wednesday.
In the speech when Warren, the liberal favorite who some supporters hope will run for president in 2016, laid out an argument for raising the minimum wage and she took a bit of a detour to attack the supply side economic approach.
“Since the 1980s, too many of the people running this country have followed one form or another of supply side — or trickle-down — economic theory. Many in Washington still support it,” Warren said. “When all the varnish is removed, trickle-down just means helping the biggest corporations and the richest people in this country, and claiming that those big corporations and rich people could be counted to create an economy that would work for everyone else.”
Warren continued that “trickle-down was popular with big corporations and their lobbyists, but it never really made much sense.” She noted that the senior president Bush called it “voodoo economics.”
“He was right, and let’s call it out for what it is: Trickle-down was nothing more than the politics of helping the rich-and-powerful get richer and more powerful, and it cut the legs out from under America’s middle class,” Warren continued.
The entire approach of trickle-down economics, Warren said, is simple —deregulate as much as possible. She said even some Democrats have been guilty of supporting this.
“Pretty much the whole Republican Party – and, if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats – talked about the evils of ‘big government’ and called for deregulation,” Warren continued. “It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do—turning them loose to rig the markets and reduce competition, to outsource more jobs, to load up on more risks and hide behind taxpayer guarantees, to sell more mortgages and credit cards that cheated people. In short, to do whatever juiced short term profits even if it came at the expense of working families.”
But in the end, this whole approach failed, Warren said.
“The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America’s middle class,” Warren said. “Sure, the rich are doing great. Giant corporations are doing great. Lobbyists are doing great. But we need an economy where everyone else who works hard gets a shot at doing great!”