Economic Policy Institute

My interest in politics was sparked by a college course.  It was late 80s – early 90s and my professor made no attempt to disguise for his distaste for Reaganomics, epitomized by the “trickle down” economics policy the president embraced.  I graduated into the worst job market in decades and, brief Internet bubble aside, the years have shown the false premise that putting money in the hands of the top 1 percent of shareholders, investors and titans of industry would make its way down to stimulating economic prosperity for the majority of Americans– the recent tax cut to wealthy people and corporations included.

The time has come to try “bubble up” economics instead. Bubble up economics follow the same principles of trickle down; the difference is in whose hands are we giving an economic stimulus.

Imagine the impact of increased money for the 99 percent that could allow for the broader population access to college education without loans; a new energized consumer base that can purchase houses, cars, and afford to eat out and be entertained; a reliable, healthy and educated workforce that can afford childcare, transportation and housing.

When I knocked on thousands of doors during my campaign, the business owners repeatedly identified their primary challenge as finding good employees. The issue is not going to be resolved through the traditional non-response of endless training programs that don’t address the core barriers to a reliable workforce. Most employers freely train good people; they want and need people to show up. Period.

Bubble up economics invests in the workers’ ability to show up by helping both the employed and the employer. And that workforce is the population who will be spending money in Connecticut with the very same small and mid-sized businesses we need to grow.

We need to get behind policies that make bubble up economics happen. We need to raise the minimum wage and institute paid family and medical leave, but also provide tax credits and incentives for businesses that reward increased hiring and investment in the workforce.

Michelle Lapine McCabe is Director of the Center for Food Equity and Economic Development at the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport.

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  1. The economy is the driver of people’s economic prosperity. Not the government. Socialism is a failure in Venezuela and it is in Connecticut also.

      1. A society in which collectivism is accepted as opposed to capitalism where individualism is the driver. Socialism, in my understanding, is the precursor to communism.

      2. Economists generally accept and teach that socialism advocates that production, distribution, and the exchange of goods and services should be owned or regulated by the community or state as a whole. In general it removes the role and incentives of the individual as opposed to capitalism where trade is controlled by private owners for profit, rather than the state. In both cases industry is still regulated by the state and the rule of law. Socialism or the relatively new “democratic socialism” is not a realistic form of economics for the United States – unless we significantly change the U.S. Constitution and also severely limit the freedom of states to self-govern. I know of very few business leaders that promote socialism over capitalism and for very good reasons.

        Connecticut’s problem is we lost our competitive edge due to decades of anti-business / growth policies, primarily promoted by the Democrat Party and a progressive agenda that loaded us with debt and obligations we could never afford. Not complicated.

    1. Not sure why you are bringing Socialism into this. The ideas described are not Socialism. Unfortunately, many conservatives tend to plaster the word Socialism on anything they don’t like as a way of delegitimizing the argument; is that what you are doing?

  2. Michelle Lapine McCabe’s definition of supply-side economics, frequently referred to as “trickle-down economics” by liberals, is inaccurate. It does not mean giving tax breaks to the top 1% with the hope that they will dole out a few crumbs to the rest of us.
    Also, her suggestion that we need to raise the minimum wage and have paid family leave will only make it more difficult for young people to get their first job, and increase unemployment of low-skilled workers.

  3. Trickle Down Economic Policy has been corrupted by Wall St, and a move to Equity-based Compensation for C-Level Executives This shifted focus from product quality, committed workforce, plant and market growth solely to “Maximum Share Price”. So, manipulation of share price, via stock buy back programs, creative accounting through accusations and refinancing debt have become the new priority…not traditional product market growth. American Companies were at their best, when they were privately held entities. Wall St will eventually destroy our economy, not intentionally, but by greed. Remember, they almost did, not that long ago.

  4. This is spot-on. Trickle-down economics – including low tax rates for the wealthy and corporate elites as a driver of economic prosperity is a failure.

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