If You Still Believe in Trickle Down, You Don’t Get to Mock Bernie Sanders’ Economic Plan

Bernie Sanders' economic proposals are nowhere near as fantastical as Trickle Down Economics is.

Last year, while I was bumming around various right-leaning “libertarian” Facebook pages, I found one claiming to refute all arguments against Trickle Down economics with a counterargument that I must admit I’ve never heard of before — Trickle Down Economics doesn’t exist, therefore you can’t criticize it.

So what the geniuses here at Unbiased America — which I can assure they are not in the slightest bit unbiased — are telling us, essentially is that since Trickle Down is a nickname, it doesn’t exist. What a load of utter bullshit, of course. While it’s certainly true that an official economic term known as “Trickle Down Economics” might not exist in any textbook, any economics textbook that doesn’t cover it should be returned. It’s a real thing. It’s just that at one time, someone described the theory — also known as “top-down” or “supply side” economics — as “trickle down” in order to explain what the higher concepts were, and it stuck.

The general idea of Trickle Down/Supply Side, Top-Down economics is really simple: keep as much money or wealth on the “supply” side of the supply and demand curve and the largess of the wealthy will expand to where they are left without options to stuff their money, but to rain it down upon local economies everywhere. The problem with this line of thinking is history and data. The truth is that what we’re seeing is a concentration of wealth, money never, ever leaves the upper tiers because it’ll get passed from private citizens to financial planners, hedge fund managers, and anywhere else but downstream. The results of more than 30 years of this dominant economic philosophy can be seen in the fact that the upper One Percent own more wealth than the rest of the world.

We can say then, that without a single, solitary shred of doubt that no matter what name you call it — Trickle Down, Supply Side, Who Gives a Fuck — the reality is that it’s fantasy. Pure and utter oligarchic cream dream fantasy. And the most hilarious part to me is that pages like the one I linked above have the gall to mock Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals as being “fantasy.”


Here’s the thing — you don’t get to call Democratic Socialism, a system of economics that is and has been in place in many developed countries around the world, fantasy and then turn around and defend Trickle Down. That’s madness. I mean, you can do that, but you’re the one who’s going to look stupid. The reality is that no economic system is perfect, but what Sanders is actually proposing is much closer to what the economy looked like after the Second World War concluded. It damn sure would look closer to the economies of European countries that are in no way faltering.

Anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders will take the oath of office, wave his magic wand, and make the system better, more fair and less corrupt is kidding themselves. It’s going to be a battle that I dearly hope someone, whether it’s Bernie or anyone else, is willing to have. We have to have that fight. The money is too fully entrenched into our government, and we need someone willing to beat back the barbarians at the gate.

But one thing I won’t sit quietly and listen to are fiscal conservatives who have fought for and defended the economic system that has decimated the middle class call Sanders’ proposals fantasy. He’s not proposing that the state take over control of any industry other than health care. Even then, I haven’t seen any proposal of his  that would break up the health insurance industry. From what I can tell, Sanders wants to put us more in alignment with Great Britain and Canada, where private insurance can still be purchased and used effectively.

Pages like “Unbiased” America are also very quick to ignore any and all savings that Sanders’ plans would bring when telling people they’ll cost shit tons more money. I mean, they’re right-wing hacks, so I’m not surprised they’re parroting the Heritage Foundation bullshit line and not accounting for the huge amounts of money universal health care saves. There is no perfect system, but there is clearly a better alternative for health care that has been put into practice by dozens of other countries, and the same too goes for college.

The bottom line is that a good, healthy debate about the pros and cons of any economic proposal is a good thing. But fiscal conservatives, whether they choose to agree with this or not, do not have the reputation as economic geniuses that they used to have; 3o-plus years of data and reality back that up. So let’s have an honest discussion, and let’s stop calling proposals that have been in place for decades and have worked “fantasy,” while we pretend our current system as it stands is working for anyone but the supremely rich and well-connected.

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