Lindsay Bowe

January 25, 2023 | 1 Min, 55 Secs Read

"Poverty via Policy"

Not too long ago, Americans could afford to pay off college, own a home, start a family, travel, and keep up with necessary expenses all on a single income. Why is that impossible to do now?

One factor was the birth of trickle-down economics, or the idea that if billionaires have to pay less to the government, they’ll spend more money to hire workers and will give more money to the poor. In 1980, Ronald Reagan built his entire presidential campaign on the promise of cutting taxes. He won in 1981 and slashed taxes for the richest Americans from 70% to 30%. One more time: billionaires went from contributing 70% of their earnings to our commonwealth, to only paying 30%. The poor felt that policy decision, but not in the way Reagan promised they would.

To keep the government running after eliminating that revenue, Reagan had to cancel critical social programs:

*Almost one million people were cut from receiving food stamps.

*Healthcare benefits were eliminated for the "working" poor.

*Federally subsidized job programs were cut

*Federal funding for public colleges and universities was eliminated

*Free tuition programs and infrastructure improvement grants were eliminated and those expenses were passed on to students

*Over his eight years in office, Reagan cut the federal education budget in half

Today’s research shows that aggressive tax cuts for the wealthy actually increase income inequality and “has no effect on growth or unemployment.” Trickle-down economics is a bogus scheme that makes the rich a whole lot richer and continues to burden low- and middle-class generations today. Here’s an example:

Last year, a United Nations (UN) official suggested that a tiny fraction of Elon Musk’s fortune could end world hunger. Musk replied, “If the World Food Program can describe exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now.” Three days later, the World Food Program published their proposal to feed 42 million people worldwide. 

The UN never heard from Elon Musk again but he has since bought Twitter for just over 7 times the amount it would take to feed every hungry person in the world. Owning a social media company beat out feeding 42 million starving people because more wealth does not necessarily motivate more charity (or job creation – Elon fired half of Twitter’s staff immediately after taking over).

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