‘Trickle Down’ Bad, Stimulus Good?
August 28, 2014
Kevin Williamson at National Review Online makes an interesting point: Liberals decry what they call “trickle-down economics”, but if they support things like President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill, they’re embracing the same kind of economic theory they claim to think ridiculous.
Perversely, those advancing trickle-down ideas are mostly the same ideologues who denounce “trickle-down.” But they do not call it trickle-down — they call it “stimulus.”
. . .
The important point here is this: The argument that the government should spend on infrastructure because a certain piece of infrastructure is needed is one kind of argument; the argument that government should spend on infrastructure because doing so is good for the economy is a different kind of argument — specifically, it is a trickle-down argument.
. . . if your argument is that infrastructure spending, and other federal project outlays, are a desirable form of economic stimulus in and of themselves . . . then you have to believe something far stronger than even the cartoon trickle-down version of supply-side tax cuts: You have to believe that having the federal government literally write enormous checks to gigantic international conglomerates and the rich guys who own and operate them will create prosperity by, forgive me for noticing, trickling down through the economy to the guys who spread asphalt and the guys who sell those guys work boots and burritos and bass boats. “Deep voodoo,” as Paul Krugman would put it in another context.
Interesting point. (You can read his whole exploration of this at NRO.)