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Policy: Economy

Obamanomics: Trickle-down or ‘Bottom-up’?

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Barack Obama,Economy,Analysis

“I ran for President to restore that basic bargain,” President Obama said the other day, “that our economy works best not from the top-down, but from the middle-out.”

It’s not the first time Obama declared himself opposed to “top-down” stuff. In 2007, Obama and his advisor/fundraiser/donor Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, palled around at Google where the Senator declared “What we shared is a belief in changing the world from the bottom up, not from the top down.”

Back then, I thought it was pretty odd for a firm believer in a strong central government to claim to believe in “bottom up” change. What’s more “top down” than forcing people to buy health insurance, forcing employers to pay workers in contraception, outlawing the traditional incandescent, tightly regulating CO2 emissions, requiring all cars to run on 85% ethanol, and hiking everyone’s taxes? These are all policies Obama has advocated or implemented.

Obama’s more recent quote might shed some context on what Obama meant. He was saying that the economy works best from the middle-out, not the top down. Maybe at Google, he wasn’t speaking in terms of government.

But Obama’s economic policies don’t work that way. He tends to give money to large companies in the hopes they hire people or give customers a better product. “Trickle-down” is probably the best description of this. “Top-down” works, too.

I wrote on Trickle-Down Obamanomics back in March.

Democrats love attacking the GOP for practicing “trickle-down economics,” but their latest congressional budget makes Republicans look like pikers. The spending priorities and “investments” Senate Democrats propose to help the middle class mostly involve handing money to big corporations.

Maybe it’s the unshakable liberal conviction that liberals are always on the side of the insurgents and the conservatives are always on the side of The Man. Or maybe it’s just empty rhetoric from Obama.

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