To the Editor-
When Pope Francis issued his 1st Apostolic Exhortation, he criticized trickle-down economic theory calling it “an opinion which has never been confirmed by facts.”
He further warned about income inequality saying that while the rich are richer than they’ve ever been “the excluded are still waiting.” Actually the Republican trickle-down theory has been studied recently and in depth by two highly respected groups – one national and one international – and has definitively been shown to be wrong.
First, the Congressional Research Service studied 65 years of U.S. data and came to some conclusions that shocked Republicans, but which Pope Francis seemed to know instinctively. They concluded that lowering the top tax rate had not improved economic growth as measured by savings, investment, or per capita increases in GDP. Rather, they found that in the U.S. in the last 65 years when taxes were higher on the top brackets the U.S. had a stronger economy as measured by higher savings, more investment and greater per capita growth rate of GDP.
The second study was by the International Monetary Fund. The fund has spent years recommending tax cuts and low wages to promote economic growth. Now they admit that their recommendations have actually harmed nations by causing economic inequality. They came right out and said in the summary of their 2015 study that “when the rich get richer, benefits do not trickle down.”
The policies they now champion emphasize raising the income of the bottom 20 percent. They now emphasize higher taxes on top earners, healthy trade unions, access to higher education, and stronger safety nets.
Pope Francis speaks to us as a moral leader emphasizing a preferential option for the poor. Economists speak to us as scientists taking a cold hard look at the data. I find it amazing and wonderful that they are in complete agreement.
Leigh Allgaier, Stevens Point