New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else.”
In the contest for the biggest lie in politics, this one is a top contender.
While there have been all too many lies told in politics, most have some little, tiny fraction of truth in them, to make them seem plausible. But the “trickle-down” lie is 100 percent lie.
It should win the contest both because of its purity — no contaminating speck of truth — and because of how many people have repeated it over the years, without any evidence being asked for or given.
Years ago, this column challenged anybody to quote any economist outside of an insane asylum who had ever advocated this “trickle-down” theory. Some readers said that somebody said that somebody else had advocated a “trickle-down” policy. But they could never name that somebody else and quote them.
This is a prime example of what has become the Number One tool in the leftist false narrative creation arsenal: repeat something until a lot of people believe it’s true.
They are, of course, constantly aided by the MSM in doing this. When the narrative machine on the other side wants to make something out of nothing, it goes to its incurious lapdogs in the media first. So “trickle-down” economics becomes a theory even though no one ever espoused it, reductions in the rates of increase for government programs become “cuts” and so on.
Conservative politicians will never be able to consistently battle this tactic until they get comfortable with immediately rejecting false premises, whether in debates, interviews or press conferences. Barry Goldwater was brilliant at doing this and there have been far too few in the decades since he left office who have even tried the approach.
Until people on the Right embrace this counter tactic, lines like “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” will still be floated to an unquestioning public to sell horrible policies.