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Dogma Premise # 38 

When the rich get richer, everyone benefits.

The wealthy may defend their capital accumulations by suggesting that when the rich get richer, everyone benefits. This principle was one of the central tenets of the "Trickle Down Economics" or "Supply Side Economics" advocated by both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

The idea is that if high earners earn more, they'll spend more, which will create jobs for others. Similarly, if firms experience greater profits, they will invest in greater production capacity, also creating more jobs. Proponents of this view sometimes assert metaphorically that "A rising tide lifts all boats."

There are theoretical reasons why Dogma Premise #38 is probably false. For example, wealthy individuals are more likely to save than to spend their excess income, as compared to the less wealthy, so the enriching the poor should result in more job creation than enriching the wealthy. Morever, most firms do not share profits with workers, so there is no reason to expect that tax cuts for businesses will lead to higher wages. The theoretical argument against Dogma Premise 38 is not that helping the already well-off won't have some benefit for the middle and lower classes, but only that it is perhaps the least efficient way of helping those classes.

However, the actual empirical experience is definitive. The United States has pursued decades of increasing tax cuts and business subsides for the wealthy, and the result has dramatically favored the wealthy. Not only have the wealthy benefitted the most, but the working classes have seen both relative declines in their fortune compared to the wealthy, and also absolute declines compared to prior decades.

The increasing affluence of the wealthy does not indicate that others in the economy are also doing well. Moreover, if the goal is to improve the health of the economy overall, directly assisting the wealthy is an extremely inefficient approach.

As we have seen, the underlying dynamics of capitalism tend to make the rich richer. Dogma 38 attempts to answer this critique by suggesting that increasing affluence is a virtue of the system, because everyone is left better off. In fact, everyone is not left better off. If the goal is to make everyone better off, helping the rich is not a good way to do it, and the success of the wealthy is not a sign that it is happening.

Dogma Premise 39

All Dogma Premises

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