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Why We Need Rise-Up Economics, Not Trickle-Down


Why We Need Rise-Up Economics, Not Trickle-Down

Robert Reich

How to build the economy? Not through trickle-down economics. Tax cuts to the rich and big corporations don’t lead to more investment and jobs.

The only real way to build the economy is through “rise-up” economics: Investments in our people—their education and skills, their health, and the roads and bridges and public transportation that connects them.

Trickle-down doesn’t work because money is global. Corporations and the rich whose taxes are cut invest the extra money wherever around the world they can get the highest return.


Empire’s tentacles dangle throughout the world while its body atrophies. As long as resources are used to safeguard the profits of the multinational corporations, they will remain unavailable to the service of humanity (and other critters) throughout the world. The overextended military model is outdated and in plain language no fucking way to run a planet. Mr. Putin has outlined Russia’s intent to maintain its sovereignty through strength while suggesting no offensive intentions. Rather, he intends now to turn inward to a policy of building up social capital within Russia for the Russian people and not for the multinational corporations. If America could have the humility to retreat from empire and also turn inward peace would be a much more likely prospect. A genuine peace dividend is the best result of which I can conceive.


Robert Reich has it dialed. Education, higher education, a well-rounded education, is my personal mantra, fully supported by governments.


I have read a good part of “The Putin Interviews” by Oliver Stone.

It is hard not to see in Putin a decent human being, fully in control of himself, and with the best of intentions for his country, and his countrymen.

I believe the ‘peace dividend’ you speak of is within our grasp, but we will need some luck along with good intentions, not to mention some statesmanship of the highest order.

‘Populism’ as it is used here (on Common Dreams) is a derogatory term - this is wrong:

Populism is a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite…" (Wikipedia)

Populism is true democracy in action - in a very real world, wherein the people have essentially no real choices given the money in politics - so we have opted to throw out the whole works - come what may.

This is the way the real world works.

Putin knows this, as does Xi in China.

Our democracy is largely a sham, as pointed out by none other than Noam Chomsky. We are merely consumers to the corporate and business world - and precariats to boot.

Trust the FBI - the CIA - the intelligence community - the courts -
the business as usual duopoly - give me a break!

Reich has it right, and I note that many so called progressives on this site decry his staid stances.

I believe in a well-rounded education for all, and a higher one at that, wherein all are made aware of the knowledge of the Earth System and the Universe at large, as well as historical, paleontological and ecological advances.

From this will follow a one payer medical system and real food, as opposed to the junk we poison our populace with in the name of corporate profit and GDP growth.

Which brings me to Steven Pinker, born in Montreal, my own home town, and his new book “Enlightenment Now”, which I am set to read right after I finish “The Telescope in the Ice” by physicist Mark Bowen, on the spectacular multi-messenger astronomy now a reality with the South Pole’s IceCube neutrino observatory in full operation, and the LIGO and other gravitational wave observatories, as well as the unprecedented optical electromagnetic spectrum telescopes all over the world now surveying the known universe.

This site features too many naysayers - doom and gloom - in my opinion - and almost never highlights the new knowledge daily in evidence right in front of our noses.

I found the following negative review of Pinker’s book emblematic of the Common Dreams perspective, a generalization of course - there being a few exceptions, which of course only lend weight to the generalization.

From the book, “Enlightenment Now”, and the review article, linked to below.

I would be interested in your calm appraisal, as you seem to be right on top of things here on this website.

Pinker’s book can be summed up - not as Utopian, but rather a a necessary response to a dire reality, not unlike Shackleton’s response to his ship Endurance’s capture by the Antarctic ice so long ago:

“Optimism is true moral courage.” (Sir Ernest Shackleton)

As Pinker puts it, “the disdain for reason, science, humanism and progress has a long pedigree in elite intellectual and artistic culture.” Later, he’s even cattier: “Intellectuals hate progress. Intellectuals who call themselves ‘progressives’ really hate progress.”

Pinker on “progressives”


Thanks for your kind words manysummits, they are most appreciated. Like you, I muddle through life and the content of this and other sites the best I can–some days serious, some days sarcastic. I just ordered Pinker’s book and will add it to my queue. Amazon reviewers have 53% with 5-star rating and 22% at 1-star. Usually such a distribution indicates that the author has the perpetually entrenched class in a bit of a panic and I have no problem with that.

As for Putin I think we are on the same page. I have watched about five or so hours of interviews with and/or speeches by the man over the years. He is forward thinking and my assessment is that Russia is lucky to have him.

Likewise, I have watched hours of interviews with Bashar al Assad over the years. Again I find a sober and thoughtful man with his country’s best interest in mind. I chuckle (with less irony than I would like) at the thought that our government and its mouthpiece, the M$M, go to such great lengths to demonize an ophthalmologist. With its turn in the cauldron wreaking such havoc among the people, Syria seems to still have a fighting chance to emerge as a sovereign nation. The “patriots” who take their opinions straight from the media may blast me, but I wish nothing but sovereign peace for Syria and believe that Assad is the best hope for the people.


How is it that Pinker is so worried about Trump’s presidency?

Trump won by running as a populist, as do the other right wing candidates across Europe.

Trump has enabled Putin, who you respect so much.

You sound as though you see good things about Trump. Is that the case?


I haven’t read Pinker’s book yet - it is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to finish another book on neutrino astronomy. As I have not read any of Pinker’s other books, I have only a vague feel for his thinking, on Trump or other issues. But he is a psychologist, and I think this is an extremely important perspective to become more familiar with.

As I demonstrated in my reply to WiseOwl, the term ‘populist’ is used by different people in different ways. In both Greece and Spain, the populists can be thought of as distinctly left wing.

I disagree entirely. I recommend Gorbachev’s autobiography “The New Russia”. Putin is extensively brought up and his views discussed, and both Putin and Gorbachev were stalwart Soviet Union long before Trump ever thought of entering politics. Trump is a businessman pure and simple, and in my opinion has no feel at all for anything but money. Gorbachev and Putin are literally lifelong Russian patriots, and have sacrificed themselves as such. Trump and his ill-gotten billions will leave politics as easily as he came when he tires of the game.

Yes, but you will have to follow my train of thought. Were I an American, I would have voted for Jill Stein, knowing full well this would be considered a wasted vote. But I have zero respect for the Republican Party and for most of its politicians, and next to zero respect for the Dems. The biggest problem with the Democrats is the hypocrisy, pretending to be something other than what they are. At least with the Republicans you know what you are voting for.

My strength is science - my concern the destruction of the environment, which is non-negotiable. If it goes - we go.

Therefore change, radical change, is necessary, immediately.

In that sense, the crisis that Trump and his abominable appointments represent will make or break the United States.

Strangely, I still have faith in the people of the USA, but I realize they are battling straight uphill at the moment.

It is crystal clear to me that Trump should be removed forcibly from office.

Have you the means to make this happen?

The rest of the world is waiting to see if you can regain your senses.


. . . such as in purchasing the legislatures and governorships of each of the fifty United States, and in buying the House of Representatives, Senate and Presiduncy of the nation composed thereof. The more the fat cats invest in these entities, the more tax cuts they receive — they would be foolish to waste their money on any­thing else!!


“…my concern the destruction of the environment…”

Then I’d caution you to read Pinker with a shaker of alt.


Too many folks view health and the environment as challenges for science to rescue us from, ignoring the age old adage that has proven serially true…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Note also that GM used the taxpayer funded bailout money to buy back stock, shutter US plants and expand plants in China to the extent that new cars in your local Buick showroom are made in China.

Corporations benefiting from the GOP’s recent Inequality Exacerbation Act disguised as tax reform are following the same play book…they have already bought back billions of dollars worth of stock.


I don’t think any of us, scientists included, have any real idea of how bad or how good things are.

The situation we all find ourselves in here on Earth is totally unprecedented for the human race. In addition, the US is looking very much like all empires seem to look when their expansionist dream fizzles. Other great powers are on the rise, and all in a drastically overpopulated world awash in weapons of mass destruction.

Your caution to me is misplaced - a form of disdain. Obviously nothing I’ve said on this forum for the last year or more has made the slightest impression on you, or most who comment here.

Scale that up to the population as a whole and some idea of the existential threat might just begin to seep in.

Pinker is another human being - trying to make sense out of the phenomenal injustice that characterizes our universe as seen by a multi-cultural-dominated human population - a grand experiment as it were.

I don’t know the outcome of all this any more than Pinker does.

But I am going to try and treat him like a feeling human being, and all the while maintain as positive an attiude as I can muster, for, as Churchill once pointed out, ‘without victory there is no survival’.


[wwww.thestreet.com/story/139581747/1/alibaba-technology-can-be-used-to-empower-small-businesses.html](http://www.the street.com/story/139581747/1/alibaba-technology-can-be-used-to-empower-small-businesses.html)
I agree. Build the countries’ people and their resources. Since big business is not working for people, small business, then?


Why We Need Rise-Up Economics, Not Trickle-Down

They know this, they just don’t care. Besides it does not make the wealthy - wealthier. Not quick enough anyway, should make 'em sleep better, but unfortunately not in this day and age.

They = our government, which is owned/run by special interests, wealthy think tanks and spineless politicians.


Here’s an idea of how bad things are: Scientists–BTW, I’m married to one–now recognize that a mass extinction event is ongoing, and that humans are largely the cause.

Pinker’s thesis places humans at the center of all things. I certainly don’t.