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Letter: Ditch trickle-down for trickle-up

To the Editor:

You've heard the story. The rich are getting richer, and average folks are slipping lower. Inequality is a fact of life on this side of heaven, but inequality in America is now at historically high levels and getting worse. The middle class is disappearing. Americans need to wake up to this self-defeating slide into economic inequality. It is totally avoidable.

We could learn a great deal from the example of Henry Ford. He realized that the guys building the Model T were not only laborers but consumers. He paid his Michigan autoworkers an above-average living wage so that they could afford to buy his cars. Generous? Yes, but also profitable. The truth we must all grasp is that an economy that is good for middle class folks is also good for rich folks.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the Legislature are disciples of supply-side economics, otherwise known as trickle-down economics. The general idea is that tax breaks and other economic benefits such as deregulation given to businesses and upper income people will trickle down to benefit the low and middle income citizens of the state. But history shows that trickle-down economics simply doesn't work, and the fact that Wisconsin's economy is lagging behind most other states is evidence of its failure.

Let's grasp the wisdom of trickle-up economics. If middle- and lower-class workers have more money to spend, businesses will have more customers.

Working class people, not businesses, are the real job creators. When America's middle class is thriving, America will be prosperous. Well-paid workers create rich people, not the other way around.

Harlen Menk