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So, what's trickling?

Published October 20, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What in the heck does Gov. Mitt Romney mean when he criticizes "trickle-down government," a phrase he's used in both debates? Ronald Reagan's trickle-down economics meant that giving money to the rich and businesses will help poorer citizens by improving the economy as a whole, which would give them jobs.

But I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around what "trickle-down government" could mean, especially since the vast majority of government expenditures don't trickle down but are direct payments to the 47 percent of Americans who Romney loathes. Most of the budget is spent on Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits, student loans, food stamps and military and civil service paychecks. All that money trickles up the economy in the form of broad consumer spending.

Most of government spending that actually trickles down is Defense Department contracts, and Romney wants to increase defense spending.

The Republican candidate for president just says words he thinks will push people's buttons, even it they make no sense.

Rand Tolman

Salt Lake City