President Obama, in one of his most expansive speeches to date, declared on Tuesday that supply-side economics is a failure and called “gaping inequality” across the country a moral shortcoming that is distorting American democracy.
Obama’s speech in Kansas was not just another attack on Congress, or a plea to pass his jobs bill. He did not roll out a new, snappy slogan – such as telling the audience that “we can’t wait” to enact new laws.
Instead, Obama delivered a searing indictment of Republican economic theory, setting the stage for the coming presidential campaign. Summoning the image of a populist Theodore Roosevelt — in the same town (Osawatomie) where Roosevelt delivered a famous speech on economic fairness in 1910 — Obama deployed the language of right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, in a lengthy address that aides said he largely wrote himself.
The theory of “trickle down economics,” which holds that greater wealth at the top generates jobs and income for the masses below, drew some of Obama’s harshest criticism.
“It’s a simple theory — one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work,” Obama said of supply-side economics, drawing extended applause. “It’s never worked.” More