by Richard A. Epstein
Hoover Institution
August 05, 2014
The populist rhetoric that economic growth should be “middle-out, not top-down” substitutes classical liberalism with a straw man. A classical liberal believes in “bottom up” wealth creation, whereby individual decisions collaborate on various ventures to drive all aspects of the wealth cycle from innovation to implementation. All sides of the relationship constantly feed each other, so a claim of priority – top-down, middle-out, etc. – makes no sense. The “middle-out” stance carries with it dangerous policy implications for labor and taxation, policies that are at least partially to blame for the declining median income and sluggish economic growth rate. The economic woes of the past decade are not the result of laissez-faire, but of its retreat.

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