Humorist Will Rogers is credited with actually coining the term “trickle down.” After Franklin Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election, Rogers wrote the following in his weekly column:
“This election was lost four and six years ago, not this year. They didn’t start thinking of the old common fellow ’til just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickles down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot. He didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”
It’s really nothing new. When Democrat William Jennings Bryan was running for president in 1896, Republican economics was known as the “horse and sparrow theory.” If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass to the road for the sparrows.
So when we Democrats insist that Republican trickle-down economics is horse manure, there’s some historical precedent for that.