“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.”
It certainly sounds nice.
Coined by a New England chamber of commerce in the 1950s, it implies that a better economy will help everyone.
But the aphorism is just trickle-down economics marketed in a Hallmark card. It needs to be re-examined. As American economist Gene Sperling says, “The rising tide will lift some boats, but others will run aground.”
Some people don’t even have boats.
Since the Great Recession, the American economy has largely recovered. Unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market is doing well, and corporations are recording record profits.
For most of us, however, we don’t feel boosted.
The median net personal worth today is $97,000. But in 2004, it was $140,000, adjusted for inflation. Millennials are the first generation to be in worse financial shape than their parents. The richest 1 percent of Americans have as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of Americans. White women in Washington earn 76 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and a black man earns 74 percent. Over 16 percent of Hispanic Washingtonians do not have health insurance. Washington public schools are the most overcrowded in the nation.
Washington’s economy is booming. How come most of us don’t feel it? How come median household income for Americans hasn’t increased in decades?
When the economy is doing well and the majority of citizens aren’t feeling the benefits, something is wrong. EOI believes that a rising economic tide is a good thing, but we need more. We need to make sure that everyone benefits in the prosperity.