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The Trickle-Up Economy: How We Take from the Poor and Middle Class and Give to the Rich

Mark Mattern
The Trickle-Up Economy: How We Take from the Poor and Middle Class and Give to the Rich
ISBN: 978-1-62637-968-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-970-1
ISBN: 978-1-955055-14-7
2021/205 pages/LC: 2021016148
"Presents a well-organized brief to refute many of the 'durable myths' of how U.S. political economy operates. Ideal for an undergraduate course on inequality." —Kathleen Odell Korgen, Contemporary Sociology

"A significant, and provocative, contribution.... not only logical, systematic, and carefully researched, but also well written and accessible." —Alan W. Cafruny, Hamilton College


One of the most durable myths of US political economy is that we take from the rich and give to the poor—penalizing the rich for their hard work and rewarding the undeserving. Mark Mattern turns that story on its head.

Documenting the everyday, institutionalized ways that income and wealth are transferred upward in the United States, Mattern shows how in fact the bottom subsidizes the top. His provocative analysis, describing in detail the processes and policy choices that systematically favor the rich, is both a tale of "Robin Hood in reverse" and a call for a more equitable, democratic political economy.


Mark Mattern is professor in the Department of Politics and Global Citizenship at Baldwin-Wallace University.


  • Trickle-Down Economics: Myths and Fairy Tales.
  • The Great Wage Heist: No Fair Share for Workers.
  • The Tax System: Class Struggle Laid Bare.
  • Social Welfare: We Are All on the Dole.
  • Corporate Welfare: Aid for Dependent Corporations.
  • The US Financial System: A Casino Economy.
  • Racialized Redistribution: Affirmative Action for White People.
  • Markets and Power: The Invisible Fist.
  • Reversing the Flow: Toward a More Democratic Political Economy.