Self-help guru Marianne Williamson is no fan of trickle-down economics.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro on Thursday, Williamson suggested so-called Reaganomics led to inequality in the U.S. today.
“Starting 40 years ago... our government acquiesced basically because of the undue influence of money onto a system that is essentially an amoral, even virulent strain, of capitalism,” said Williamson, who’s one of the 24 Democrats running for president in 2020.
Williamson is referring to economic policies promoted by Ronald Reagan that de-regulated business and gave tax cuts to the wealthy with the stated goal of having them “tricle down” to the rest of the economy. These policies were implemented without proper safeguards, Williamson suggested.
“Even Milton Friedman himself — the main articulator of this theory — he himself said the only way it was safe was to have a universal basic income,” she said, referring to the original architect of trickle-down economics. “They left out that part and we bought into this idea that all the corporation should owe is fiduciary responsibilities to its stock holders.”
‘The corporation was expected to care’
An overhaul of the way the economy functions in America is necessary to reverse these decades-long trends, according to the bestselling author. Her campaign website includes pledges to fight for raising the minimum wage, government support for childcare services, and repealing the 2017 corporate tax cuts. She is also in favor of restoring a version of the Glass-Steagall Act, which seperated investment and commercial banking and was largely repealed in 1999.
Many of Williamson’s policy positions are shared by some of her Democratic rivals, in particular those running further to the left like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. However, in her discussion with Shapiro, she continued to highlight the human element of these proposals, which has been a hallmark of her campaign.
“When I was growing up, the corporation was expected to care,” said Williamson, who’s one of the lowest-polling Democratic contenders for president. “The corporation according to this theory [of trickle down economics] has no more ethical responsibility.”
She made clear in the last debate that the Democrats need more than a policy wonk to defeat President Donald Trump. But in her interview with Shapiro, she made her views on Reagan’s policies clear.
“I think after 40 years we can say the jury is in. It has not only lifted all boats, it has left millions of people without even a life vest,” Williamson said.
Calder McHugh is an Associate Editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @Calder_McHugh.