When a liquid trickles, it flows very slowly in very small amounts.
"Trickle-down economics" and "the trickle-down theory" are terms used in United States politics to refer to the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses and the wealthy will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole. The term has been attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression that "money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy". Proponents of these policies claim that if the top income earners are taxed less that they will invest more into the business infrastructure and equity markets, it will in turn lead to more goods at lower prices, and create more jobs for middle and lower class individuals. Proponents argue that economic growth flows down from the top to the bottom, indirectly benefiting those who do not directly benefit from the policy changes. However, others have argued that "trickle-down" policies generally do not work, and that the trickle-down effect may be very slim, if indeed it even exists at all. (Source: )
Clay Bennett's cartoon from the Chattanooga Times Free Press offers a literal/metaphorical representation of "trickle-down economics"—with a twist. The champagne trickling down from the top of the champagne fountain represents money (note the dollar sign on the bottle). But it stops at the second tier from the top, not reaching the poorer people at the bottom of the stack. The cartoonist is clearly sceptical about the benefits of trickle-down theory, suggesting that wealth remains concentrated in the hands (glasses) of the rich at the top.
In the US, trickle-down theory tends to be associated with the , who are opposed to President Obama's plans to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for his jobs bill.