Home Budget, Economy Paul Ryan’s $350 Wine & The Bankruptcy of Trickle-Down Economics

Paul Ryan’s $350 Wine & The Bankruptcy of Trickle-Down Economics


It says everything you need to know about today’s Republican Party leadership that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-IL) (heir to a contracting empire, personal net worth: $2.4 million) thinks nothing of throwing down a couple of $350 bottles of wine like you or I would drink Yellow Tail:

Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.

Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.

Much as I like making fun of Republicans, I think the story says something a lot more about the transparent insanity GOP economic arguments. If Paul Ryan gets a tax cut, he’ll probably stick most of it in the bank, spend some on a $350 bottle of wine, and for the most part the only one who notices the difference is Paul Ryan’s stockbroker. But if a family making minimum wage gets a little more money, it not only makes a big difference for that family, but the money gets spent several times over in the local community. The family spends a little extra at the grocery store, which helps the store turn a part-time worker into a full-time staffer, who can now afford to buy a car at the dealership down the street, etc.  

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