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Monday, October 17, 2011

Corporate Parasites and the Failure of 'Trickle Down Economics'

If you want one clear message coming from the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the 99-percenters, you can boil all they're saying down into one argument; Reaganomics has failed and should die. After decades of bending over backwards to make sure that helped the wealthy become as wealthy as humanly possible, we see no real positive results. "Trickle down" economics is really the economics of scavenging -- if the wealthy have a big feast, they'll leave a lot of crumbs. And, as we shift the role of government away from helping people to helping business, even the holes left by cutting spending benefit corporations. Remember that after Bill Clinton ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the only real positive impact the reforms had were for the financial industry. A whole new market opened up and payday loan outfits sprouted up all over the nation like mushrooms, charging usurious rates to people with nowhere else to go. And of course, poverty is at an all-time high.

If this is a successful economic model, I think I'd prefer the old "failures" of New Deal liberals, thanks.

Still, all that wealth is sitting up there, just waiting to trickle down. We've sent pots and pots of money up the economic ladder all these years with pretty much nothing to show for it -- except this:

Chart showing runaway growth in income disparity
Chart courtesy of Mother Jones


It's at this point that any semblance of reason gets tossed out the window. See, we're starting to run out of pots of money to send up the ladder, all that income is just jammed up up there, and clearly something needs to be done. I know, let's send up more pots of money! Maybe that'll jiggle it all loose and once it trickles down, it'll all work out great.

So Republicans and Blue Dogs are looking under every rock they can find (except the Sacred Rocks at the Pentagon) for more pots of money. Then it hits them; Social Security and Medicare. Let's cut the payouts from funds people have paid into all their lives and then we can afford to send more pots of money up the ladder.

Now think about the "reasoning" here; the idea is that all this money at the top will eventually trickle down and benefit everyone. So the proposition is that we take money from you, send it up the ladder, and then it'll come back down to you eventually. If you're like me, you're seeing a stupid and unnecessary step here. How about everyone just keeps their money and we can skip that whole "send it up the ladder" part?

Is anyone arguing that you'll get back more than you send up the ladder? Well, everyone's talking about sacrifice, so the answer is plainly no. What's being proposed is that the government takes money from you to pay off a debt incurred from sending pots and pots of money up the ladder. You don't get squat out of it. In fact, if you make too much noise about it, they may just raise your taxes to pay for the tax breaks they've already given to the people at the top of the ladder.

And this is at the root of all the complaints, from consolidation of corporate power to Citizens United to unemployment to financial corruption to bailouts. Everything for the 1%, at the expense of the 99%. The people at the very top of the economic ladder have become parasitic and the parasite is controlling the host.

So there's your one clear message; supply-side economics is a failure. The detailed solution? Stop doing it.

This is all much easier than you're making it, punditry.


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