Apr. 2, 2014 By Jack Jodell.
Paul Rosenberg recently published an excellent article in AlterNet called “The Sociopathic 1%” which showed how ridiculously flawed current reactionary Republican economic ideas really are. It exposes what this blogger has known all along: that Reagan-era “trickle down”, supply side economics is a complete fraud; that virtually NOTHING has ever trickled down to lower income folks or to the middle class as a result of whopping tax cuts given primarily to the wealthiest 1% over the past 3+ decades under both Ronald Reagan and that god-awful George W. Bush (easily the WORST two Presidents of the modern era). Middle and lower class incomes have all but stagnated, and purchasing power has actually fallen for most since 1981.
The Great Recession of 2008, directly caused by the disastrous banking deregulation policies advocated by then-Republican Senator Phil Gramm of Texas. and passed by a thoroughly misguided Democratic President named Bill Clinton and weak-kneed congressional Democrats and Republicans in the late 1990s, has turned what was once an employees’ market regarding wages and job stability into an employers’ market of much lower wages, outsourcing, and job insecurity. Both Reagan and “W” all but destroyed the once-vibrant labor movement in America, robbing American workers of the only leverage they had to bring about better wages. American jobs were sent, by the millions, to cheaper foreign overseas slave-labor markets, meaning that American workers became forced to compete with much cheaper Chinese, Mexican, or Indonesian laborers. Absolute BONEHEADS like economist Milton Friedman and author / philosopher / sociopath Ayn Rand began preaching utter nonsense about how selfishness is a virtue and altruism is a vice; that government intervention in the economy should rarely or never occur; that huge tax cuts were owed the very rich; and that, if only the rich had even more money and assets, everyone would benefit as a result. These crazy ideas were put into practice by every single President and Congress, regardless of political party, from 1981 – 2009, and traces of this folly remain even today in 2014! Yes, Alan Greenspan was accorded folk-hero status for the roaring economy of the 1990s, even though, as a disciple of both Friedman and Rand, the policies which he helped to shape very nearly caused another Great Depression. The huge gains in productivity which came as the direct result of rapid advances in technology during the 1990s were NOT shared all across the economic table, as they had been in similar periods of great economic growth in the past. Instead, they were hoarded by the wealthiest 1% of the wealthiest 1%, and that is where we unfortunately stand today.
A college diploma once stood as a welcoming entrance into a good-paying job. Due to outsourcing and unrestrained corporate greed, that is no longer the case. For many years, college and university tuitions have risen at a pace well ahead of the inflation rate. Today’s college grad leaves school hopelessly in debt, with the promise of a good-paying job no longer a viable option. They are left struggling to pay off this debt with no suitable funding available to them to pay off that staggering debt. In the past, this grad could turn to the trades to secure a well-paid job, but, as America has shifted from a manufacturing economy to a consumption-geared service economy, these manufacturing jobs have even disappeared due to outsourcing. As a result, many youngsters are turning away from higher education altogether, and that will prove to be an absolute disaster for this country in the not-too-distant future.
The reactionary Republican solution to this growing, very real problem is to slash federal spending on social programs and to press for even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy. Paul Ryan, another disciple and proponent of preposterous Friedman – Rand ideology, has pressed for the adoption of an austerity budget as the solution to our economic problems. All of these ideas are virtually bankrupt, as they fail to put money in the hands of people who need it most and who would spend it immediately on goods and services they need. As they spend, demand would be created for new and replacement goods and services, and thus new jobs would spring forth to meet this demand. Of course, none of these misguided reactionaries see any value in this much-needed “demand side” economics. They prefer instead to keep on rewarding the suppliers and to ignore the workers altogether. How can they continue to be such utter fools? Your guess is as good as mine…
All the while middle and lower worker incomes have stagnated and fallen, corporate CEO and boards of directors’ incomes have been skyrocketing to ever-new record breaking heights. While it was worker productivity which soared dramatically 20 years ago, almost all of the monetary gains went to CEOs or uppermost management rather than to the workers who created this abundant windfall. Whereas during the postwar golden economic age which lasted from roughly 1947 – 1973, when labor unions were strong and incomes of the lower MAJORITY 99% grew at an average pace of 4.1% ANNUALLY, CEO salaries averaged roughly 20 times greater than their employees. Today, in contrast, CEO salaries average a whopping 250 – 300 times greater than their employees, and they continue to climb even as their employees’ wages stay the same. This is not only indefensible and economically unjust – it is downright childishly PIGGISH! It is also proof that trickle down economics does NOT work, and is in fact, a gigantic LIE!
We have repeatedly been told that capitalism is by far the best economic system ever devised, and that it is the only one which allows for the most upward mobility for the most people. We have likewise been told that socialism or Marxism is bad because it traps people into poverty and is inherently undemocratic in nature. Well, this blogger sees very little upward mobility emanating anymore from capitalism. What he DOES see, though, is a dangerous new form of economic feudalism being generated by today’s exploitative capitalists, with no apparent relief in sight for the foreseeable future, and he despises the injustices he sees before him! Working people have NO economic leverage anymore. They are much like economic slaves. The wealthiest 1% have bought out the entire Republican Party and are making steady inroads on buying out the Democratic Party as well. They bankroll vast numbers of corrupt lobbyists to write and influence legislation favorable to them and no one else. They are corrupting and destroying many of our most cherished democratic institutions in the process. They must be stopped before they can finish the odorous task they have begun, and only a highly dedicated and persistent force of PROGRESSIVES can stop them!
That’s right, folks: it is now up to us Leftists to stop this economic insanity dead in its tracks! The sad fact, my friends, is that “Trickle Down” DOESN’T! All of these reactionary Republican ideas have been tried previously in this country, and ALL of them have failed miserably time and again. That is why we simply MUST begin to elect true Progressives to ALL posts of government and rid ourselves PERMANENTLY of these crazy Republican reactionaries and their insane economic ideas and practices once and for all! For there is no such thing as “free trade” or “free market” economics – these are MYTHS that the wealthy and their reactionary Republican lackeys use to confuse voters into electing them. For they don’t want true economic freedom to prevail, and they never have and never will. THEY want ALL economic power kept for themselves to ensure that THEY, rather than WE, have all the economic freedom they can have to ensure their continued dominance over us will remain intact and unthreatened!