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The Con of Trickle-Down Economics

reaganomicsHere is a quick explanation of Trickle-Down Economics: The belief that as revenue increases for the wealthy, or big corporations, those excess revenues will then “trickle down” to the rest of us by the way of more jobs, increased pay and better benefits.

Sounds great, right?  In theory, yes it does.

However, it doesn’t take into account the one flaw we’ve faced since the dawn of humanity–basic human nature.  Human nature is often very greedy, and those who have the most, in many cases, tend to be the greediest.

The old saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely” in reality means power of any kind often corrupts.  With our society placing so much emphasis on money, it has made having money equal having power.  Trickle-Down Economics puts the health of a nation into the “generous” hands of the rich and powerful.

But you have to ask yourself, who benefits most from this philosophy?  Who stands to gain the most by shaping an entire economic ideology around this belief?  It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out–the rich and powerful.  Whose power in politics has grown thanks to rulings such as Citizens United, which allows big corporations the freedom to give unheard of sums of money to any political candidate or party?  Yup, you guessed it—the rich and powerful.

Nearly all credible information you can find over the last 30+ years shows that middle class pay has remained pretty much stagnant.  This fact remains indisputable as the income for the top 2% in this country has skyrocketed, and never more so than in the last decade.  Yet even with that indisputable information, you have millions of Americans who accept this economic theory.

It’s a magnificent con.

The rich and powerful have convinced millions to vote against their own interest.  Right now, instead of supporting closing loopholes for individuals and big businesses that make millions (or billions), an entire political party has instead focused on cutting programs that mostly help lower and middle class Americans.  They’ve screamed “class warfare,” yet have not supported a single deficit reduction solution that includes a sacrifice from the top 1%—even opposing the elimination of a tax break for people who own corporate jets.

It seems insane to think that a middle class American would fight to protect the tax rate of someone who makes a hundred times what they make, all while advocating the slashing of programs they themselves benefit from.

And the worse things get, the more tax breaks they want.  Their talking point is near perfection:

“Well, how will raising our taxes create jobs?  We need lower taxes so we can create jobs and boost the economy!”

They’re right, raising taxes won’t help create jobs, but lowering them didn’t help either.  At least with increased tax revenue we wouldn’t need such drastic cuts to public employment like Republicans have pushed for the last 4 years

Republicans ignore the fact that we had historic economic growth, and all-time low unemployment, under President Clinton–with higher taxes.   They’ve also ignored the fact that we faced the worst economic crash in 80 years, and shed millions of jobs, while we had the lowest tax rates in our nation’s history.  These are two simple realities that easily prove the falsity of the Republican rhetoric that “tax cuts are vital for job creation”.

Ask yourself these questions: Over the last 30 years are most jobs gaining or losing benefits?  Are people gaining or losing their pensions?  Are they working less or more?  Are health care plans getting better or worse?

Keep in mind when you answer these, that over the last 30 years executive pay and benefits have hit historic highs and corporate profits have skyrocketed.

It’s a great scam because the terminology in both its application and rebuttal to its opposition make for great talking points:

“The more profits we get to keep, the more jobs we can create.” 

“How will raising our taxes help us create jobs?”

But if taxes were already low, and the economy went into recession, then the tax rates really had nothing to do with job loss or gain.

The choice is really about more tax revenue or less tax revenue—with the same amount of job creation.  Logic says a country should take the tax revenue if the tax breaks didn’t actually create jobs..

And they haven’t.

What Republicans have done is taken this ideology of greed, manipulated the American people by masking it in a cloak of Christian values and then successfully deceived a large portion of the American population to vote against their own best interest.  The astonishing part is— it has actually worked.

It’s one of the greatest cons in human history.  They’ve co-opted the Christian faith and twisted it into a hateful, judgmental, ignorant group of cult-like followers to support an agenda of greed.  They’ve built their economic base upon the idea that our best interests, and economic salvation,  are found by giving those with the most wealth and power  even more.

Now just sit and think about that for a second…

What a great con.

About Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.