Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Great Moon Hoax of 1835 and the Great Trickle-Down Hoax of 1981

(The Great Moon Hoax of 1835. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

In 1835, the New York Sun newspaper printed a series of articles about a scientist claiming to have discovered a wondrous variety of life on the moon. A good portion of the public willingly believed it (see "The Great Moon Hoax of 1835"). But, as the History Channel points out, "On September 16, 1835, the Sun admitted the articles had been a hoax."

Trickle-down economics is very similar to the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. A great number of economic charlatans and shysters, like Arthur Laffer (the father of trickle-down economics), have convinced a large portion of the American public that if you just keep giving millionaires & billionaires huge tax breaks, they'll use that money to invest in the economy in such a way that good middle-class jobs will fall on us like manna from Heaven. Further, they say that tax revenue will actually increase, as the tax base is "broadened."

Some "experts," like Harry Binswanger of the Ayn Rand Institute, go even further, telling us we should bow in submission, kiss the feet of the rich, and grant them tax immunity. Binswager writes: "Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes...in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor." 
So, for the past 30+ years we've bought into the Great Trickle-Down Hoax of 1981, hook, line, and sinker (1981 is the year President Reagan and his right-wing buddies began to aggressively market & implement gargantuan tax-cuts-for-the-rich). But, instead of good middle-class jobs, we've received the following: Stagnant wages; reduced job benefits; a replacement of well-paying jobs with low-wage service jobs; colossal income & wealth inequality; the largest prison-industrial complex in the world; a huge national debt; crushing consumer debt; sinking tax revenue (when measured as a % of GDP); and an array of regressive taxes, tolls, fees, and fines that middle-class and poor Americans must pay to subsidize tax-cuts-for-the-rich.

Despite their similarities, there is one major difference between the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 and the Great Trickle-Down Hoax of 1981. The peddlers of the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 did not let their joke linger on for too long. The peddlers of the Great Trickle-Down Hoax of 1981, however, are doubling-down on their prank, even after 30+ years of damage (see, e.g., "Kansas Governor Wants To Double Down On Massive Tax Cut That Tanked State Finances").

  (The Great Trickle-Down Hoax of 1981.)

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