Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Reverse New Deal: More trickle-down economics

(WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

According to recent research by UNICEF, "In the United States, child poverty is 32 per cent." Yes, an astounding one third of American children live in poverty at the same time that the Forbes 400 has added $270 billion to their wealth.

Yesterday, either by voting for Republicans, or by not voting at all, citizens across the nation have facilitated more Republican "leadership," even though Republican "leadership" means more tax cuts for the super-wealthy (the "job creators") and more budget cuts for those one-third of American children living in poverty. It wouldn't be so bad if the "job creators" were actually creating lots of good middle-class jobs, but it's quite obvious that they haven't and, further, that they have no intention of ever doing so (see, e.g., "Wages and Salaries Still Lag as Corporate Profits Surge"). Indeed, the whole purpose of the corporate-fueled union-bashing of the last few decades was (and is) to keep wages low and to make executives & investors wealthier and wealthier and wealthier.

We also know what Republican "leadership" means with respect to revenue: The burden of revenue will continue to shift from those who can afford it the most (for example, those Forbes 400 folks) to those who can afford it the least. Taxes will be cut for the wealthy (see, e.g., "Kansas Governor Wants To Double Down On Massive Tax Cut That Tanked State Finances") while, at the same time, taxes that disproportionately burden the middle-class and poor, e.g., sales tax, fuel tax, and property tax, will be raised (not to mention continued increases in various regressive fees, fines, and tolls). As just one example, see "Infrastructure Cracks as Los Angeles Defers Repairs," where it is pointed out that federal aid has dropped for infrastructure improvements, while an increase in sales tax has been proposed by a conservative radio show host & public official to make up for it. This is the type of revenue burden shift that is occurring all across the country--pummeling those who have already been pummeled.

Of course, the Democrats didn't do themselves any favors with their never-ending weakness on so many issues. Today's Democratic Party has close-to-zero New Deal courage & strength, and so it's hard for an electorate to get fired up by candidates who are constantly watering down their words & agenda, out of fear for what Corporate America or right-wing extremists might think.

In any event, welcome to the Reverse New Deal. More trickle-down economics.


  1. I've always pictured trickle down as a group of desperate people standing underneath a pipe leading to a fat cat sitting on a toilet. Excuse the graphic metaphor, but that's what comes to mind considering the mental state of the Milton Friedman types that came up with such a hair brained concept in the first place. But why limit ourselves to the near distant past when Forbes Magazine pulls off a real piece of Sophistry in their recent revival of Adam Smith, somehow claiming that we're all still enamoured of the old guy and his "invisible hand", conveniently leaving out that after 80 years of police state terror tactics by Wall Streets academic & media thugs that have equated FDR's New Deal variation of Alexander Hamilton's American System with Communism, people are normally wary of even whispering his name in the hallowed corridors of the legislatures. But, considering that the Forbes family fortune came from their involvement with the slave and opium trade, which Adam Smith likewise was hired by the East India Company to propagandize on behalf of, we seem to have come full circle.