Here’s the thing about “trickle-down economics.” So much depends on the will of the tricklers. That’s one thing the history of the last 40 years should have taught us.
Another thing we should know by now is that very few of today’s richest people have any interest in trickling down their winnings to their employees or to the wider public.
That’s why the consolidation of wealth among the top 1% of the world’s population is at an historic high.
The combined voices of governmental and media love to say that the benevolent trickle machine is working just fine, and always seem shocked to find that it isn’t.
Only AP and The Guardian, not the NY Times, Washington Post, nor even the Los Angeles Times have been on top of the story of the hordes of fully employed people experiencing “food insecurity” – a.k.a. persistent hunger — and living not just homeless but sometimes unsheltered on America’s West Coast.
Their share of the trickle has been what “rolls downhill.”
When two economists from Princeton proved it with death data that shocked even them, the breadth and depth of America’s deadly opioid- and other addiction problems rooted in despair went largely unreported.
More willful blindness in support of willful callousness and greed: the NY Times claps the capitalist conventioneers of Davos on the back in congratulation for what it calls a booming global economy. Yep, things are booming where they live, and the places where the bottom is falling out of survival are usually so far away, or beneath notice.
Did they talk at Davos about the growing global underclass? How many participants in the oligarch’s pep rally cared to hear about the record number of people who are living off the charts, out of their homes, out of their home countries, as refugees.
What’s happened to the millions of people whose arrival in Europe was once such big news? Show me the evidence that anyone in the American news media (or in American political life) gives a hoot.
Much better to hear Donald Trump say America is “open for business.” By which he means, America will run the fabled “race to the bottom” by obliterating environmental and workplace safety standards and fiscal monitoring (a.k.a. “regulation”) and lightening not just the corporate tax load, but any sense of corporate responsibility for the preservation of the planet, or the protection of workers or neighborhoods.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, generally considered among America’s most enlightened oligarchs, was one of the first businessmen to take advantage of Trump’s endowment of the already over-endowed. He could hardly contain his self-congratulation in announcing that Apple would repatriate less than $40 billion to the United States of the more than $250 billion in earnings he and his money people had hidden away in banks in Ireland and the Island of Jersey. “We have a deep sense of responsibility,” he said, “to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible.”
Excuse me, but waiting for America’s Chiseler-in-Chief and his corrupt little shavings in Congress to give you a deep discount on an already discounted tax rate to bring your money “home” isn’t “responsible.” It’s reprehensible. Apple ducked a 36% tax rate, came home when it dropped to 21% and then got handed the additional courtesy of 15%. Kinda favorable terms for “giving back,” don’tcha think?
A sure sign that America needs to move to “bubble-up” economics, and a bottom-to-top political renovation. A sign that the trick in “trickle-down” is on us.
Another example of President Trump rewarding the already rewarded is his placing the oil, gas and coal industries in the Federal Competition Protection Program. His tariff on imported solar cells and panels will not only disincentivize investment in this competitor to fossil fuel energy by raising consumer prices, it could stunt American innovation in a key technology of the 21st century. Keith Johnson, global geo-economics correspondent for Foreign Policy, joins us Monday to talk about this, and the recent rise in global oil prices.