Thad asked me, on another blog, to detail why I think trickle down economics doesn't work. I'm sure he can give me tons of examples as to how it created millions of jobs at McDonalds or Taco Bell, but I still have my doubts. Besides, I'm not sure I've ever noticed anything good trickling down to me. The expression I always heard in business is "shit flows downhill." Maybe that's what they mean by 'trickle down.'
Now one thing that I've noticed since 1980, when we started this big trickle down experiment, is that there's a lot more rich people around. But wait, that's not exactly right. There aren't really any more rich people now than thirty years ago, but the people who are rich seem to be a helluva lot richer.
We've got a lot of rich people bitching about their income tax being rolled back up to 39% due to the economic crisis and the fact that they were set to expire anyway. I see a lot of working stiffs like me saying that it'll hurt the economy if we do this. Because if those obscenely wealthy people in the top 2% get charged some extra taxes, they won't be able to make any more jobs. But it's not really the top 2% that have got all the money, is it? No. It's that top 1% that I've got a problem with.
It's worth noting that in 1980, the top 1% of citizens (income-wise) controlled about 9% of all the money in the US. Today, that top 1% controls over 24% of the money in the US. Not bad, fellas! You almost tripled your control of all the capital in the entire country in just a few decades! We haven't had very many new applicants to the top 1% club in that time either. Sure, they let in a few for show. Some muscle their way in no matter what kind of blockades are thrown up, like Bill Gates. But it's mostly the same old families.
But if they're so much better off (and they are), shouldn't this shit have started to trickle down by now? I don't want to be a socialist, or anything, but if these guys are snowballing their fortunes like this, is that 3% really going to take the wind out of their sails? They're just going to stay in their Tuscan villa, sipping wine and just decide that 3% makes the margins on their next deal just too slim to bother with it.
If you're a billionaire and you and your billionaire cronies had tripled the size of their financial empires in 30 years, don't you think you might want to kick into a system that has been so good to you for 30 years? Perhaps actually tickle down just a few skeets of financial goodness to us peasants? You'd think they'd be willing to help keep afloat the system that put them so far up on top. Nobody wants the goose that lays the golden eggs to die of exhaustion.
By the way, the data about the percentage of income controlled by the top 1% of wealthy Americans came from a NY Times article.
Notice how I didn't copy and paste the article here without announcement or editorial. This is a blog. An annoying, political blog.