The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trickle-down For 2016?

The following is a great quick read about a topic that should be at the root of our thoughts of 2016. While the current China driven market correction looms "hot' in out minds, we still feel long-term consideration of economic issues is critical to highly informed voters.


Jesus Versus Republicans: On Trickle-Down Economics (IMAGES/VIDEO)


Let’s examine republican economics, in light of the Bible they profess to believe in.

Over the years, the theory of trickle down economics has been sold to the masses under various names. Under Nixon, republicans promoted their economic theories under the title “supply-side economics.” Under Ronald Reagan, the same old garbage was recycled and dubbed “Reaganomics.” Under Bush it was known as “trickle down theory.” Lately, for lack of anything more creative, the same old theories are being touted as good old “free-market” economics

Regardless of what you call it, the right has been promising for decades that more government subsidies for business, lower tax rates for corporations and lower wages for workers is going to result in economic prosperity for the United States.

Near the end of George Bush’s presidency, the entire world saw first hand the horrifying consequences of republican economics. The US was hit with the second worst economic crash in its history, comparable only to the Great Depression, which struck America in 1929 and lasted nearly a decade.

Lest we forget, the Great Depression was also the result of right-wing economic policies. It can’t be blamed on “liberal programs,” like social security or welfare or medicaid, because those programs didn’t exist yet. It can’t be blamed on government jobs, or worker pensions, or any of the other bullshit the right attempts to blame for the more recent economic crash, as none of those things were in existence either. In reality, the U.S. economy did not begin to recover from the Great Depression until after Roosevelt’s New Deal, FDR regulated the banking industry, strengthened labor unions, introduced fair labor standards, invested in infrastructure, created the social security system, and did a number of other important things for the nation. These programs helped bring the United States back following the most devastating economic crash in US history.

Roosevelt also raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans to 94 percent. It was that move, maybe more so than any other, that not only helped eliminate America’s war debt, but also helped to bring the U.S. economy back from the brink.

Throughout the early 1930’s, the nation’s top earners were taxed at a maximum rate of just 25 percent. By 1944, however, America’s top earners were paying a tax rate of up to 94 percent. Between 1944 and 1963, federal income tax rates remained at 91 percent or higher for America’s top earners. Under those tax rates the nation was prosperous and the economy flourished.

It wasn’t until years later, in 1964, that Lyndon B. Johnson put forth a series of tax cuts that began the downward spiral of tax cuts, which would slowly, but surely, bring down a prosperous nation. Johnson slashed corporate tax liability. He also cut income tax rates on the highest earners to 77 percent, a 14 percent decrease. A year later he dropped income tax rates for the rich another 7 percent, leaving a tax rate of 70 percent for the wealthiest Americans.

For nearly two more decades the federal income tax rate remained at 70 percent for the richest Americans.

By the 1980’s the Great Depression was ancient history and the lessons America learned from it were all but forgotten. Enter Ronald Reagan. With his vast experience in theatrical performances, the new republican president wasted no time fulfilling the role he was hired to play. He succeeded in demonizing the poor, coining the term “welfare queen,” while prompting Americans to turn their sympathies toward the “poor, beleaguered rich”.

Since we’re talking about the Bible anyway, is it okay to point out that “the number of the letters” of Ronald Wilson Reagan’s name total 666? While Reagan may not have been the anti-Christ, the policies he sold the American people were certainly anti-Christian. Instead of the “my brother’s keeper” ideals espoused in the New Deal, Reagan ushered in an era of selfishness and self-obsession unlike anything the country had ever seen before.

In 1981, Reagan slashed taxes on the top earners in the U.S. by 20 percent. He pulled this off easily, by convincing the right that he was cutting all income taxes. While this was true, the tax rate fell by a comparative 2 percent for almost everyone earning less than $85,600. On the other hand, anyone earning over that amount saw their income tax rate drop from 70 percent to 50 percent. But that wasn’t the end of it. In 1987 Reagan slashed taxes for the highest earners yet again, dropping the rate to 38.5 percent. At the same time, he raised taxes on the poorest citizens by as much as 11 percent. And then in 1988, Raegan slashed the tax rate to 28 percent for everyone earning over $30,000.

George Bush Sr. mostly left Reagan’s tax code in place, making only slight changes by taxing those earning over $86,500 at 31 percent. Bill Clinton raised taxes on those earning over $250,000 to 39.1 percent, a rate that remained fairly steady throughout his two terms in office.

Then George W. came along, and sold America more of the same old right wing bullshit. Bush did something no other American president in history had ever done. He cut taxes during a time of war, setting the stage for a federal debt crisis that would lead to deep cuts in domestic programs; programs which were created to protect the poorest among us. Accidental? George W. was just another paid actor, sent to Washington to accomplish the mission his billionaire buddies hired him to accomplish. Rob from the poor and give to the rich.

Here’s what these decisions look like in terms of income inequality in the US. The image below shows the percentage of wealth possessed by the top 0.01 percent of earners, between 1913 and 2012.
 image credit: Gabriel Zucman, via Fortune Magazine
image credit: Gabriel Zucman, via Fortune Magazine

The rise and fall of income inequality can easily be plotted to the rise and fall of tax rates for the richest Americans.

Here’s another telling graphic, which shows the actual share of income tax paid by corporations in 2014.
image credit: Bill Moyers
image credit: Bill Moyers

Just as the Great Depression was the result of right wing economic policies, namely unregulated capitalism and a society that idolizes the rich and exploits the poor, the 2008 economic crash was the inevitable result of right wing economics.

Supply-side economics, Reaganomics, trickle-down economics, call it whatever you like, it’s a bogus theory promoted by the right wing, that tells us that when the rich have more, the rest of us will somehow prosper. As we can see in the images above, when the rich have more, everyone else has less. Nothing trickles down from the top, instead their share of the nation’s wealth just gets bigger and bigger. When wealth inequality reaches a fever pitch, as it did in the 1930’s and again in the 2000’s, the entire economy suffers as a result.

Chances are good that if you’re a right wing Christian you won’t believe an evil, left-wing, communist, socialist, libtard like me. But what about the Bible that you so loudly profess to believe in? Here’s what the Bible says about trickle down economics.
One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty. (Proverbs 22:16)
Today the federal government gives out tens of billions of dollars in corporate subsidies and tax breaks for the rich, thanks to republicans in Congress who have repeatedly threatened to shut down the government, to protect their billionaire buddies bank accounts. At the same time, more than 80 percent of adults are now living at or near the federal poverty line. If republicans are the good Christians they so loudly profess to be, shouldn’t they have seen this coming, in light of Proverbs 22:16?

The Bible doesn’t just predict that those who oppress the poor and give gifts to the rich will come to poverty. There are also numerous verses that espouse the idea that those who are generous and give freely to the poor will prosper. For example, Proverbs 2:8 says that “those who give to the poor will lack nothing.”

In Daniel chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was instructed to “break off ” his sins and iniquities by showing mercy to the poor and oppressed. According to the Biblical prophet Daniel, doing this would “lengthen the prosperity” of the king.

So according to the Bible, giving to the rich brings poverty, while giving to the poor brings prosperity. Why haven’t my elected right-wing spiritual advisers politicians ever mentioned this before?

Contrary to the Bible, republicans promote the idea that ignoring the poor is the real way to prosperity. Worse, they claim that giving gifts to the rich will lead to prosperity, not poverty, as Proverbs predicts. What most of us know by now is that when we give gifts to the rich, they keep them. When we ask for some of that promised trickle-down, the rich just cry and stomp their feet over the unfairness of it all. Then right wing politicians rush in to write legislation designed to prevent any potential “trickling-down” of anything.

When we give to the poor, whether in the form of welfare or food stamps or housing subsidies or anything else, that money doesn’t sit in an offshore bank account. It gets put back into the economy, while at the same time helping to meet the needs of our fellow citizens. In that way, giving to poor ultimately helps everyone. Giving to the rich, on the other hand, just increases the size of their already bloated bank accounts.

If you still don’t believe that, you should watch the video below, courtesy of politizane on YouTube.

What it all boils down to is that the bottom-up economic principles laid out in the Bible are economically and spiritually sound. The top-down economic policies of the republican party, on the other hand, are neither sane or sound. And as much as they claim to be the “party of God,” republican economic policies are anything but Biblical.
*Featured image credit: public domain image via wikipedia

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