Anybody remember the Trickle Down Theory of Economics? That was one of the dumber ideas to leak out of daft old Ronald Reagan’s empty skull, which was basically to give the wealthy so much money that they were bound to drop some so the rest of us could scramble after the crumbs like so many dogs under the king’s banquet table. The policy of cutting taxes to the wealthy and the big corporations and selling it as Trickle Down Economics was very instructive in several ways, the first being that the ruling elite pretty much thinks of the working classes as mangy hounds to be fed off their table scraps. Only problem was that the wealthy are pretty frugal in the table scrap department and very handy when it comes to keeping a death grip on all their dough.
Precious little ever trickled down, so the second instructive point is that the policy didn’t work at all. Unless of course you happened to be in the tiny minority of super wealthy people, in which case Trickle Down Economics worked out swimmingly, so long as you were able to ignore all those pesky mongrels with their big sad hungry eyes. You know, the other 99% of humanity wondering where the Trickle went. What Old Ronnie didn’t realize is that all the great fortunes ever amassed were made using the Trickle Up Theory, where the labor of the many performing their jobs diligently for a decent wage provided the ownership class with their wealth.
So, how did the ruling elite pay back the working Americans that made them so damned rich? Like any ingrate anywhere, they took all the credit for their success and declared themselves “self-made men” beholden to nobody for their princely lifestyles. They resented the people who made them and their companies wealthy and powerful and so decided to sell their jobs to the lowest bidder. Usually that meant relocating their operations to nations who paid their workers in currency worth less than soybeans and had no words in their language for phrases like “on-the-job safety,” “overtime,” “collective bargaining,” “profit sharing” or “pension.”
The result was the de-industrialization of America and a huge highly skilled pool of American workers left to twist slowly in the wind while Senators and CEOs collected big dough from the government not to grow alfalfa on their tennis courts, golf courses and horse paddocks. That is, those of them who didn’t get into Big Food, the corporatization of American farming that has forced hundreds of thousands of family farmers out of business and off the land, their land, that they had worked successfully for generations. This is a sort of Corporate Collectivization that is becoming as big a disaster as Stalin’s forced collectivization of the Soviet Union’s farms in the 1920s. Farming is now called Agribusiness, and the food we eat is less healthy than when Farmer Joe was in charge. Less tasty, too.
Corporations are all about expediency and quick profits, not what’s healthy or even all that sanitary. If they possibly could, the corporations would ship the farms overseas too like they did the factories so they wouldn’t have to put up with the pesky USDA and their “standards” and Seal of Approval. Today’s modern manufacturers would scorn Henry Ford, who paid his workers better than his competitors because he not only wished to turn out an excellent product but wanted his workers to be well off enough to buy his cars. Whatever shortcomings Mr. Ford had, he built his cars in America and valued the resourceful and ingenious American worker as one of this nation’s greatest assets. His only protege among among modern capitalists is Bill Gates, a great many of who’s profit-sharing employees at Microsoft grew wealthy as the company prospered.
We live now in a nation that manufactures very little. This makes us a country vulnerable to international blackmail. In 1941, Japan figured would we sue for peace, or at worst demand a war indemnity from them for knocking out a huge chunk of our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, their thinking being that it would be just too much trouble for America to fight a prolonged war. Our factories made sure that no one blackmailed the United States and in only 3 1/2 years our industrial might propelled our armed forces to victory over the two most formidable military powers ever assembled, all the while sending vast quantities of supplies and armaments to our Allies. For every soldier and sailor there were three or four skilled workers making sure they were clothed, fed, housed, armed and transported, including 4 million women who showed the world they could survive and thrive in any workplace.
Did any of these Trickle Down billionaires ever think of that when they were busily outsourcing our good jobs and vital production capacity, pocketing the huge difference in labor costs and allowing the highly trained and skilled American workers who made them wealthy to wither on the vine? There is no one trained to step into their shoes to confront a national emergency, and damned few factories anyway. China sure won’t retool her factories overnight to help us in the event of another large scale war. Will we have to hurl data and software at the enemy? Or will any large war of necessity become a nuclear war in a world where a lot of nations have nuclear weapons? Even without that cataclysmic turn of events, a nation without factories is a nation subject to the whims of other countries, who can either withhold goods or jack up the prices to force this nation to change our policies to suit their agenda. Sort of like we do now for oil, but on a broader scale.
A nation that can’t even manufacture its own underwear doesn’t have much leverage. A nation without factories has a dwindling supply of good jobs. A nation with a gutted steel industry is a nation with a dangerously short memory. Such a nation quickly becomes a country of haves and have-nots, with the have-nots waiting for crumbs from the haves to trickle down and getting mightily pissed off, number one for being forced to be in the position of supplicant instead of the proud and independent fair trader of skills for decent wages, and number two, because jackshit is trickling down from on high. We made them rich, and now they’re done with us.
When the economy tanked because the people in charge of all the money decided it would be great sport to cheat and steal on top of being really rich, American workers took another huge hit while the billionaires got trillion dollar government bailouts, not to create or preserve jobs for American workers but to save their own greedy asses. What is our new President “Change You Can Believe In” Obama doing to change anything other than the nameplate on the desk at the White House? The buck doesn’t even stop there anymore, but goes directly to bail out some mega-wealthy patrician boob who couldn’t even run the fabulously successful business that was placed in his care. All these clods were asked to do was not to kill the golden goose, just feed it and take good care of it. In other words, just don’t fuck things up!
They decided they knew better and put on lobster bibs, sharpened their knives and cooked the damned goose instead, figuring you are what you eat and now I’m golden too!, the smug jackasses. Damned few of them went to jail and fewer still lost their jobs over what was one of the biggest criminal fuckups ever. By and large, the exact same arrogant corporate princes are still in charge of all the money and acting resentful as hell that anyone would blame them for their financial debacle. Well, who the hell else should we blame but the people in charge of the money when the money disappears?
Nobody’s dog ate it, no gremlins snuck into the vault and turned it into jellybeans. The people running the economy screwed up the economy big time and they want us to chalk it up as just one of those things? More like another one of those things, like the stripping of America’s industrial capacity. Now they’re stripping our financial capability. It’s only a matter of time before one of these jerkoffs says “let them eat cake” and people start storming their castles with torches and pitchforks. Providing of course, they trickle some cake down to us first. We’re not holding our breath and our patience wears exceedingly thin with the incessant trickle down wreckage of a great nation by its decadent elite.