Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trickle down ... or trickle out?

Ronald Regan's "Trickle Down Theory" of economics (sometimes called "supply-side") goes like this:  If the rich and corporations do well, benefits will "trickle down" to the rest. So ... lower taxes on high income individuals or big business will benefit most of the population because all that money saved through lower taxes will trickle down to everyone else.  

I'm certainly not an economist (and don't even pretend to be), but my response has to be: HOGWASH!  You don't have to be an economist to have some common sense! Common sense and history make it clear that "supply-side" economics just doesn't work; it's "demand-side" economics that moves the economy.  A friend posted the best explanation of that today and I'm going to take from his explanation and then add some to it.

Let's say it takes five people to run the ABC Widget Company.  Only five.  Now let's say the state legislature - or Congress - reduces the taxes that must be paid by the company.  Nice tax break! According to the trickle down theory, ABC Widget Co. will take that tax savings and hire more people. The problem is that ABC Widget Co. doesn't need more people!  Why in the world would the tax savings be used to hire people that simply aren't needed?

Here's what really happens:  The CEO of the ABC Widget Co. will get a nice bonus ... and maybe even some jobs will end up in India.  The tax savings trickled out instead of trickling down.  You didn't benefit and neither did I.  The economy didn't benefit, either.

The company WILL hire more people, though, if they need to produce more widgets!  And that will happen only if people are buying more widgets (demand!) ... which means consumers need to have enough money to buy the product.  

Consumer spending > Corporate profits > Corporate hiring/raises > More consumer spending > Continue the cycle

Yes, there's more to it than my extremely simple timeline ... I know that.  But those ARE the basics.  Tell me how "trickle down" fits anywhere in that timeline.  It's supposed to and the concept is a fine idea, but in reality, it just doesn't happen - and history proves that.

Let's look at recent history, shall we?  Kansas governor, Sam Brownback, promised that his state would be the Republican Model so he and the tea-party lawmakers enacted a whole bunch of really deep tax cuts, right in line with the Republican playbook.  Business got huge tax cuts, the wealthy got really nice cuts, middle class and poor folks got cuts not worth mentioning because the percentage is so low.  Brownback called it a "pro-growth tax policy."  Hmmmm ... so .... what did happen?  Here's a partial list:
  • Kansas trails the nation in job growth.
  • No rainy day fund left - Kansas now in huge deficit.
  • After just two years -  revenue shortfall of $338 million.
  • Revenue even lower than the worst predictions.
  • School budgets never recovered and Brownback demands even more education cuts.
  • Healthcare, assistance for the poor, courts, and other state services being eviscerated.
 Brownback keeps promising economic growth, but it's not happening.  In California, though, there's a different picture.  In the middle of the recession, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for tax increases in order to preserve the quality of state services.  Result?  California's job growth since then has left Kansas - and the country as a whole - in the dust. 

The next time a Republican talks about the benefits of trickle down or supply-side economics, ask for evidence that it works - or has worked - to improve the economy.  Then watch the stammering begin.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Yes, you ARE responsible!

Just today, I posted a link to a story about a Republican woman in Missouri who wants to be that state's next governor.  She's already the House Speaker.  She made sure to demonize women with about everything she said, including providing a "connection" between single moms and child pornography. In other words ... another Republican extremist.  Read the story yourself here.

Within an hour of posting that story, four of my Republican friends sent me private messages saying that woman does NOT speak for them.  Two of those friends even said they are not responsible for what the GOP extremists say and do.

I beg to differ.  Moderate, rational Republicans are most definitely responsible for putting the extremists in office!  And they are the only ones who can restore the GOP to the "big tent party" where differing views are welcome and rational thought is the norm.

Before I explain exactly why my moderate Republican friends are responsible for the extremists, here are a few other comments made by GOP lawmakers at the state and federal levels.

  •  “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”  ~Texas State Senator Jodie Laubenberg, an ignorant claim that rape kits are used to abort a pregnancy (June, 2013)
  •  Human-caused global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" ~Sen. James Inhofe (OK) as he cited the Bible to defend his position
  • "... I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you." ~Rick Santorum, presidential candidate, explaining that rape is a gift from God (January, 2012)
  •  "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!"~Herman Cain, presidential candidate
  • “I would not compromise my principles for politics. You’re saying, will it become politically unpopular to have the position I’m having? If it does, so be it. I don’t compromise my principles for politics.” ~NJ Governor Chris Christie explaining why he continues to oppose marriage equality
  • “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” ~Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who also thinks God causes rape (October, 2012)
  • “Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject — because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low. But when you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.” ~Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, claiming that getting pregnant through rape is rare therefore there shouldn’t be any exceptions for rape victims in anti-abortion bills (June, 2013)
  • Life begins "from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman." ~Former Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer - who needs to take a biology class, pure and simple
Many of the above quotes went hand-in-hand with the monstrous number of anti-choice bills introduced by Republicans in Congress and state legislatures.  This, of course, from the party that purports to keep government out of your life.  Uh, huh.  But they are getting elected, and my moderate Republican friends say they are NOT responsible.  That's where my friends are wrong.

They may not like the radical Republicans on the ballot but they WILL vote for them simply because of the "R" behind the candidate's name!  To vote for a Democrat would surely send them straight to hell, don't ya know!  So, they will knowingly vote for a Republican who believes the United States is a "Christian" nation ... a candidate who wants to ban contraception for religious reasons ... a candidate who is so anti-women that you wonder who brought them into the world ... a candidate who has no problems supporting - and voting for - legislation that makes it legal to discriminate against certain groups of people ... a candidate who wants to make Christian prayer mandatory in public schools. 

It's so simple.  If my moderate, rational Republican friends don't like the extremists in office, they must vote them out.  And that means voting for the other candidate.  Trust me ... you will survive with a Democrat (or 3rd party individual) in office for two or four or six years.  In the meantime, you will have sent the Republican Party a very strong message:  we will NOT tolerate being represented by the radicals any longer!

So, please ... don't tell me you aren't responsible for the extreme right-wing lawmakers now in office.  YOU put them there.