The Amazing Success of Trickle Down Economics

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Some folks insist that anyone who is for raising taxes on the top 1% is engaging in class warfare.  But as Warren Buffett said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

About 2000 years ago, Plutarch observed, "An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."  It will be interesting to see whether America has the political will to save its republic.

22 comments:

  1. I think history might show that by 2012 the Republic was already a thing of the past.

    I'm not sure what title I'd attach to the USA - but it's not Republic.

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  2. I think you're right, Stephen. At least on the national level, there's not much left of a genuine republic. More of a plutocracy these days.

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  3. I'd have to agree with you both. Although I don't think we are purely a plutocracy, we are definitely inching closer to critical mass every day. (Actually, as of late, it may be more running with leaps and bounds as opposed to "inching.")

    What is most profound to me is how many of the masses in the first through fourth quintiles support these kinds of policies. I've heard it explained that their defense just comes from the fact that they would like to be one percenters one day. I don't think that that is entirely accurate. I think that there is a type of manipulation, probably intentional but could be accidentally unintentional, or some mix thereof, in which the concepts are presented in a way which lures people against their better senses.

    The past decades have been ripe with studies about why we believe what we believe, why we are attracted to some ideas and not to others, and how just a simple tweaking of phrases can change peoples reception of a concept. These studies have not gone unnoticed.

    We may be entering into an era in which Plutarch's sentiment is realized on an epic scale, and yet the majority gives that corruption their full approval.

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    1. I have long believed that the top tier has no interest in improving the education system. Manipulators do not want to deal with critical thinkers.

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  4. @ TWF: I all but lay awake some nights wondering how anyone in the bottom four quintiles can possibly support policies that rob them of the fruits of their labor. In the 50s and 60s, growth in productivity was about evenly split between the workers and the investors. Now it almost entirely goes to the investors.

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  5. Unfortunately, I think most Americans are too intellectually lazy and sociopolitically clueless to recognize that the Republic - if it still exists - needs saving.

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  7. Unfortunately, Chaplain, I believe you're right. We are no longer a nation of informed citizens. Instead, we've become a nation of more or less mindless consumers.

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  8. Same as it ever was? Wasn't one of the underlying, hidden reasons to push for the Constitution to make sure that Revolutionary War bonds, held overwhelmingly by the rentier class, were paid off...by force (i.e. taxes).

    Was there ever a "Republic"?

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  9. Good point, Brian! I don't think we've ever had a perfect republic, but I also think it's grown worse in the past 100 or so years. Have you had a chance to see the documentary Century of the Self?

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  10. re: class warfare, I love this sign, and this one.

    There is absolutely no doubt that the top ten percent, and the top one percent in particular, have been the ones who have benefited from the rising economic tides of the last three decades. That can be seen in just about any chart that is based on U.S. government stats over that time. The sign at that second link tells some of the more striking tales of those charts.

    I think Plutarch was right - there really is a problem when the rulers of a country have too much power, and we clearly are at that point now. The only question is what we can do about it.

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    1. Those are great signs! Thanks for the links!

      The top one percent (in particular) has benefited disproportionately from every increase in productivity this country has seen in the past 30 or 40 years.

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    2. My favorite is: I DON'T MIND YOU BEING RICH. I MIND YOU BUYING MY GOVERNMENT.

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  11. I can't help but see a combination of fear and lack of education and/or information in the conservative voter. It may be more a matter of brains built and reinforced to value authority over independent thought, but I continue to want to put graphs like these out there. It's a responsibility.

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    1. Have you read Robert Altemeyer's The Authoritarians, Nance? Just curious, because it deals with the issue of how many of today's conservatives think.

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  12. Oh, there are many people at the bottom and in the middle who believe this "Republic" is worth saving ... from those socialist marxist commie pinkos that want to regulate the corporations and tax the rich and provide universal health care.

    So the sheeple going to elect their capitalist savior, Mitt Romney, to fuck them harder.

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    1. I was talking with a friend the other day, CD, and we were wondering if there was any "intellectual middle class" left in this country. You know, people who are not Nobel Laureates, but who are better informed and better reasoned than the average Faux News viewer. The two of us guessed that whatever intellectual middle class this country has is shrinking. If so, look for even more people to buy into the notion this country is worth saving from the Left.

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  13. Whenever I see stuff like this, I feel scared and helpless... I don't know what I can do to make a difference, which often leads me to just pulling the covers over my head. There has to be a better way, though... A way that I can actually help people see what they are doing, the consequences of what they are creating... Right?? There IS something I can do, right?

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    1. Jen, the future of the Left in this country is currently up to folks like us. Very few political leaders are addressing the real issues facing the country. Most of them don't give a damn. So, it's fallen to average, normal people to raise those issues and clamor that something be done about them. What you -- we -- can do is raise hell and shove a brick under it to keep it raised.

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  14. Sadly, those in power are incapable of genuinely being able to see the problem. The psychological one two punch of "creeping normalcy" and "optimism bias" IMHO means that it will be neigh impossible for meaningful change to come from the top down.

    They live in a very sheltered bubble where these problems aren't genuine threats... just ways to score points and keep their power base. I'm willing to bet none of those in power think it's a genuine risk to America because America is "special" and any talk about "impending threats to Americas existence" are simply ways to get the base fired up to heroically vote for the people they would vote for anyway.

    You need to keep the base feeling like they are the ones saving the nation by electing you... so you can maintain the status quo to keep being elected.

    sorry, if I rambled there a bit.

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Comments Welcome -- but no flaming. If you wish, you can email me at paul_sunstone@q.com