Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Trickle Up Economics

Frequent readers of BDM (all six of you), have probably encountered a term I think I coined: the Trickle Up Theory.

As you have probably guessed, "Trickle Up Theory" is my somewhat snotty response to the Trickle Down Theory of economics, which seems to rear its ugly head at least once per decade. The Reaganites called it Reganomics, natch; the Clintonites called it “supply-side” economics. Not sure what Bush Inc. is calling it, “nukuler smok-em-out” economics, probably.

Of course, supply-side economics doesn’t work. Cutting taxes for these guys doesn’t spur economic growth. Nor does it create jobs, increase wages or generate income, as its proponents would have you believe. All it does is make these guys richer. And their mistresses too.

And where does all that money come from? From us. That’s why I call it the Trickle Up Theory. Money trickles up from us po’ folk to the rich. Get it? There are lots of mechanisms in place to facilitate this poor-to-rich trickle—insurance companies, temp agencies, banks, governments, debt collectors—so much so that it’s actually a stream. Perhaps even a torrent.

Here’s a good example of locally grown (groan) Trickle Up Economics. Here’s the global variety.


Another thing I’ve noticed about Trickle Up Economics is that as money trickles up to the rich, accounting prowess trickles down to the poor. That is, the most fastidiously accurate accountants seem to be hanging around us lowly wage earners, while the really incompetent accountants seem to be working for huge government agencies and global investment firms and multi-billion-dollar military contractors and stuff. Life is full of ironies, I guess.

Take the Pentagon, for example. According to some estimates, the Pentagon has lost $2.3 trillion. That’s right—trillion.



That’s roughly $8,000 per American. Meanwhile, the U.S. Dept. of Education is after me for the $800 I still owe on my student loans. I’ll tell you what, Dept. of Education, as soon as the Pentagon finds the $2.3 trillion, I’ll cough up the $800 out of my share. How’ll that be? Super.

I have a letter from Xcel Energy magneted to my fridge. Xcel Energy is the multi-state energy company once headed by former Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary back when it was known as Northern States Power. After O’Leary’s four scandal-plagued years with the Clinton regime, NSP wisely changed its name.

But back to the letter. The letter from Xcel Energy was sent to inform me that there was one cent left over from the account at my previous apartment, and that they are transferring said amount to the account at my new address. Once cent. Now that’s efficiency!

Hey! I’ve got an idea! Let’s take all the Xcel Energy accountants and trade them to the Pentagon. The Pentagon accountants can then work for Xcel. I mean, a penny here or there doesn’t really matter that much. I’m confident that Xcel can make up the difference from the occasional missing penny. But the Pentagon clearly needs help.

Well, that was easy. (yawn) Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle NASA.

1 comment:

The Buss said...

Let's just say that I'm an underpaid teacher who has a massive student loan debt (that is still growing and will grow until I am done with doctoral school), and I know they'll be hounding me for the next 50 years about it. In the meantime, the government spends the amount of money I owe every half second to fight their idiotic war. Trickle up economics is a great concept, and it's true.

Here where I live, they raised the minimum wage, of course, the cost of bread rose with it, so who got ahead? The break makers, that's who.