Middletown Knows Trickle-Down Economics is Voodoo; Now Washington Does Too
Muncie, Indiana -Muncie Voice just finished an article last week titled the Middletown Manifesto – Indiana’s Connection to the Big Lie. We connect Jeb Bush’s family and the Clinton’s to the biggest lies told Americans to push public policies which have directly destroyed Middletown, USA – including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Milton Friedman’s, Trickle-Down economics. Toss in the lies behind public education reform and the theft by Big Banks leading up to the Great Recession, and we begin to see how Middletown, USA has been under assault for over 40 years.
The policies devised have intentionally gone to help the wealthiest in our capitalist society, with the theory being, they would design an economy which would help everyone. In reality, the theories were bogus. The folks living in Middletown knew it was a crock, and finally, the public servants in Washington, D.C., know it, also.
Economists and policy wonks have referred to our last 40 years as the greatest upward transfer of wealth this country has ever experienced. These are bold words, but accurate. The message isn’t penetrating the minds of folks in Indianapolis, but we expect 2015 will be their wake up call.
Consider last years United Way ALICE report showing 54% of Muncie households below ALICE thresholds, or the 3rd highest in the state. The report showed all counties in Indiana having more than 21 percent of households living below the ALICE Threshold. In addition, more than two-thirds of Indiana’s municipalities have more than 20 percent of households living below the ALICE Threshold. Contrary to some stereotypes, ALICE households have a range of demographic compositions. As in Indiana’s overall population, more than 81 percent of the state’s ALICE households are White.
What does an ALICE household mean?
ALICE households are working households and pay taxes; they hold jobs and provideservices that are vital to the Indiana economy in a variety of positions such as retailsalespeople, laborers and movers, team assemblers, and nursing assistants. The core issueis that these jobs do not pay enough to afford the basics of housing, child care, food, healthcare, and transportation. Moreover, the growth of low-skilled jobs is projected to outpace that of medium- and high-skilled jobs into the next decade. At the same time, the cost of basic household necessities continues to rise.
Based on calculations from the American Community Survey and the ALICE Threshold, 922,342 households in Indiana, or 37%, are either in poverty or qualify as ALICE.
So, while the public policy makers in Indianapolis and Washington spent all their time and effort making life better for the 1%, poverty lifestyles grew to encompass 54% of residents in Middletown, USA. The middle class became the working poor.
In our article titled, Government Redistributing Income Upward, we learned the French professor Thomas Piketty had completed thorough research about capital distribution in the West since the 18th century, and the findings show how wealth and income has shifted from the 99% to the 1% by design.
Well, after Wednesday’s speech in Washington by progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), at the AFL-CIO’s, Raise the Wages summit, we suspect income and wealth inequality will get much more attention. Senator Warren told the crowd:
Since the 1980s, too many of the people running this country have followed one form or another of supply side — or trickle-down — economic theory. Many in Washington still support it. When all the varnish is removed, trickle-down just means helping the biggest corporations and the richest people in this country, and claiming that those big corporations and rich people could be counted to create an economy that would work for everyone else.
She even quoted Jeb Bush’s father when he called trickle-down theories, “voodoo economics”. He might have coined that phrase, but it didn’t prevent him from applying its principles during his presidency. He was a staunch supporter of NAFTA which literally gutted Muncie, Indiana overnight.
Senator Warren went on to say:
Pretty much the entire Republican Party – and, if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats – talked about the evils of ‘big government’ and called for deregulation (Bill Clinton). It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do—turning them loose to rig the markets and reduce competition, to outsource more jobs, to load up on more risks and hide behind taxpayer guarantees, to sell more mortgages and credit cards that cheated people. In short, to do whatever juiced short-term profits even if it came at the expense of working families.
But, as we’ve shown on Muncie Voice, and Senator Warren concluded, “In the end, these policies have failed the people the government was designed to help.”
So much for Milton Friedman and his cronies at the Chicago School of Economics. Four decades of implementing bad policies for the wrong reason has gutted the Middle Class further widening the gap between the haves and have-nots.
This isn’t just a “policy issue”…it’s the defining structural problem with our entire economy. It’s the cause of all other problems surfacing in the United States. Without serious discussions about this problem, we’ll see no progress in our economy. It cannot be corrected by a capitalist economy – in fact, a larger percentage of the American population will become ALICE households, so any growth we experience will be short-lived and not sustainable. Period.
We’re sure the knee-jerk reaction by Wall Street and their American Media mouthpieces will be to quickly try to drown out further discussions and hope the American people ignore progressive voices. Using denial to cope with this problem is flawed to the core…it simply cannot be ignored.
Watching middle-class conservatives vote for politicians who’ve proudly pledged to screw them and their children over fills me with the same exasperated contempt I feel for rabbits who zigzag wildly back and forth in front of my tires instead of just getting off the goddamn road. ― Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing