We’re living a failing economy. Job hunters are so discouraged, tens of millions have dropped out. The world is erupting in flames. The terror threat to America is higher than any time since September 10, 2001. Democrats have no successes to point to, nothing positive to defend going into election season. Presidential approval is tanking. Obviously, America is ready for something different. Big government progressives are about to get spanked! Right? Not even close.
Look out, conservatives! With the help of ignorant or malicious national Big Pens and Big Hairs who wouldn’t know the benefits of Constitutional freedom if it bit them in the amicus, you’re about to get painted as the biggest racists, sexists, class-snob robber barons the world has ever known. We’re talking America before civil rights; matrimony before female inheritance and voting rights; class castes before Social Security and food stamps. You horrible non-liberals won’t rest until everyone who isn’t a rich, white, heterosexual, property owning male is hungry, uninsured, unemployed, and socially oppressed.
It’s an old but successful playbook. When Paul Ryan burst on the scene as the VP nominee, with creative ideas on the budget, fighting poverty, and sparking the economy that was dying under Obama, the president displayed his customary grace by accusing Republicans of peddling "trickle-down fairy dust." The media obligingly piled on with stories about Romney’s wealth and Ryan’s tiny nicks in the massive entitlement empire as if they were the end of economic progress.
They protected Progressive dogma and liberal economic fraud in the same way they protected Obama’s foreign policy frauds. The latter have burst into such a disastrous fireball, there’s barely public or media attention left for the former. Nevertheless, there’s domestic economic suffering aplenty.
To preview the coming election/policy debates, let’s consider one class warfare staple: “Trickle down economics.” Strictly speaking, that taunt has always been an incoherent mess.
People get wealthy by persuading consumers to buy their products and services. It’s actually trickle up economics. Goods and services flow to consumers; payment flows to suppliers. And, entrepreneurs usually hire and benefit a lot of workers along the way.
“Trickle down economics”--what does it mean? That if we don't tax the snot out of the rich, maybe they'll pour some spare pennies down on the heads of the poor? Nonsense. Beyond achieving a miserly-sounding sneer, the pairing is exactly wrong in at least three different ways.
First, the wealthy don’t actually trickle anything down on anyone. They pay for things they need and want, with whatever effects that produces in the economy. What progressives seem to prefer is a system to wring the rich like a wet towel and politically drizzle the money on the needy—what’s left, anyway, after government waters its favored causes and cronies.
That's the approach of the shake-down state economies of the Euro-moribund zone and of the great Peron-Castro-Chavez banana republic tradition. You know, where strongmen gain power, neutralize competing power centers--like checks and balances—assert economic control, and chocan the fortunes and freedom of rising Latin nations. (“Chocar” doesn’t mean “to choke” but close enough).
That turns out to be the real “trickle down”: extract lots of money from the rich, feed it through the digestive tract of government and its many corrupt parasites, then dribble what’s left on the heads of the grateful, dependent poor, thus securing their suicidal votes.
It’s ruined a number of nations and threatens to ruin America.
Come to think, “trickle down economics” also reasonably describes the redistributive obsession and promises President Obama has powerfully and empirically debunked in an exhaustive six year field study. Jobs down. Dependency way up. Inequality up. Bravo, Mr. President! Thank you for historically vindicating the historically consequential Reaganism you hoped to erase from the textbooks.
Second, what liberals call “trickle down” is just good ole’ “supply side" or “free market” economics. It means human freedom in commercial activity. Get out of the way of people’s pursuit of happiness and gainful labor, so free exchange and economic growth can build prosperity. Investors, entrepreneurs, managers, and workers build enterprises that hire employees to market goods and services to willing buyers. Prosperity and opportunity spread out from there.
Third, interestingly, if any vertical metaphor makes sense here, it’s not “down,” but “up.” “Trickle up economics” describes free enterprise far better than “trickle down.” The way to build wealth in a free economy is to satisfy the market, as in consumers. That is, to get rich you have to offer goods or services for which A) people are willing to pay you; B) a price higher than your cost of providing; and C) in sufficient quantity that profits proliferate. And your offer has to be more attractive than your other competitors’.
If people get wealthy in a free economy, it's because the wealth trickles up as a result of others’ free choices pursuing their own benefit. All the related suppliers, employees, contractors and others also gain from the same flowing currents of wealth generation. Apart from charitable giving--a different subject--the rich don’t pour or trickle anything down on less fortunate heads; rather the middle and working classes earn income in the streams that trickle up toward success.
Ever since this silly insult first trickled harmlessly off Ronald Reagan’s Teflon, its logic has been amiss. But it is all the liberal establishment has left.