Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The opposite of trickle-down

Much criticism has been levied at the Reagan-era emphasis on supply-side economics -- derisively referred to as 'trickle down economics.'  There is truth in the idea this policy approach enriches various groups earlier--entrepreneurs, etc--with wealth creation then permeating through the economy.  What critics of this approach fail to acknowledge is that wealth is ALWAYS unevenly distributed.  Even jackbooted communist regimes have failed to solve that issue.

So the question any society ought to ask itself is, how should the more prosperous groups ideally be selected?  In some lands, it's based on who has gumption; in others, it's based on who has the guns.  The American Ideal was always that those who work hard and apply their talents, taking prudent risks and 'pushing the envelope' should receive the lion's share of economic reward.

My... how far we've drifted:
Have you seen the latest jobs report? Major buzzkill: creeping unemployment, anemic growth, and the recovery's totally stalled.
But not here: The District is booming! "Washington may have the healthiest economy of any major metropolitan area in the country," says New York Times D.C. bureau chief David Leonhardt in Sunday's Gray Lady. "You can actually see the prosperity"!
Yes we can! Construction cranes dominate the downtown skyline, and your average homeless guy can barely grab a stretch of sidewalk before yet another boutique store pops up to bounce his bedroll.
True, if you venture outside the Death Star's orbit to visit the colonies for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you'll see a lot of boarded-up storefronts. You might even feel a twinge of shame when Matt Drudge feeds you headlines like "D.C. Leads List of Most Shopaholic Cities in America."
I've long referred to D.C. as "Mordor."  (As in the Boromir quote from Lord of the Rings: "One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.")  The article referenced above is also appropriately titled: "Take me down to the parasite city." 

Let's be clear: government does not produce.  It redistributes.  Even the "goods" it legitimately provides: national defense, judicial remedies, etc, are the result of funding obtained from the productive work of others.  Governance is the cost of operating in a fallen world that requires the retraint of those who exercise their choices at the expense of those around them.

So when government itself has the advantage over all others, you have a problem...

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