Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wimpy and the trickle down theory

"I will gladly pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today."  The words of Wimpy, the hamburger loving character from the Popeye cartoons, deployed twice in recent decades as economic theory by American Republican presidents.  The theory, so trumpeted today by the party it surely must have considered replacing the elephant with Wimpy as the party's mascot.  It would most certainly be an improvement from a public relations standpoint than a depiction of a smiling robber baron with one foot on the neck of a middle class American while simultaneously looting the pockets.

There are three things many Americans despise, national debt, unemployment, and for American Idol to be preempted.  Unfortunately, the amount of time spent thinking about each appears disproportionate.  Who wouldn't want to veg out in front of the tv after a long hard day's work instead of trying to determine which party's economic plan will figuratively skull fuck their kids out of their future?  The national debt rose 180% from 1981 through 1988.  The national debt rose 100% from 2001 through 2008.  What do these two periods have in common?  Wimpy economics, or as the half bright elitist George W. Bush's wiser father would call it, "Voodoo economics".  The beginning of the following two Democratic led administrations, in 1993 and 2009, also have something in common, each time after creating massive new debt, the Republican party leaders bellowed at them from the bottom of their robber beings, panicking America that if we stayed on course, blood thirsty foreign hounds would start showing up at American doorsteps demanding immediate debt repayment and to swallow each child's soul and turn them into socialist day laborers.

If Bernie Madoff were president, he most certainly would agree with party leadership, the easiest way for the wealthy to become more wealthy isn't hard work, innovation, or entrepreneurship, it's the easy buck scam.  The truly beautiful part is the framing of the game to the sucker, any competent scam artist knows the game has to be decided before it begins.  "If you go in debt trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy now, which you won't even notice, you will be provided a job Tuesday paying you enough to buy a luxury house and car with enough left over to gold plate your new super wealthy ego."  It's sellable, enough of the electorate salivated so uncontrollably, imagining the taste of victory after years of hard working struggle, they signed the nation up for the slick scheme again in 2001 thinking, "I know where the queen is this time, I'd bet our future on it."

And so it goes, another Democratic president handed a massive annual budget deficit, this time a cool trillion,  being asked what the fuck he did to make that happen.  They went so far this time as to threaten filibuster in the senate so as not to undo the scam.  "Fuck the debt, fuck the American people, have you seen my new yacht, it's much more spacious and as a bonus the guy who washes it will now work for half his prior wage, he's desperate."  There could be a fly in the ointment, it seems many Americans are waking up to the idea Wimpy economics might just be a scam, that President Obama was the victim of a scam the same way they were, that they will never pick the queen, that they may well end up struggling to stay or become employed at any job if we do this again, that Wimpy's Tuesday will never come.  Mitt Romney however, has the card table set up again, selling Wimpy economics, looking for another shellacking of the American people to provide one last big score for his bank account prior to riding off to heaven on his dancing horse.


  1. It would be great if a political party could indeed change the path of the glacier of debt in the US. The fact is all politics answer to the few riding the glacier while we try to outrun it. As long as we think something or someone or some group or some party is the answer the men on the glacier are happy. Just so the people themselves follow someone or something and are otherwise passive and stay in the lines.

  2. I've witnessed a few pivot points in American political history, in which things swung to a new direction. One was President Kennedy's New Frontier, symbolized best by the race to the moon. Another was the Reagan revolution, when the country decided that government didn't always have the answers. This was captured by the armchair phrase "trickle down theory."

    I believe we are witnessing another major swing in history. There is a grudging acceptance among many that "trickle down," at least in its extreme form and method of practice that some have embraced, has not worked and has resulted largely in enormous concentrations of wealth and political influence. The nation has been changed in a bad way and the social contract has been diminished. In this regard the "voodoo" aspects have turned out to be very real.

    Such changes often result in fear and anger--particularly when some leaders, politicians, and members of the media play to those worst elements of human nature. I keep hearing people lament, "Why can't it be like it was in 1992?" Well, chiefly because it's 2012 and we face an entire new set of challenges--it's not 1992 any more; besides, we have a tendency only to recall the good things in the past and not the bad. What happened so many years ago was never that perfect.

    I believe this era, which you recount as Wimpy-like in character, will pass, but not without more angst and additional demonstrations of fear and anger. But the past is not the answer. I will continue to honor the past all-the-while refusing to live there. We are pivoting into a new future and must act accordingly.

    By the way: Ronald Reagan believed in the social contract and reformed social security when many people were begging him to attack it. But he knew that was not what people wanted.

    Keep writing.