The Donkey Is Sleeping Today

Please, Sir, I Want Some More

In Deficit Reduction, Economics, Great Recession, Politics on July 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Still waiting for the wealth to trickle down

Yesterday, The Huffington Post reported that the world’s wealthiest individuals are hoarding an estimated $10 trillion in cash (yes, that’s trillion with a “t”) and that the investment firms that love them are falling all over themselves trying to capture that loot.

Of course, this report came as a complete shock, since I know that any day now that cash will come trickling down to me and my fellow 99-percenters, just like the supply-siders told us it would (under Hoover, under Reagan, and under the two Bushes).

I mean, with the top one percent of wage-earners reaping 24 percent of total income in this country, surely they would loose the purse strings and start hiring workers to help end this jobless recovery. That’s what happens when you give the richest in the country a tax break. It stimulates the economy, creates jobs, and puts money in everyone’s pockets, right?

Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reported in February of this year that:

  • A Congressional Budget Office analysis issued this month makes clear that extending the tax cuts for high-income households would be the least effective of all spending and tax options that CBO examined for boosting the weak economy and creating jobs. It comes in dead last.
  • The sounder policy would be to let the high-income tax cuts expire on schedule and to temporarily use the savings for tax or spending measures that would lead to more jobs and economic growth in the next year or two. For example, a job creation tax credit for businesses — small and large — and additional money to help states avoid additional layoffs would be a more effective use of funds.
  • If the goal is both to shore up the economy in the short term and to address unsustainable long-term deficits and debt, then allowing the high-income tax cuts to expire and using the savings for effective stimulus in the short term and deficit reduction after that would represent the soundest course.

What a buzz kill. Thanks, Chuck.

I’d rather listen to Very Serious People like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the new heads of President Obama’s national debt commission, tell me that the national debt is “like a cancer… destroy[ing] the country from within.”

And what were the causes of this cancer the ballooning deficit again?

So what this chart from CBPP tells me is that two big ways to help curb the deficit are:

  1. Eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy; at least returning to the Clinton-era highest tax rate of 39%
  2. Get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan with no asterisks (and by asterisks I mean, residual forces)

But wasn’t Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, on my teevee this weekend, telling me that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy need to be extended, even though they would add an estimated $678 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years?

Of course, he and his fellow Republicans have it all figured out. Cut benefits to the middle and working class; deny unemployment benefits during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age to 70; and repeal the newly passed health care reform bill that the CBO estimates will cut the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years.

It sounds so logical that even some Democrats are jumping on the Good Ship Deficit Reduction.  Screw the economy and batten down the hatches! We’ve got a deficit to kill.

But maybe the Republicans’ brand of trickle-down economics is actually working: the casinos are hiring again! Wall Street firms have added about 2,000 jobs since February, and hundreds more are on the way.

I can’t wait for the waterfall of wealth to cascade down on me.


  1. Great post!

  2. Fantastic post, trickle down economics has never worked. Just another repub trick to fool the masses.

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