Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Persistent Deception

Recently the Journal Sentinel mused on Growing A Region. It contained typical platitudes recognizable to any even cursory Journal reader. Entrepreneurs are the answer, regional collaboration is good, and (as always when private entities have their hand out) government should provide the start-up funds for these inevitable private gains.

First, if the market and the private sector are so omnipotent, why does the government have to continually give subsidies, provide research, create special taxing districts and tax credits, among numerous other hand-outs and giveaways, for the private sector to function and locate opportunities?

There is not an industry or sector of the economy where the government isn't crucial. We - the government - have provided a majority of the R&D, seed money, tax breaks, and general initiative for major advancements in medicine, aviation, electronics, manufacturing, mining, utilities, energy, food and on and on.

If we didn't have or drastically downsized government, as many right-wing parrots cackle, the economy would collapse. A majority of the initial investments, the infrastructure, the risky 'getting off the ground' period of many initiatives would never happen.

But, let me get this straight, government is bad and doesn't do anything right, yet as the middleman, transferring tax dollars between citizens and private speculation, it's the go-to guy? And, for some reason, the all-knowing market and the ultra-savvy entrepreneur, in all their perfection, can't seem to achieve optimal outcomes without the inefficient and inept government leading the way?

Wow. I get such a kick out of the trickle-down, supply-side, market-humping privateers. You can just make up stuff as you go along to defend subsidizing the wealthy at the expense of the majority of taxpayers. Heck, some even claim it as a theory; as if there is actual evidence behind it. Simultaneously bad-mouthing the government, while using government as a tool to extract start-up money, for private speculation, from taxpayers.

And, even though trickle-down has been a total failure in application over the last three decades (as evidenced by decreasing retirement security and health care coverage, alongside increasing inequality of incomes and stagnating wages for most workers), by just claiming "it's in the best interest of the people" and simply repeating trickle-down is accomplishing everything as intended (which it clearly isn't), the lie persists.

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