You are who this is all about. This plan is for the middle-class families in this country who deserve a break. It is for the families who are out there living paycheck to paycheck, who just keep getting squeezed. You know, about half of the country today is living paycheck to paycheck. And a lot more people are about a paycheck away from living paycheck to paycheck in this country, and this is going to help give people relief. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act will deliver real relief for people in the middle, people who are also striving to get there.
— House Speak Paul Ryan, November 2, 2017
Time has spun us back around once again, with the above quote from House Speaker Paul Ryan cyclically (and cynically) demonstrating the maxim, often attributed to Mark Twain, that history does not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.
If you’re a Boomer, you might recall this economic practice in JFK’s phrasing, A rising tide lifts all boats. If you’re a child of the 80’s, like myself, you might recognize the above nonsense by the name Trickle Down Economics, as mumbled by an increasingly mentally erratic Gipper. If you’re a millennial, you might remember when George W Bush attempted this slash-for-growth approach, and if you’re European you might know it better by the term Austerity. Call it whatever you will, if you’re a member of the middle class you’ll know one thing for certain about this approach: it don’t work for us.
What we’re talking about here is an economic tax plan that, to borrow a lively image from John Kenneth Galbraith, can be called the horse-and-sparrow approach. This plan presumes that if you feed a horse enough oats, eventually the horse’s droppings will prove sufficient to feed the sparrows. Put simply—if you give businesses and the wealthy enough money via cutting their tax rates, they’ll eventually pass those extra funds to the middle and lower classes through expanding their businesses. If you haven’t already drawn the obvious conclusion from the horse-and-sparrow analogy, let’s observe the simple fact that eventually the sparrows are left to eat shit.
If you’ve had your eyes open for any duration of your lifetime, may I suggest the following: Ask yourself what you’ve noticed corporations do when they have additional monies (which will be the outcome if these tax cuts are implemented as proposed)? Have you seen them go on hiring sprees that have led to expanded opportunities and livable wages for the middle and lower classes? Or have you noticed that those excess funds have provided egregious corporate bonuses and bigger dividends to shareholders, while the effects on employees have been increased wages for a small sliver of top-tier workers at the same time lower-level employees have had their jobs and benefits cut?
We’re living in a time when facts are simultaneously the criterion of our judgements (the tech driven data set) and completely irrelevant to our judgements (see: contemporary electoral politics, specifically President Pussy Grabber himself)1. So let’s try out one simple fact: in the roughly 120-years that this economic theory has been practiced, there are zero (0) instances when a middle class person like myself has seen long-term, sustained benefits from this approach.
As to Speaker Ryan’s desire to give middle-class folks like me “real relief,” while that’s a nice sentiment, Mr. Ryan, the best relief any of us middle-classers can imagine would be that the residents of Wisconsin’s 1st District come to their senses next year and vote your ass to the curb. The sad reality is that due to your unctuous connections nothing short of a medical emergency will every propel you to the middle-classes, and while I would never wish physical harm to befall you or your family, I wouldn’t mind if you got off your high horse and came down here with the rest of us sparrows, where you could truly savor a mouthful of horse shit.
- Dear Mitch McConnell: if you now believe Roy Moore should drop out of the Alabama Senate race due to multiple allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships and advances, what ever is your opinion on our President?? [↩]