Monday, February 23, 2009

It's all Trickle Down Economics; The liberal vs conservative ideologies of Obama and Reagan Economics

The difference is in the "trickle down" source, and economic policy does not create moral and ethical deficit

A partisan could find it extremely tempting to simply discredit this Huffington Post article based on the words below:

"Twenty years of Republican administrations have brought our economy to its current condition. We are now both broke, and deeply in debt. To hearken back to David Stockman, it was he who said, back in 1981, ""I'm just not going to spend a lot of political capital solving some other guy's problem in 2010." It's now 2009, and Republicans are refusing to spend any political capital "solving some other guy's problem in 2010". The "other guy" is, of course, Barack Obama, and it's about time Republicans got out of the way, and started trying to help all Americans solve our problems. It ill-becomes the people who created the problems to tell us how to fix them. (In that number I include every Republican Congressman or Senator who obstructs the new administration in its attempt to save the economical lives of all of us.)"

The remark followed Reese Schonfeld's charge of hypocrisy on the part of any Republican who points out a trillion dollars is a lot of money. Schonfeld also scolded the media for not pointing out the hypocrisy of any Republican who questions President Obama's stimulation package.

No doubt, Schonfeld is speaking about the terms of Ronald Reagan, the term of George H. W. Bush and the terms of George W. Bush when he tells the reader, "Twenty years of Republican administrations" have brought our economy to its current condition, and though Schonfeld, earlier, credited George H. W. Bush's tax increase to 39.6% on all income over $250,000 as the cause of the deficit reduction during Bill Clinton's two terms, the last 16 years have been equally presided over by 8 years of a Democrat administration followed by 8 years of a Republican administration. To gloss over Clinton's administration of nearly a decade while analyzing our economy's current condition is simply irresponsible, in my opinion.

But, I'm not going to try to discredit Schonfeld based on that one sentence, and though I don't agree with Schonfeld point by point, the editorial was worthwhile reading.

I found it because I was thinking along some of the same lines that Schonfeld was thinking, only I didn't stop where Schonfeld stopped, and I didn't start out thinking I would demonize one party or the other party as the cause of our nation's economical woes for purely partisan reasons. Being an Independent, I'm not particularly inclined to take sides in partisan discussions. It's one of the reasons I checked out of the Republican party a few years ago. I wanted to make my decisions on issues after viewing both sides of any given issue, choosing the solution or analysis which made the most common sense, and I do think there is some common sense coming from each party on most any given issue.

I was looking at Reagan's "trickle down" theory from a different angle. It seems to me that much of what Obama is offering is trickle down economics. I think he and Reagan have a lot in common in that they both appear to think, and have thought, that by making things easier at the top, it will benefit middle and low income Americans by creating jobs for them. While the ideology is different between a conservative and a liberal, both appear to be coming together on that point. And, while Obama gave lip service to a "trickle up" instead of a "trickle down" solution, before revenue trickles back up, Obama wants to trickle it down from the federal government.

While Ronald Reagan wanted to assist big business and corporate America by cutting taxes, Obama wants to raise taxes on upper income America but, only AFTER handing many of them bail out funds. How is that different from Ronald Reagan's theory? The only difference is how the upper income receives a break. A gift from the government from middle and low income Americans with the thought it will get back to them then, trickle back up? As opposed to lessening government restriction and decreasing taxes to stimulate more money to trickle down then, trickle back up?

Obama promises to increase taxes (government revenue) and decrease spending while, in many cases, bailing out the very upper income people on whom he will be raising taxes, one hand gives and the other hand takes away. Reagan promised to decrease taxes and decrease spending but, both envisioned money from the top trickling down to middle and lower income Americans, thus both could claim stimulation of the economy.

True hypocrisy comes when one party recognizes the hypocrisy of only the other party. What about recognizing the hypocrisy of Democrats who snidely belittled Reagan's trickle down theory and excess spending on the part of Republicans while today calling Republicans hypocrites for not supporting Obama when he is following the Reagan theory through a slightly tweaked method and more spending excess? Where are the cries that trickle down economics doesn't work? No snide belittling? It seems there is enough hypocrisy to go around and we've come full circle.

This simply reinforces my own theory that we all want many of the same things regardless of political party. Some people want to see the economy become healthy through bigger government and more government regulation, others want to see the economy become healthy through less government and less regulation or, through a healthy free market.

Greed isn't created by less government regulation and lower taxes. Greedy people will always be with us, just as the Bible tells us the poor will always be with us. I believe greed is more a societal, human problem. Schonfeld claims Republican (or conservative) ideas of less taxes, smaller government and less governmental regulation spawned greed in the free market and birthed the exorbitant salaries of CEOs. I disagree. People who are greedy will find a way to take advantage of the system, regardless of the system, and regardless of which party put that system in place.

The waters are being muddied by mixing up the legitimate conservative versus liberal ideological solutions to the problems plaguing our economy. We've had 8 years of a Democrat administration followed by 8 years of a Republican administration and there is blame enough and hypocrisy enough to go around but, mixing CEO salaries into the issue, as though that issue was directly caused by less government regulation and lower taxes, as Schonfeld and other partisans have tried to do, will not solve our economic problems. Greed is a societal/moral problem and societal and moral deficits won't be solved by a good economy or a bad economy. Societal and moral deficits do, however, trickle up and down and all around just like money trickles up and down and all around.

Perhaps, if people at all income levels took more individual responsibility and developed more personal, moral integrity it could impact our country at all levels, and not simply economically.


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