Today is a sad day, a family member, a mere girl of 24, tragically passed away early this morning. She was too young, had too much life left… Her name was Renit (pronounced ray-NEET). Her flame flared brightly if too briefly…
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I’m sure we’ve all awakened to the dire news of a financial meltdown happening on
Check this out: in 1979, the highest-earning one-tenth of 1 percent of all taxpayers – the richest of the rich – took home only 3 percent of the national income. Today they take home 10 percent – that’s more than three times. Over that same span, their average tax rate has dropped from 32 to 23 percent. The minimum wage has lost nearly half its purchasing power. Income inequality has reached proportions not seen in any other advanced democracy.
The weird thing is that during this time the
The same holds true for social issues. Since 1977, for example, the proportion of Americans believing gays should be allowed to teach in elementary school has doubled, from 27 to 54 percent. Those favoring gay adoption has risen from 11 to 49 percent (Bowman, 2006). Since 1976, the proportion of Americans who believe women deserve an equal role in business and political life has almost doubled, from 30 to 57 percent. The proportion who believes that a woman’s place is in the home has collapsed from 10 to 2 percent. 
The question remains then, if the public isn’t moving to the right on economic issues and if it is even moving right on social issues, then how can we explain the rise of right-wing economics? The only way we can understand it is by noting that right wing economics (once called “voodoo economics” by none other than Bush the Elder) has been embraced by the economic elites.
Beginning with the 1970s there was a rise of a cult of pseudo-economists known as supply-siders – a fanatical sect of tax cutters. Simply put, the thrust f their idea is that cutting taxes for the very rich is the best response to any and every circumstance. Additionally, they believe that it is perfectly appropriate to turn the most rapacious and greediest elements of the business lobbyists into essentially an arm of the federal government (Chait, 2007).
Despite having been proven wrong repeatedly, they have gained an iron grip on the ideological machinery of the conservative movement. Contrary to myth, the supply-siders were not maverick conservative economists; they were amateurs and cranks, convinced that they were able to reach conclusions that had escaped the analysis of professional economists. The supply-siders quickly teamed up with cynical corporate lobbyists, who far from being zany, were smart, cynical businessmen (and some like Jack Abramoff, downright crooks) who knew that this was a chance to rape, pillage, and plunder.
All cults have their founding myths. The supply-side cult got its start, in part, from a little-known economic consultant, Arthur Laffer, an editorial page writer for the wall Street Journal, Jude Wanniski, and, yes, Dick Cheney, then chief of staff to President Ford. Wanniski had no training in economics at all, but was tutored by Laffer, who had been an economics professor t the
There’s more to all this and I hope to shed some light because many of you have swallowed much of the supply-side Kool-Aid. Today’s Wall Street meltdown has its origins in supply-side “theory” and the dismantling of government.
Blumenthal, S. (1988). The rise of the counter-establishment.
Bowman, K. (2006, Sunday, June 11). Gay pride and prejudice. Washington Post, p. B02.
Chait, J. (2007). The big con: The true story of how Washington got hoodwinked and hijacked by crackpot economics.