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INDUSTRIAL POLICY AND TRICKLEDOWN ECONOMICS

October 1, 2017

INDUSTRIAL POLICY AND TRICKLEDOWN ECONOMICS

Industrial policy is a rarely used phrase these days since the Information Age is rapidly supplanting how and where we manufacture, distribute, finance and otherwise provide goods and services to a global marketplace. Industrial policy became best known in socialist countries and in a few capitalist countries where politicians put together 5-year, 10-year and other such time-themed industrial plans, all designed to strengthen the economies of such various states but which gave insufficient consideration to changing politics and innovation, among other mistakes in structural design.

As we can see with our move to the Information Age, innovation won, but who else were winners? Try Wall Street and “the market,” who not only make our policy, but with our money lavished on their efforts via tax cuts, tax loopholes, regulatory and other such coddling via a “policy” known as trickledown economics, where our politicians abandon the people’s interests and leave the “planning” (and our tax money) to the moneychangers, whose sole purpose is to enhance their own profitability irrespective of how such greedy monomania plays out for ordinary Americans, the moneychangers won big time.

Top-down industrial planning by politicians didn’t seem to work in the socialist countries, and we will never know whether it might have worked in this country since it was never tried, but from the looks of today’s resulting maldistribution of income and wealth in market-based planning in capitalist countries such as the United States one might reasonably ask if either industrial or information models have worked or are working under the tutelage of Wall Street and private enterprise. The business pages of the Wall Street Journal will tell you that it has worked brilliantly, but those under the bridge, on the sidewalk, those on minimum wages and those who are sick or otherwise forgotten and I may have a different view of how our economy has worked or is working for the benefit of anyone but the moneychangers.

Capitalists both here and elsewhere loudly opposed any industrial planning by government as communist, socialist, and certain to bring catastrophe to our American economy, but they seem oblivious to the historical fact that our economy has already had numerous catastrophes under their trickledown model such as The Great Depression, Bush’s Great Recession and numerous panics and recessions, most of which were due to their greed in trying to extract a larger piece of the pie of our economy than was available as demonstrated by stock market crashes and a hollowing out of the middle class.

Adam Smith envisioned business success as emanating from pure competition and efficiency in providing goods and services for the marketplace, but that is not entirely necessary these days. Corporations need not be more efficient to be profitable; they only need trickledown economics to come to their bottom line’s rescue in the form of tax cuts and loopholes and other such “planning” in a world where, for instance, American multinational corporations are mere marketing shells for shoddy goods made by foreign contractors and imported from overseas while their overseas’ profits are not taxable until repatriated (courtesy of politicians to whose campaign financing they have contributed), among other such atrocities which ordinary taxpaying Americans are financing – and to taxpaying Americans’ own detriment. Result? You and I are literally paying for stratospheric executive bonuses and compensation and dividends and capital gains to corporate shareholders while such coddled interests complain of minimum wages and the costs of healthcare for Americans.

So today we have trickledown economics “policy” (which has never worked) dictated by the moneychangers whose sole interest is in their bottom lines financed by American taxpayers whose interests have been abandoned by our rotten political culture? Sure looks like it, and we can do better, much better, but how? This decision (in spite of Citizens United and Big Money) can and should be made at the polls and not in the streets. Let’s remember that by our vote in November, 2018, by turning the moneychangers out of the temple in Washington. Let’s vote for the people and bring them back in the temple while requiring the rich and corporate class to pay their fair share for the temple’s upkeep.     GERALD       E

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