You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 18, 2011.

    The writers at Alter.net have been on a tear as of a late.  I reproduce highlights from the article.

The Top Five

Here are five “conventional wisdom” doses of economic nonsense that we have been fed:

1. Business does everything better than government.

Corporate conservatives argue that businesses and their one-dollar-one-vote system of decision-making is better and more efficient than We, the People’s government and its one-person-one-vote system. They argue that constant competition, placing companies under constant fear of going under and people under constant fear of job-loss, focuses the mind like a pending execution. They say it leads them to do only what they should be doing and no more, in the best possible way, always looking for the best and most “efficient” ways, forcing innovation to occur.

But as we have seen, what actually happens in this kind of dehumanized “Force You” system (as in “F.U.”) is that businesses are forced to cut every corner, cheapen every product, cut out every service, lay people off, cut people’s wages while adding hours, gut benefits … and probably go under anyway because when every business does the same 99 percent of us can’t afford to buy or do things anymore.

The effect on people (human beings – remember them?) is worse. Stress-induced illness is rampant in our fear-based society. People do not get sufficient sleep, skip vacations, work long hours, spend less time with their families, spend very little time in nature, and the rest of the things that make us human.

This idea that people are best when operating under constant fear is similar to the conservative mantra that everyone should carry a gun because then you have “a polite society.” Perhaps constant fear and stress keeps people on their toes and makes them “behave” but in the long run it’s just no way to live.

Another “feature” of this top-down, one-dollar-one-vote, “market” system that the corporate conservatives advocate is that only those at the top levels of the corporate/financial ladder make the decisions for, and receive the benefits of, society. This is great if – and only if – you are in that 1 percent. But one-person-one-vote, democratic government decision-making means all of us have an equal say with equal access and equal opportunity, and society operates for the benefit of all of us.

2. Rich people are “job creators.”

This is the old “trickle-down” idea — that if you give enough money to the already-rich eventually some of that money will trickle down to the rest of us. This is also called the “getting peed on” theory of economics.

The basis of this thinking comes from the theories of Ayn Rand, who argued that society consists of “producers” and “parasites.” Rand’s fundamentally anti-democratic ideology says that democracy is a form of “collectivism” in which people who don’t want to work and produce use their numbers to steal from a gifted few who are the “producers” of goods and services. Rand’s followers claim that wealthy people are rich because they “produce.” The rest of us are “parasites” who “take money” from the productive rich, by taxing them. This revenue is “redistributed” to the parasites to pay for our “entitlements.”

They say that if wealthy people have more money they will use that money to start businesses and hire people. But anyone with a real business will tell you that people coming in the door and buying things is what creates jobs. In a real economy, people wanting to buy things – demand – is what causes businesses to form and people to be hired.

History – and a quick look around us today – shows that when all the money goes to a few at the top demand from the rest of us dries up and everything breaks down.  Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going.

3. Government and taxes take money out of the economy.


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