Al Sharpton and His Trickle
The election is over, and the American people have spoken; a majority now are fully indoctrinated socialists and want the government to run the economy, and their health care, and to make sure they get their fair share of other people's money (without any understanding of where money comes from).
In the lead-up to the election, Al Sharpton, the thoroughly discredited race-hustler of Tawana Brawley fame, now reincarnated as an MSNBC propagandist for the far left, began appearing in TV ads attacking so-called "trickle-down economics." Sharpton says, "I first heard it when Ronald Reagan went in, 1980. We in the twenty-first century. How long are we gonna wait for the trickle? I mean we been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It never got down to us. Thirty years later, we got the down, but we never got the trickle."
The concept of trickle-down economics is the improperly named and poorly explained notion that, by providing tax relief to those with higher incomes and greater wealth (Along with everyone else), their resulting increase in prosperity will ultimately benefit lower income earners through economic expansion for the nation as a whole. It is the leftist's term for supply-side economics, or the simple notion that to encourage economic growth, you should not punish those who create it with high taxation. While the concept does, in fact, deliver better lives for all, its promoters fail to properly describe how and why it works, allowing political charlatans and demagogues to portray such policies as inherently unfair.
The good Reverend Al has in fact benefited tremendously in the past thirty years. Falsely accusing people of racially motivated crimes, igniting race riots, and roiling racial tensions across the country have made him a millionaire. As for the people he claims to speak for -- the so-called poor and disadvantaged -- if trickle-down doesn't work, how are they all still alive?
Last year alone, federal and state governments doled out more than a trillion dollars in welfare to the unfortunate, indolent, and incompetent among us -- or as the Right Reverend would describe them, the oppressed, downtrodden, and subjugated. Where does he think that money came from? It did not come from the government -- it came from productive individuals, who, through their hard work, ingenuity and perseverance, created wealth. That wealth was then confiscated by the government, laundered through a massive bureaucracy, which skimmed off a huge chunk for itself, and handed out to Al's peeps.
Sharpton wants to know when the disadvantaged are going to get their trickle? The trillion dollars of other people's money they got last year is more than $60,000 per household below the poverty line. That's a lot more than just a trickle; it's a flood of wasted money stolen from the productive and responsible to pay the salaries and benefits of self-serving bureaucrats, with the rest handed out as alms to the lazy and entitled.
Poverty has traditionally meant that someone lacks adequate resources to reliably provide for the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The word "poverty" conjures up images of the starving children depicted in charity television commercials for the poor in Africa and elsewhere, where people lack food, shoes, and die of treatable illnesses such as malaria and dysentery.
In America, however, 86 percent of the "poor" (as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau) have air conditioning -- while four decades ago, only 36 percent of the entire nation had such a luxury. Almost two thirds have a car, while one third have two or more vehicles. More than half of America's poor have a computer and a video game system. America's poor live in larger homes than middle-class Frenchmen, Germans, and Swedes. Nearly 75 percent have cable or satellite television service, and 96 percent of poor parents report that their children have never gone hungry in the past year. In fact, fully one third of poor Americans are obese; only in America could the so-called poor have enough resources to eat themselves into obesity.
This is what passes for poor in the United States. I wonder if Reverend Al would have any luck finding pity for America's poor among the lower classes of Mexico or India, whose homes of mud, tin, and refrigerator boxes aren't equipped with A/C and cable television.
In the United States, the poor may not have luxurious homes or SUVs, or take Caribbean vacations, but they do have adequate food and shelter. In addition, they have cars, telephones, electricity, indoor plumbing, hot water, and access to vaccinations and medical care, as well as big-screen televisions and leather furniture from Rent-a-Center. The reason why America's "poor" do not starve or die from a simple case of diarrhea is the fact that Americans have generated ever-increasing amounts of wealth by working hard in their own self-interest to achieve greater success and wealth. This increased wealth and the nature of free-market capitalism results in reduced prices and has permitted the government to be able to confiscate such huge sums of money that it can afford to pay people to sit at home in relative comfort. As President John Kennedy said, "[n]o American is ever made better off by pulling a fellow American down, and every American is made better off whenever any one of us is made better off. A rising tide raises all boats."
The term "trickle-down" creates a mental image of favors and largesse showered upon the wealthy and privileged by government, with the dregs left over for the poor -- and this is the intention of those like Sharpton who use the expression. These same con artists describe a reduction in taxes as a "subsidy," as if not confiscating someone's legally earned income is equivalent to a gift. Their class envy tactics portray tax cuts of five percent for everyone as disproportionally benefiting the wealthy -- even though the top ten percent of earners pay 71 percent of all income taxes.
My message to Reverend Al is this: for the past thirty years and beyond, the wealth of America's producers has more than trickled down to the poor, whom you exploit to enrich yourself. It is the minds of inventors, scientists, and industrialists that have created the medicines, machines, fuels, and electronic gadgets you demand for free. It is the desire of exceptional individuals for excellence, achievement, and personal fortune that created the entire modern world around you. Your so-called underprivileged lead lives of oppulent splendor compared to their couterparts in other parts of the world precisely because America was once a land where individuals were free to explore, invent, and achieve. It is no exaggeration to say that the "trickle-down" you claim never arrived has been showered upon tens of millions since America turned to socialism eighty years ago. It is the minds of the men and women of "Big Oil," "Big Pharma," "Big Agriculture," and "Big Business," and the products they deliver, that quite literally keep your followers alive.
For those who follow the Reverend Al and live off the incomes of your fellow citizens, I say to you that if you refuse to provide for yourself or your children and are content to live off the labor of others, stop complaining, get down on your knees, and thank God that you are fortunate enough to live in the most prosperous nation in human history. Thank God for the brilliant minds and hard work of your betters, who, despite being villified and crushed under a stifling burden of taxes and regulations, provide you with food, shelter, and warmth -- to say nothing of medical care, cars, computers, and PlayStations. With the re-election of Barack Obama, you just might find out what happens when those whom you exploit stop producing.
Todd Keister is a columnist and former Navy intelligence specialist.