Trickle down or shake down?

By happenstance I put on a Bruce Cockburn CD last night while I was thinking about how to capture my thoughts on the recent U.S. debate over their debt ceiling and a report issued by the Conference Board on income inequality in Canada.

By happenstance I put on a Bruce Cockburn CD last night while I was thinking about how to capture my thoughts on the recent U.S. debate over their debt ceiling and a report issued by the Conference Board on income inequality in Canada. The title for my column comes from Cockburn’s song Trickle Down in which he mocks the promise of this economic theory. I know, I need to get a real life. The crux of the debt debate in the U.S. revolves around how to balance spending cuts with tax increases. A debate we desperately need to have in B.C. What troubles me is the contention by the Republicans that the government shouldn’t “tax the job creators” and President Obama’s apparent readiness to concede to this four-decade-long shake down in the name of trickle down.

Their ain’t no trickle down. The people who aren’t getting taxed continually shake down politicians with their trickle-down argument while fully expecting taxpayers to bail them out when their economic schemes fail. The most recent trillion-dollar bailout of the financial sector in the US is a classic example of this shake down: deregulate to “free” the market, detax to “free” investment capital, turn a blind eye to the excesses of greed and the failure of the regulators, then cut a cheque from those who do pay taxes to cover only the “job creators” losses when their house of cards crashes down and tens of thousands of people lose their jobs, homes and savings.

It’s a giant scam at the expense of the middle class, which represents the bulk of the population and where the real job creators reside (small and medium sized businesses create over 80 per cent of all new jobs).

The Conference Board of Canada report on income inequality shows there’s been no “trickle down” to the bottom income earners. This is especially true for seniors, youth, women and the underemployed, who have to cobble together multiple jobs to keep food on the table.

Many other studies show it’s really only the top two per cent who are benefitting from a deregulated, anti-tax regime — the same people politicians have been convinced not to tax and the ones who are selling trickle down theory to the rest of us.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

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