by Jim Hightower
On this recent Labor Day, when families all across America are struggling, it’s fitting for us to reflect on the profound insight of that prominent economic theorist, George W Bush. In 2000, explaining his economic policy approach, W declared: “We ought to make the pie higher.”
What the professor was trying to express is the old theory that by baking a larger pie, everyone can get a bigger slice. But that theory ignores a special trick of economic pie making that Bush baked right into his policy: Greed. Yes, the pie is now larger but Bush simply fattened the slice of the corporate powers and the rich, leaving the workaday majority of folks trying to get by on the same slim pickings they had before… or less.
Sure, CEO pay is surging and the incomes of the super wealthy are zooming, but the incomes of workers is not even keeping up with inflation — indeed the median income for American families is lower than when Bush took office. Meanwhile, the number of people without health coverage is up by six million, and the number of Americans living in poverty is up by nearly six million.
Maybe so, say the Bushites, but if you count the five million new jobs created in the past eight years, you’ll see that our policy of tinkle-down economics really does work. Uh? Not exactly. It would have taken some 20 million new jobs in those eight years just to keep up with the number of new people entering the job market — so the Bushites are 15 million short of just staying even.
Besides, the issue isn’t jobs. Think about it: even slaves had jobs. The issue is wages, income and rising opportunities. Ask a waitress if she’s aware that Bush has created new jobs and she’ll say: “Yeah, I know. I have one of them.”
Under professor Bush, America’s economy has been producing more low-wage, service-sector jobs, while shipping out the manufacturing and high-tech jobs that offer our people middle-class wages and upward mobility. Instead of tinkle-down, America needs a grassroots policy of percolate-up economics.
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