The Purpose of This Bl;og

By and large, liberals are very decent, kind, and compassionate people who genuinely want what is best. This should be kept in mind as we explore the Law of Unintended Negative Consequences near invariably resulting from Leftist big-hearted solutions to societal problems.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Obamanomics--Intro--"Trickle-Up Poverty"

Before getting into the Obamanomic LUNCs, it is only fair to note that prior to Obama taking office, the housing bubble had burst, major financial institutions were going belly-up, other industries were on the verge of collapse, and the economy had slipped into what some considered the worst recession since the Great Depression. (See HERE and HERE and HERE)

And, at the time there was enough blame to go around, though since the economic collapse occurred on Bush's watch, he was obliged to shoulder the lion's share.

Certainly, then Senator Obama ought not be faulted in any significant way for creating the financial mess, though given his campaign promises that led to his election as President, and the responsibility he willingly took on by being elected, he should rightly be held accountable for how he has dealt with the mess since then.

And, it wasn't as though Obama didn't know what he was up against: "Here’s the problem: If you go back and examine the record, you’ll find that Obama was fully aware of the depth and severity of the recession. As a candidate, for example, he said we were facing 'the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.' As president-elect, Obama said we faced 'a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.' Prior to being sworn in, Obama knew—in fact, he went out of his way to warn us—that we were shedding more than half a million jobs per month, the worst job loss in over three decades. That in 2008 we had lost more jobs than in any year since the Great Depression. That manufacturing had hit a 28-year low. That the stock market had fallen almost 40 percent in less than a year. That credit markets were nearly frozen. That businesses large and small couldn’t borrow the money they needed to meet payroll and create jobs. That home foreclosures were mounting. That credit card and auto loan delinquencies were rising. That the economy was 'in a global crisis.' And that he was inheriting an 'enormous budget deficit—you know, some estimates over a trillion dollars. That’s before we do anything.” (See HERE)

Besides, at a townhall meeting in December of 2009, Obama said, "I promise you this, I won't rest until things get better...I didn't run for president to sweep our messes under the rug." (See HERE). In February of 2010 he remarked, "We will leave our children an economy that is stronger and more prosperous than it was before." (See HERE)

It should also be noted that most people, including those on the Left, desired to have a healthy, thriving, and growing economy, and wished to recover quickly from the financial woes. 

With that having been said, Obama's plan for achieving his lofty economic objectives was generally laid out on his web site, "An Economy Built to Last," and it can be summarized as: tax the rich, spend, and educate our way to job-growth and mutual and lasting prosperity.
Hidden somewhat beneath his plan, particularly in relation to shrinking the gap between rich and poor, has been Obama's belief in the redistribution of wealth, or as he calls it: "spreading the wealth around" (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE) and "leveling the playing field," which he has attempted to realize through, among various things, taxing the rich (see HERE and HERE and HERE) and raising minimum wage (see HERE and HERE), etc.

[Update 8/9/2015: Here is another perspective: What Democrats Get Wrong about the Middle Class]

In short, as will be demonstrated in the LUNCs to follow, and in the minds of some conservatives, Obamanomics can be described as "trickle-up poverty" (see HERE and HERE), with a short shelf-life rather than "An Economy Built to Last."

In simple terms, here is how "trickle-up poverty" works:

In an attempt to close the gap between rich and poor and produce so-called "income equality," the government unequally takes from rich and gives to the poor. In the short-run, this makes the rich poorer and the poor richer--a zero-sum gain or loss. However, in the long-run, it makes the rich poorer and the poor poorer in at least two respects:

First, by compulsory taking from the rich and making them poorer, this essentially punishes economic success. And, by giving to the poor and making them richer, this essentially rewards economic failure.  In some respect and to an extent, psychologically this creates a disincentive for economic success and an incentive for economic failure. This is upside-down from how things rationally work in economics, and it caters to the lowest economic denominator, which in turn may affect "trickle-up poverty."

This principle is born out by the so-called welfare mentality or culture of dependency, and by the panhandlers who prefer to stand on street corners taking handouts rather than getting a real job and earning a living. It can also be seen in the way that unemployment benefits may inadvertently prevent people for taking certain jobs. (See also my article on Unemployment, Jobs, and Workforce)

Second, by taking valuable economic resources from the rich and those who, for the most part, have proven their economic abilities, and then giving them to those who, for the most part, have proven their economic inability, this is likewise upside-down from rational economics, and the inverse of the Parable of the Talents.

Metaphorically speaking, if a rich person has demonstrated the ability to double her five talents, and if one of those talents is taken away and given to a poor person who buries or spends the talent, the net average result is that all parties are worse off--i.e. "trickle-up poverty" Had the rich person retained the talent, the number of talents produced by both parties would have been five, making a total of ten talents between them; whereas, by taking the talent away from the rich and giving it to the poor, the number of talents produced by both parties would have been four, making a total of eight between them, leaving the rich person two talents poorer than had she retained the one talent, and leaving the poor person just as poor, with no talents.

Literal examples of this principle can be seen in the bankruptcy plaguing once thriving leftist cities and nations like Detroit and Greece, etc., as well as floundering economies throughout Europe, England, and Japan.

[Update 08/30/15: Obama's Promises on the Economy, How They are Holding Up]

See also Obamanomics:
  • Divide Between Rich and Poor -Obamanomics has caused the gap to widen.
  • Unemployment, Jobs, and Workforce -Because of Obamanomics, "there are less and less people working, and working less and less hours, to pay for more and more people to receive unemployment benefits that inadvertently encourage less and less people to work and keep jobs to pay for said benefits."
  • Debt -Is Obama condemned as "unpatriotic" by his own standard? Yes.
  • Disibility Claims -"While the number of people with jobs has climbed 2.7 million since June 2009, the pool of Americans who aren’t in the labor force at all has shot up by 7.5 million. A great many of these people will likely never come back to the workforce even if the economy does rebound: not because they’ve aged into retirement but because they’ve signed up instead to get disability benefits."
  • Food Stamps Using even the most flattering job statistics, "during Obama's first term as president, the explosion of food stamps was 10 to 75 time the rate of job creation."
  • Poverty -"Instead of the 2009 'stimulus package' lifting 2 million people out of poverty as promised by President Obama...greater than 6 million more people fell into poverty during his first term." 
  • Taxes -Promises made to the middle-class and poor and small businesses, were broken promises.
  • Income and Minimum Wage - More broken promises and the economy made worse

For an explanation as to why Obamanomic LUNCs occur and reoccur, see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Strength in Numbers, The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, The Politics of Spending--Intro, The Politics of Spending--Debt, The Politics of Spending--Public vs. Private, The Politics of Spending--Crony-ism, The Politics of Spending--Education, and The Politics of Taxing the Rich. [the unlinked topics will be posted later as they are completed]

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