Monday, May 19, 2008

trickle down mythology

I’m a registered Republican, and I’ve actually voted for every Republican candidate from Ronald Reagan in 1980 right through Mike Huckabee’s improbable run in this year’s presidential primaries. My folks are die-hard Republicans, so I guess I kind of just fell into the party. But I’m also naturally optimistic and I tend to think that most people will do the right thing if given the chance, so the Republican idea of a “small government” that frees up resources for people to do the right thing, (vs. a big government that does it for them), made sense to me. I bought into Reagan’s “trickle down” economic philosophy way back in 1980, but unfortunately the altruism of that policy hasn’t really played out in the real world.

Forbes magazine, the self-proclaimed "Capitalist’s Tool,” recently reported that the average CEO in 1980 was paid 40 times more than their average employee, but that by 2008 the average CEO was now making 443 times more than their average employee, a staggering discrepancy. Revenue is not trickling down, it’s being consumed at the top, and at alarmingly skyrocketing rates.

There are obviously exceptions. I know a few honorable CEOs who have voluntarily chosen to cap their salaries, to live more simply, and to pay their employees real living wages that are just and equitable with their own compensation. But sadly, when given the economic opportunity to make more money and distribute it more equitably and justly, most CEOs just aren’t choosing to do the right thing. And now I’m asking myself what’s the right thing for me to do with a historic election just around the corner.


Doah said...

You may enjoy this old post that I did:

That said, and your post (which I agree with) notwithstanding, I'm not very likely to vote for Mr. Obama. What's up with the Republicans sending up another Bob Dole, they don't learn. Yawn . . .

Erik L. said...

I don't know how much money is right for a CEO to earn, but I don't want the government telling anyone that they're overpaid. That's up to the stockholders--the owners of the company.

The government already redistributes a huge chunk of earnings from the top income earners to keep the bureaucracy moving. The top 1% of income earners pay 34% of the bill. The top 5% pay 53% (2001 numbers--latest available--Federal only). Since you live in this part of the country--you are probably included in this top 5% category.

We pay too many taxes, and our government is too big. Both parties seem to want to grow and grow and grow the government--especially this time around. Obama is a socialist whose answer to everything seems to be higher taxes and bigger government. McCain is left of center on many issues--he reminds me of Jimmy Carter.
We need a conservative to energize the populous like Obama has, and get people fired up about shrinking the government, and cutting taxes so the capitalist engine can run without pulling so many rail cars.

Rob Yackley said...

I don't want the government telling anybody what they can or cannot earn either, and I'm all for a smaller government. I was simply trying to make the point that it's just not true that everyone benefits equally when the "capitalist engine" gets running. In fact, our history shows that the gulf grows wider between the rich and the poor and only a very, very few of those who benefit most choose to bless those who benefit least. I have personally been blessed tremendously by a few of those rare exceptions, and I am eternally grateful for their generosity.

nerinossa said...

Revenue is not trickling down, it’s being consumed at the top, and at alarmingly skyrocketing rates

Rob Yackley said...

Doah, I was fascinated by your blog post on a related subject (see the 1st comment above). Those were some mind-boggling stats.

Tyler said...

I know this was posted in May, but I'm just now coming across it.

I too was born into a Republican household, but this is the first election I've had to struggle to understand where my ideas about politics and my ideas about being a follower of Christ match up or conflict - a very interesting process indeed.

Read another article today that said the disparity between rich and poor over the last 60 years has grown under Republican presidents and shrunk under Democratic presidents, without exception. Also interesting.

Thanks for your thoughts.