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Blog of Mass Destruction

Laissez-Faire Can Never Fail

By The Reverend Published: February 22, 2011

Conservatives from both parties have surveyed the wreckage of the last 30 years and have concluded that the only way to clean up the mess left over from three decades of laissez-faire economics....is more laissez-faire economics.

As a refresher...

laissez-faire: describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.

Having steadily freed "private parties" from high taxes and "restrictive regulations" over the past thirty years...it is high time, say these conservatives...to really take "laissez-faire" seriously. Yeah, I know....I don't get it either.

As tax rates have gone down over the past thirty years, primarily benefitting America's wealthy....as regulations on huge and profitable industries have been stripped and weakened....as "free trade-laissez-faire" has sent millions of decent-wage jobs to cheaper-wage countries.....as all of this has been going on, wealth and profits for the top 1% of America's wealthiest have skyrocketed.

As you can readily see...the top 1% have done exceedingly well under laissez-faire economics. The rest of America? Not so much. In fact their income has diminished, and especially so since the Clinton presidency, when free trade laissez-faire theology really kicked in in earnest.

Yet another visual to grasp how laissez-faire has worked out....

Conservatives, from both parties, look at the history of income growth during 30 years of reduced tax rates and reduced regulations and free trade....and they come away demanding more of the same please. More tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest.....perhaps even a tax code reform measure which will lower the wealthiest's income tax rate down to 28% instead of that oh-so-oppressive 36%. More free trade which will continue to diminish wages for average American workers. More deregulations for corporate outsourcers who are now posting record profits and are sitting on mountains of inactive cash.

From Scott Walker in Wisconsin, to Rick Scott in Florida, to John Kasich in Ohio, to Boehner's Boyz n' Girlz in D.C.......to Third Way corporatists who never saw a Clinton cave-in to the powerful and rich that they didn't like......all of these folks look at the two charts I've included here and conclude everything is right in the universe. Stay the course.

Corporate profits....click on chart for larger image....

Other than the blips downward after 9-11 and the banking crisis of late 2008, profits for corporations have reached historic levels....and especially over the last twenty years in the wake of Clinton's Third Way capitulation to corporate campaign money.

However, again, conservatives from both parties study such corporate profits charts and conclude that corporate profits are being stifled by governmental regulations and alleged high corporate tax rates. More laissez-faire, they say, is the only answer.

Unemployment.....

At the same time that the top 1% have been enjoying a bonanza, corporations have been swimming in their Olympic-sized pools of profits, and the wealth disparity gap has widened to all time levels....average workers, if they still have a job, have lost ground.

Here's how much.....

Once again, except for a bump up in average wages during Clinton, wage-earners make much less on average today than they did in the 70's.

All of these charts and facts are known by America's conservatives in both parties. None of the above details have been mysteriously hidden away like some Da Vinci Code story line.

And yet.....the prescription being written by today's conservatives for our ill national economy is more laissez-faire. A double dose, this time. More tax cuts, (borrowed or not makes no difference), more deregulation for record profit breaking corporations, fewer jobs via more free trade deals, an expansion instead of a retraction of tax sheltering for the nation's richest, more corporate control of our democratic process....AND AT THE SAME TIME.....less for average workers like teachers and highway maintenance employees, less health care coverage, lower pensions, fewer rights to bargain with employers, and a string of initiatives to pilfer, or eliminate entirely, federal, state and local programs to help those downtrodden over the last 30 years of laissez-faire governance.

How conservatives of either party can analyze, with their profound wisdom, what I've presented in this post.....and conclude what they conclude is difficult to comprehend, to put it mildly. But they have.

The Obama-spouted "new economic reality" we all must "adjust" to.....astonishingly.....is no new economic reality at all. Instead, it is the reality Americans have had superimposed on their lives for the last 30 years by conservative proponents of laissez-faire economics.

Having failed in the extreme to improve the economic situations of 97% of Americans for the past 30 years......we're being told now that all we need is a booster shot of the same old sh*t.

We deserve better.

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