the promise of trickle-down economics was that when the glass was full it would overflow (me and francis, part 3)

“There is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church. I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on.

The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world.

The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory.” 

From the Evangeli Gaudium, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis (November 24, 2013).

More free does not translate into more unequal

If you would like to read an insulting misuse of statistics and comparisons, give a look-see to “Pope Francis’s Erroneous Economic Pontifications” by Benjamin Powell for Huffington Post (December 20, 2013). While Mr. Powell does acknowledge that “The income share of the poorest 10% of the population in the least economically free countries is 2.57% while their share is 2.76% in the freest countries. More free does not translate into more unequal.” 

First, using fractions to the hundredth place is misleading: rounded up, the two figures are 2.6% and 2.*%. For most of us, these are essentially and practically identical. It’s like saying, “The income share of the poorest 10% of the population in both the least economically free countries and in the freest countries is less than 3%.”

And what in Grommet’s Wholly Name does “More free does not translate into more unequal” mean?

He then holds up the recent lurch forward of China’s economy as an argument in favor of “free market capitalistic system,” ignoring the horrors associated with the Chinese “renaissance.” These were the same “fellows” of rightwing “institutes” that declared Japan the standard-bearer just a few years ago.

Of course, Powell bypasses the destruction of the middle class and the subsequent growth of the lower class in the US over the past thirty years since Reaganomics was declared Holy Scripture. 

Fellows, independents, and sex and dope

Mr. Powell is a Senior Fellow (a meaningless title) at the Independent Institute, another meaningless title as the II is a Libertarian “think-tank.” Libertarians are hardly “independent”—a former friend humorously and oh so accurately called them “Republicans who want to smoke dope and get laid. 

The task of the Fellows at II seems to be to think up ways to tank the middle class and less privileged (read “the overwhelming majority” or “most of us”) while extolling the virtues of those theories and practices that uphold the rights of the privileged few. Alas, some things never change . . .

And now to return to the Pope and better things

Francis’ pontification—“The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor”—will be around and resonating with millions of people long after the righties rants are forgotten for the propaganda that it invariably turns out to be. As I just said, some things never yadda yadda blah blah . . .

Comments, suggestions, additions, and arguments welcome!