America is a land of irony. We are filled with capitalists whose intent is to accumulate all the wealth the world has to offer, and at the same time, we also have an altruistic nature that tears at our capitalistic infrastructure. We defend our great society and fund outreach to other nations through our tax dollars. We support our dreams of a united earth through a funding of the United Nations and fund our version of world peace through 1,000 military bases dispersed throughout the world. To grow our middle class, for the past thirty years we have supplied enrichment to our upper class to have it trickle down.
Supply side economics is an irony of political invention as well. Its invention of thought intended to provide extra capital to America’s private sector, the sector that creates taxpaying, productive jobs that extends America’s know how, innovation, skills, and gross domestic product. In our world’s current economic system, when a venture is started, some seed capital that has been accumulated by the world’s elite is then combined with borrowed money created from thin air by banks through the venture’s promise to repay. This devised modern structure of government and banking thus provides the investment needed to fund the venture’s infrastructure and start up expenses, including the financial support for job creation.
The wealthier of our country are those that have traditionally been able to accumulate more money than they need to fund their daily expenses, and thus they have provided the seed capital for ventures through their investments. Instead of the entrepreneurs that risk all to build real wealth and create the jobs, Supply Side economics instead provides tax incentives to the wealthy, ironically giving credit to the capital providers for producing America’s jobs. However, capitalism knows no patriotic allegiance. Investment capital will flow to the highest risk adjusted returns regardless of national borders.
After America’s obsessive military buildup made international investments safer, international business became safer investments in the sixties. Opportunities grew wildly after China opened its borders to investment in 1978, creating a gold rush that attracted loose investment capital from the entire world, building tens of thousands of factories that enriched international investors dearly.
So when Reagan Supply Sider legislators passed tax breaks to the “rich”, their trickledown theory wasn’t wrong, it was just decades late in adjusting to the realities of risk adjusted investment opportunity. Ironically, instead of trickle down, America’s tax policy resulted in pouring out, not a trickle but a fire hose gushing toward foreign shores. Trillions of dollars, created by burdening our middle class with excessive debt, left our economy and were converted into factories and other infrastructure such as roadways, bridges, and cargo ships to enhance China’s economy and to increase their employment base.
It appeared at least temporarily that America profited from our supply side doctrine. An entire industry was born to find ways to collect the extra capital and distribute it to the East. America surely got interim jobs in the financial sector to support this fire hose of foreign directed money flow. Yet, decreasing taxes for the “rich” created much fewer permanent jobs in America than it could have, passing the greater load of jobs to the East. It provided America interim financial and deal flow processing while accomplishing the opposite effect than was hoped for to America’s real economic future.
Ironically, Trickle Down Economics Trickled Down America’s Future…page 2 of 2….Worse, when those permanent jobs left our shores, so did decades of investment in our schools and education that every American has paid for through our contract with America. Each of us has voted to contribute thousands of dollars to our school systems to educate our youth. We do not publicly fund our educational system out of altruism. Americans understand that in educating our youth, they will learn the lessons provided by educated Americans before them. They will carry forward the knowledge that grows in our businesses to learn new theories and methods and to discover new scientific breakthroughs that will extend American technical capabilities. We invest in our children to grow our country’s GDP and to support both those that have come before in their turn at retirement and those that will come after who will raise their families in freedom and who will extend our great country’s experiment in democracy.
Ironically, beyond those trade secrets and innovations that are deemed highly responsible for national security, America does not have a policy about those innovations created in America that have been funded by at least 12 years of public schooling if not more through Pell grants, student loans, state school subsidies and other methods. America has an equity stake in every innovation created by Americans and yet we let them go as freely as we let our commodities be dug up from our patch of earth and be sold out from under us through private, foreign country based businesses operating mines on our public lands today.
However, the greatest irony is yet to come. In letting our capital be funneled to China, in letting our jobs transfer to her, in freely handing over our trade secrets, our innovations, and our scientific breakthroughs, we have transferred decades of core skill and national wealth building capability that will now build in China and not in America. The tax base that would have supported our great society social needs will now support those of China. The extra funds that could have supported our government’s international outreach will now support hers. Our altruistic capability will diminish purely from our trickle down tax policies.
And the great investments that our capitalists hope will provide gold rush returns from the trillions of dollars of investment extracted from the debts of all Americans, turns out they may be the greatest Ponzi of the 20th century. Those trillions of dollars now rest on China’s soil as hard assets. They cannot be dug up from the earth and planted back in America. The financial returns that investors hope for count on China remaining strong to honor her commitments. If China defaults, no one will travel to China and take a piece of the infrastructure back home. There is no international bankruptcy court that can enforce repossessment or repayment.
China’s ability to produce repayments of direct foreign investments depends on America’s ability to stay solvent and to continue buying Chinese goods, yet our solvency rests close to the precipice. If our current economic crisis is thrust off the cliff by short sided, self seeking politicians, America’s default will lead to China’s default and all the profits that our investors dreamed of receiving will disappear in the crash. The underlying assets and intellectual capital that transferred to China in the 20th century gold rush will remain there for China’s eventual rapid recovery while the trickle down and fire hosed out financial capital that left America’s shores will have ironically vanished with our gold strike dreams.