The government’s view is that the economy must be governed oppositely for the wealthy and working folks. The wealthy must be lured with the pleasure of increasing their wealth while workers must be driven to avoid pain. If the economy isn’t doing well it must be because the wealthy aren’t feeling enough pleasure and/or workers aren’t feeling enough pain.
So what happens, as is the case now, when the wealthy are swimming in pleasure beyond all precedent and workers are drowning in pain yet the economy still lags? My theory is that beyond a certain level the “supply side” pleasure-pain economic principle breaks down. It has to do with motivation.
When the government ensures that rich can only get richer no matter what, the wealthy lose their incentive to invest, to innovate and to take risks in the private sector. They turn to “investing” in the one sure thing: plutocratic government. Likewise, when government does nothing to keep workers from growing hopelessly desperate not only for themselves but for their children, workers lose their incentive: they give up. Add in the government failing to provide education, infrastructure and socially-stabilizing protections for ordinary folks on account that it might reduce the pleasure of the rich, and you get what we have now.
So what lies ahead? A new New Deal or a dark age of plutocratic stagnation? I don’t know that people truly get the government they deserve, but they certainly get the one they vote for.
Stephen Jellen, Edwardsville