A lot of people don't know this about me, but before I became a social worker and psychotherapist, I was a 4.00 (straight A) undergraduate student with a double major in Economics and Accounting. (How I came to be who I am today is a long story, but...) Although I now mostly work with the inner lives of people who are seeking self-actualization, my fascination with observing the macro-systems of our society has always remained. In fact, combining the two fields of study offers me a particular - and I like to think - interesting perspective.
Here's what I see, in the face of the historic collapse of Wall Street, the housing market and the mortgage industry now wrecking our economy as I write this - and this relates to why I've been posting my series, "HOW STUPID ARE WE?"
There are still a number of people out there, enough of them left in the United States to be enabling the disasters befalling our country at every level, who actually still believe in the theory of "trickle-down economics."
Just to clarify, the "trickle-down" economic theory states that increases in the wealth of the rich are good for the middle class and poor because some of such additional wealth will eventually trickle down to the middle class and to the poor. The theory states that if the top income earners make even more, they'll invest more into business, infrastructure and equity markets, which will in turn lead to more jobs for middle class and poor individuals as well as better goods and services at lower prices for the same middle and poor classes. Thus, according to this theory, regulation of the wealth of the wealthy is counterproductive because the enhancement of the lives of the benevolent wealthy will lead to the betterment of all.
Now, I know, on the face of it, most of my readers wouldn't believe that anyone could possibly be so naive or gullible enough to buy into such an obvious con, but let me tell you something, folks - there are many, many people out there who are still desperately seeking an idealized good parent, one who will happily share their wealth and power and look out for the "little ones" that so many of us unfortunately still want to be. These imaginary good parents, of course, don't have a greedy, narcissistic, psychopathic bone in their bodies, nor any nefarious intentions towards others whatsoever. They are, in other words, what are real parents were not.
You would think that believing such a thing is incredible in the face of the scandals and rip-offs perpetrated by so many of the wealthy and powerful in the last few decades, right? Ha! I can tell you, believers are everywhere, and the political arms of the nefarious and greedy (those who've co-opted and falsely named their psychopathic intentions a "conservative movement") have learned exactly how to fool them and win the "kids" over - with fear of The Other and the wrath of moral judgments that have their roots in our childhood sexual conflicts.
My own working-class father, now living in rural upstate New York, has voted for these characters over and over, in spite of the toll their policies have taken on him economically. But Ronald Reagan seemed like an amiable father, and George W. seems like a righteous guy you'd - UGH! - want to have a beer with. John McCain seems like the grumpy but brave grandfather we wished we'd had, and Sarah Palin, the clear-eyed, firm, baby-making machine we fantasized our mothers were. Yes, that makes people like my father feel secure... even as they're filling out their bankruptcy papers and paying taxes through the nose.
Give up on your parents, folks. Because holding onto the need for imaginary good parents means that you have to stay a child, which ultimately means you end up in a nursing home, broke and alone, but getting all of your needs totally taken care of by someone else.