Trickle Down Zombies
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woohooligan Sep 20, 2017
woohooligan NEW! Check out our best laughs from 2016!
Trump is like a really incompetent Lucifer. I don't just mean that he's the "father of lies" (although he is sort of like the creepy bad-touch uncle of lies). I mean with all the constant bragging about how great he is, like the penultimate Mary Sue, he also always seems to know how to make any crisis worse. Whatever the appropriate response would be to help a bad situation, do the exact opposite and then brag about how awesome a job that was. Being investigated for treason? Fire the investigator and brag about it, because boy was he a showboat! Nazis marching in Charlottesville? Say it was all the fault of those "horribly violent" ministers and priests who were protesting them. (I did say Lucifer, did I not?) Hurricane in Florida? Pardon a corrupt asshole and brag about the TV ratings! I mean, what else is massive property damage (and possible loss of life) good for, if not to boost those sweet, sweet, Nielsens! Hell, a natural disaster is better than Sweeps! That is, if you're Lucifer, and your goal is to burn everything to the ground.

So after nine months of accomplishing almost none of the political promises he made during his campaign, it should come as no surprise that Trump is now tackling his passion project, tax reform, with his usual strategy: do the worst thing you can imagine. For anyone who's been paying attention, Donald Trump and his administration are all about trickle-down economics, which made him a perfect fit for the Republican party. To be fair, Democrats aren't without fault here: Bill Clinton signed the Banking Modernization Act, which repealed Glass-Steagal, prohibited regulation of the derivatives market, and overrode state gambling laws to allow bankers to gamble with people's mortgages. This one act mostly caused the real-estate crisis and subsequent near-complete global clusterfuck we called "the Great Recession". That being said, the gospel of trickle-down economics and accompanying crony capitalism has for several decades been mostly marketed to us by the Republican party leadership, like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. This is despite the fact that blue-collar Republicans often say they would like to go back to 1957 to get lower taxes, a time when taxes were actually higher, unions were strong, bipartisanship was common, and Leave It To Beaver promised us all that life would be grand as long as you and your hetero-spouse slept in separate beds like some weird co-ed summer-camp. Notably, the reason today's Republicans are at odds with the party platform of 1956 is because that was before the 20th Century Reversal in the late 50s and early 60s, in which rural southerners (and notably the KKK) switched from the Democratic party to the Republican party, and Republicans unhappy with the influx of Klan members similarly fled the party and became Democrats. Basically, if you want to understand US politics over the past century, the State is more important than the party. MLK's neighbors were mostly Democrats when he was born -- when he died, those same people were mostly Republicans. So while Lincoln freed US slaves from Democrats, those slave-holders descendants today are Republicans.

To be clear, I'm saying Klansmen and Neo-Nazis are bad, not that Republicans are bad. Look, I'm a comedian. Everybody used to love Bill Cosby before we realized he was a rapey asshole. I'm saying comedians like Jon Stewart, Sam Bee and Larry Willmore are great people, despite sharing the stage with some assholes like Cosby. Like your own asshole is only about 1% of your body, assholes are also a small minority of any political party, Republicans, Democrats, third-party D&Dnarians (unfortunately using a D20 to determine their vote doesn't produce a bell-curve).

Getting back to the Trump administration's love-affair with all things trickle-down, the upcoming attempt at tax reform isn't the only or even the first evidence of Trump's trickle-down intentions. So far, he's overturned Obama's Stream Protection Rule, allowing coal companies to continue dumping mining waste in our rivers, which will save a tremendous zero jobs in the coal industry, although it may provide coal executives with some Christmas bonus chubby... wallets. After all, if they weren't dumping their waste in our rivers already, then why would they have lobbied against protecting our streams? But you know Trump, he likes his streams dirty. Trump also slashed funding for Meals on Wheels, because why should veterans eat? The failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, dubbed Trumpcare, wasn't so much a Trump thing as it was a Republican party leadership thing. Trump didn't really care about health-care. Why should he? He already doesn't give a shit about the Cadillac health-care he himself can afford, so why should he care about our health? But weirdly, the leaders of the Republican party who normally proudly trumpet trickle-down theory, tried to hide all of their machinations about the Trumpcare bill in the cold and the dark, like Gollum hiding his precious. And each time the bill came out into the light, whatever minor revisions they'd made only reduced the number who would lose insurance from 24-million to 23-million and then 22. And the only reason for eliminating all that health-care was to give gigantic tax-breaks to disgustingly wealthy people. Of course they had to because those disgustingly wealthy people paid them good money, just like how Trump says he had to pay for people like the Clintons to attend his wedding. (I certainly wouldn't have gone without a bribe.) So of course, we can expect the upcoming tax-reform bill to propose massive cuts to taxes for the wealthiest Americans, at the expense of (you guessed it), the middle-class.

So why would that be such a bad thing? Certainly, Ayn Rand and the Libertarians, and most Republicans have been telling us for years that "regulations kill jobs", and "unions kill jobs", and "corporations and the wealthy always do what's best for the rest of us because it's in their own best interest!" All of this is really prime bullshit, and there may be no better example of why this is all bullshit than the clothing industry. What's now called "fast fashion" has convinced us all that we have to CONSTANTLY be buying new clothing, much of it that we'll never wear, regardless of how much perfectly wearable clothing we already have spilling out of our closets. And how do we get this wonderful abundance of clothing we don't need? Why, from sweat shops of course! Is there any other way? Well, yes, there is another way -- the companies that produce this clothing in places like India where the cost of living is dramatically lower than ours, could simply provide safe working environments and a living wage. Oh, but then the clothing would cost more!!! Yes, that's true, for a $10-$20 shirt, you might pay as much as an extra $1. The cost to you would go up from $20 to $21! OH THE HUMANITY! You might have to only by 19 shirts instead of 20 this year!

The clothing industry isn't suffering because of these people's wages, the employees are the ones suffering, and it's not because treating them with a modicum of humanity would cost anything. It's purely because the executives in their industry genuinely don't give a shit about being decent human beings. And the reality is that we let them do this. I'm not saying I'm some saint who only buys sweat-shop free merch. I don't have a lot of money, I don't buy a lot of things, clothing or otherwise, and my clothes are usually purchased as cheap as I can get them (a lot of thrift-shops), because I struggle to pay bills. There is however a growing movement to put pressure on those assholes running the clothing industry to be decent human beings. I for one believe, like Bernie Sanders, that if you work 40 hours a week, you deserve a living wage, regardless of whether you're a brain-surgeon or a janitor. If you think someone should need a college degree to not live in crushing poverty, then you're advocating for a world in which your Janitor doesn't get to eat if he doesn't work 60-80 hours a week. As of today, there are still sweat-shops here in the US, despite our laws (and I'm not talking about Wal-Mart's non-living wages), and in most cities, the bare MINIMUM for regular folk to survive on 40 hours is that $15 minimum wage that Bernie Sanders still fights for, and that's already working in Seattle and other places. And that's not even an extreme position -- the extreme position, and one I think is actually reasonable, would be basic income, where everyone gets a certain amount to live on, whether they work or not. It's been tested in a variety of ways and it's worked, much like housing first programs to address homelessness, but like a lot of things that work, general skepticism and personal interests have made it a political non-starter so far throughout most of the world.

But what if you need more proof? What if you say "oh, well, the clothing industry is just some weird fluke, the rest of the business world doesn't work like that." You might think that a state could lure all kinds of lucrative businesses to their state, simply by eliminating their corporate taxes, right? I mean, what company wouldn't jump at the opportunity to move their offices to a state where they wouldn't have to pay any taxes at all? Seems reasonable... Well, Governor Brownback of Kansas tried that, and it was a magical, eutopian wonderland that fucked them over HARD! Not only did business not flood into the state, businesses literally flooded OUT of Kansas because of all the damage it did. Without that tax revenue, their school system tanked, a lot of payrolls were slashed, and people living in the state couldn't afford a lot of things they previously could afford, and bam! Businesses in the state LOST money because their customers couldn't afford their products or services. Well... maybe they just didn't wait long enough, right? How long is long enough? Five years? Because that's how long Kansas tried this experiment and at no point was there ANY indication that those giant tax breaks were helping anyone. Maybe there are certain niche cases in which specific tax breaks can lead to more jobs, but more often than not, all of these arguments are just plain old-fashioned bullshit. And we all know it's bullshit, because this trickle-down economics idea is LITERALLY the Nigerian prince scam -- I'm gonna give you all this money, and I just need a small handling fee to make that happen! Give up your health insurance and we'll give you jobs! Give up your social security and we'll give you jobs! Give up your unions and we'll give you better jobs! Give up your minimum wage, and we'll give you more and better jobs! All of these demands to give up things that help and protect the poor describe the way the world worked before the labor movement, around 1931 for example. Raise your hand if you think we all had more and better jobs in 1931! Well, maybe there were more psychiatric jobs -- it was the depression after all. :P

The good news is that there are solutions for all this bullshit. All we have to do is wake up and demand the elimination of gerrymandering, eliminate the electoral college, and promote other better systems like housing-first programs, medicare for all, education for all, and basic income. Just move mountains, right? :P I'm not saying it's all going to be easy, I'm just saying that with a lot of hard work, we can make progress. If this all seems like too much, if you don't know where to start, I recommend getting involved in the Indivisible movement. They have a pattern for organized cooperation to achieve the kind of progress we need to make the world a better place for everyone. And you can also follow them on Twitter.

Speaking of better systems, and if you enjoyed this info-satire, I'd like to remind you that you can be an important part of it by joining our mailing list, and/or pledging as little as $1 a month on our Patreon. This four-page strip is something that one of my Patrons and friends, Sarah Roark, has been waiting on me to make for a number of months. Speaking of which, Sarah's also publishes an awesome vampire comedy webcomic called After Daylight that you ought to check out! Sarah is also pretty active in politics and was recently arrested at a protest in Berkeley for carrying a "weapon", specifically a piece of cardboard more than 30-inches tall. Yup, your tax dollars at work! Saving you from all those dangerous paper cuts! :P

p.s. If you happened to hear the recent NPR story about the recent study that showed that $15/hr isn't enough to live in about half of the country, please comment with a link! I heard it the other day and haven't been able to find it to link it here. Oh, and I almost forgot, I also can't seem to find the recent Daily Show video from one of the correspondents (balding white guy, I don't remember his name), in which he talked about being basically hypnotized by an "economist" who promotes trickle-down theory. So if you've seen that video, also please leave a link in the comments! Thanks! :D

EDIT (9/22/2017): I misremembered which show that video was from, it wasn't the Daily Show, it was Michael Rubens on Full Frontal. It's the 2nd video below.

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