Punchinello’s Chronicles

October 11, 2008

Trickle-Down Economics

The news here in Chicagoland is that the METRA (public transportation) is making some fare changes. Mayor Daley hasn’t yet said it’s a done deal, but the thinking is nobody would announce the changes if it weren’t going to happen. The fare for most people will go up a quarter. The suburban bus system (PACE) says they’re going to do the same.

Last year there was a huge discussion about how the whole system would be forced to shut down lines, cut services, fire people, and generally be upset. Officials said they just didn’t know what would happen if they couldn’t get a gazillion dollars in government subsidy funding. The state of Illinois, of course has no money. We’re pretty well broke.

People in the rest of the state couldn’t figure out why they should be subsidizing Chicago’s local transportation system. But then, people in the rest of the state always get mad when Chicago takes a lot of money. Anyway, lines in the sand were drawn, parties faced down other parties, things got tense, and the system was about to go broke.

More people wondered how the public transportation system could be constantly running at a deficit. How come it wasn’t making money? Why couldn’t it be privatized? Nobdy know. It’s a mystery. Governor Blagojevich, affectionately known as “Bloggo,” said he’d approve money to keep the sytem going if they’d give seniors and people with disabilities free rides.

Hmm…a friend of mind who’s on disability got a card saying rides are now free. Trouble is, my friend never rides public transportation.

The fare hikes are supposed to cover rising fuel costs, and the free rides for the elderly. It’s just that everyone else has to pay the money. Now that’s trickle-down economics!

Conservatives propose that wealthy business owners will expand their businesses, thereby needing more employees. Those employees will get paid, thereby spending more money in the overall economy. Liberal Democrats bust a gut laughing, saying that the old Reagan-omics is a total joke.

So I don’t get it (again). Is the more serious way of understanding economics that poor people should be given things for free, then anyone with money should pay more money to make it happen?

Maybe I’m just not getting why trickle-down economics is so funny because I’m not seeing the right way. It should be trickel-UP economics, right? People with nothing should get something, and their needs should trickle UP into the economy, gradually causing more and more people to pay more in taxes, spend less on personal desires, and make businesses more expensive to run. Then people could get laid off, making more poor people.

If we have more and more poor people who get free rides, then everything is perfect. All we need to do is create more poor people. So Trickle-Up economics makes sense, right?

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