The rich sang the same tune nearly 100 years ago in Teddy Roosevelt’s time. The lyrics go: 'The market will take care of everything' If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. It’s a simple song, one that fits on a bumper sticker. The problem is it was bullshit 100 years ago and it still is. TDE has never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression and it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decades leading up to the Great Recession.
Recently the Tyee published 'The Verdict on Thatcherism Is Clear' that compared how Thatcher's theory UK squandered its oil wealth compared to Norway who refused to privatize their natural resources and demanded much higher royalties then used those monies to create a heritage fund for the future 'many' instead of a short-term windfall for the 'few'. Norway is currently ranked number one in the world on the Human Development Index.
Regan-Thatcherism is summed up with this quote from the Iron Lady: "There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers' money." This is the nucleus of neo-knucklehead thought and it's bullshit. Wealth flows from the earth, and the North Sea oil represented $8 trillion of commonly owned resources. Honest governments see resource development as a hard-nosed negotiation with their private corporate developers. They aggressively fight for their taxpayers against outside interests who naturally want to keep as much of that money as they can for themselves. Norway did a far more competent job managing their oil wealth than the ideologues in the U.K. then or the Canadians are now The numbers speak for themselves.
Thirty-five years later Regan-Thatcherism, despite being an obvious failure for 'we the people', has become a wildly successful well-funded tactic used by corporations seeking to access public resources around the world at rock-bottom prices. The Tyee article uses the UK-Norway yardstick to examine the Alberta and Saskatchewan approaches to natural resource exploitation saying, "Alberta has sold off oil as fast as foreign investors could pump it out of the ground, with criminally low royalty rates and a sop of a heritage fund that limps along lifeless at a billion or so. I once read that if Alberta had taken the Norwegian approach, that fund could be well over $100B Sask, on the other hand, knew the oil wasn't going anywhere would not sell out cheap to make profit today at the expense of future generations. They demanded high royalty rates from the beginning, knowing that eventually the market would agree to pay." Alberta, despite being one of the richest areas of the world in natural resources is virtually bankrupt. Saskatchewan has huge budget surplus.
The 'leaders' willingly deceive their citizens by selling off their common wealth to the corporations in exchange for their own selfish interests. The 'leaders' and their cronies then sing their song in the equally corrupted corporate media. You remember the song:
'The market will take care of everything
If only we cut more regulations and taxes,
If we sell our resources competitively
Our economy will grow stronger.
A rising tide lifts all boats."
Another verse in the Regan-Thatcher 'Rush to the Bottom' song is about the Medusa like Free Trade deception. Tomorrow we'll focus on how that deception has also been used to hypnotize the many in order to undermine the common good and common sense.