Democrats, please learn how to message.
I know. I am repeating myself, but it’s just not sinking in:
What we require now is a new framework for thinking and talking about the economy, grounded in modern understandings of how things actually work. Economies, as social scientists now understand, aren’t simple, linear and predictable, but complex, nonlinear and ecosystemic. An economy isn’t a machine; it’s a garden. It can be fruitful if well tended, but will be overrun by noxious weeds if not.
In this new framework, which we call Gardenbrain, markets are not perfectly efficient but can be effective if well managed. Where Machinebrain posits that it’s every man for himself, Gardenbrain recognizes that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. Where Machinebrain treats radical inequality as purely the predictable result of unequally distributed talent and work ethic, Gardenbrain reveals it as equally the self-reinforcing and compounding result of unequally distributed opportunity.
Ah, terrific. A new way of looking at the economy, using metaphors the average American can understand. Such as:
Consider regulation. Under the prevailing assumption, regulation is an unfortunate interruption of a frictionless process of wealth creation in a self-correcting market. But Gardenbrain allows us to see that an economy cannot self-correct any more than a garden can self-tend. And regulation — the creation of standards to raise the quality of economic life — is the work of seeding useful activity and weeding harmful activity.
Yes, that’s all very well and good. It’s perfectly logical, wonderful in fact. But it will go nowhere because while I agree a new way of discussing these issues is needed, it would help if you didn’t crib from a 1979 Jerzy Kosinski classic. Then again, the Tea Party is nothing but a rip-off of a 1992 Tim Robbins movie.
Is this what the American discourse has become? As much as I agree wholeheartedly with these sentiments, it’s hard not to laugh when I read stuff like this:
Or take taxes. Under the efficient-market hypothesis, taxes are an extraction of resources from the jobs machine, or more literally, taking money out of the economy. It is not just separate from economic activity, but hostile to it. This is why most Americans believe that lower taxes will automatically lead to more prosperity. Yet if there were a shred of truth to this, then given our historically low tax rates we would today be drowning in jobs and general prosperity.
Gardenbrain, in contrast, allows us to recognize taxes as basic nutrients that sustain the garden. A well-designed tax system — in which everyone contributes and benefits — ensures that nutrients are circulated widely to fertilize and foster growth. Reducing taxes on the very wealthiest on the idea that they are “job creators” is folly. Jobs are the consequence of an organic feedback loop between consumers and businesses, and it’s the demand from a thriving middle class that truly creates jobs. The problem with today’s severe concentration of wealth, then, isn’t that it’s unfair, though it might be; it’s that it kills middle-class demand. Lasting growth doesn’t trickle down; it emerges from the middle out
I mean yes, the garden is a lovely metaphor but I just can’t take this shit seriously. Here’s an idea: instead of all the convoluted “the garden needs nutrients” blather, how about just asking a simple question: We’ve had 12 years of the Bush tax cuts. Where are the fucking jobs?
Now, was that so hard?