Top News

Letter: ‘Horse and sparrow theory’ all over again

I notice that U.S. Republican representatives are once again trying to foist a “trickle-down” tax bill on middle-class America. By cutting taxes on corporations, they claim to be acting in the best interest of low-income and middle-income citizens, but this is just one more attempt to ensure that the rich/poor divide widens still further.

They are probably hoping that their victims will be unaware of the oft-demonstrated failure of this economic theory, which has been increasing the wealth of a tiny minority of citizens for decades, and probably for centuries. Far from trickling down, money has a clever way of trickling upward.

It is just one more trick employed by the wealthy to impoverish the majority.

In the 19th century, the same theory was more pungently described as the “horse and sparrow theory.” If the horse is fed enough oats, some of it will pass through the horse’s digestive tract and be excreted on the road, where the sparrows will find enough to satisfy their own modest needs. Some tried to make it sound a bit less inequitable, or less scatological, by re-naming it “Supply-side economics,” but what the workers actually gain from it is the same. It is just one more trick employed by the wealthy to impoverish the majority.

The capitalist system is based firmly on trickle-down and other similar theories, perpetuating one of the most unjust and cynical social divisions ever devised by the insatiable greed of plutocrats. The fact that such things can still be done in the 21st century is proof that the educational system is still in the hands of the rich, as the poor continue to elect the same millionaires who have been defrauding them since the dawn of time.

If the children of our low-income citizens could be taught some honest history and economic theory, then possibly the injustice might be remedied. Wishful thinking, I expect.

Yes, you’re right, I have read my Marx, and my Mao, and my Marti. I’ve also read my New Testament: “He has fed the hungry with nourishing food, and has sent the rich away with empty bellies.” Jesus of Nazareth’s mother said it, shortly after she knew she was pregnant, and although she was evidently in a good humour, I really don’t think she was joking. As a good Jewish girl, Mary was quoting from the Prophets and the Psalms. Marx is great for economic theory, but you can’t beat Sacred Scripture for retribution.


Ed Healy

Recent Stories