Counter-Trickle-Down Economics

By Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM

This is not about whether I do or do not believe in the validity of trickle down economic theory.  This is about cutting spending.

Basically, trickle-down economics suggests that if the powers at the top have more to spend or invest, the rest of us will benefit as the assets spread to our much lower level. 

Money at the top is from an aggregation of money contributed from the bottom.  This is certainly true of government.  The government represents the top of a pyramid.  The money it receives is from the broad base of the pyramid which represents us.  There are hundreds of millions of us chipping in money to the government.

But we do not give the government all of our money.  It receives a fraction of what we have.

That leaves the majority in our hands.

Government funding is arguably the opposite of trickle-down economics.  It is what I like to call “throw-it-up” or “throw-up” economics.

Throw-it-up economic theory describes the ascent of money from the many to the few.  It explains the accumulation of assets at the top.

There were a number of financial “crises” in the news today.  I heard individuals calling for administrations and governments to “tighten the belt” in an effort to save money, benefits and jobs.

What I did not hear, were the individuals volunteering to tighten their own belts, too.  After all, most of the money is still at the bottom.  Governments and administrations have merely a fraction of the wealth to use.  If only the real money holders, the people at the bottom, tightened their belts there could be more money for other things.

I believe there was a good reason for their silence. As in just about any gathering of Americans, no matter the reason, the majority of them were too darn fat.  Their belts were as tight as they could possibly get.  So tight in fact, that they were more like waist tourniquets.

Now what does a wide-load citizenry have to do with school funding, health care funding, job creation, benefits, public transportation, infrastructure?


Prodigal consumers are eating up more than just calories, they are consuming resources, too.  Though plodding in motion, they are the prime movers of a subcutaneous economy directed at fat-busting pharmaceuticals, care for fat-related disabilities and rescue from fat-related illnesses.  These are costs we all bear.

Just like the kid who killed a parent demands mercy of the court because, “I’m an orphan,” so do these ingestive profligates demand our financial support because they can’t keep their mouths shut.

The money spent on supporting the habit of the overfat could be spent elsewhere.  For example school funding, health care funding, job creation, benefits, public transportation, infrastructure.

Maybe some people should tighten their own belts first before asking others to tighten theirs.  And if you can’t tighten your own belt and you can’t stop eating, there’s always throw-it-up economics.  Remember all politics is local.