American Plutocracy and The Myth of Trickle Down Economics, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

Free Market Capitalism government and politics Homelessness immigration and government Trickle down economics

Anyone who has any experience with money knows that it is not subject to the laws of gravity. In reality it has a tendency to move up the economic ladder from the least financially stable to the economic giants of the day. Most wealthy individuals recognize this yet being human they do not want to take any chances lest economic resources flow up from the masses to other wealthy pockets.

Thus the greed and political power of the plutocrats of the day has become the most destabilizing factor in our current economy. This would never be a problem in a functional democracy where the less wealthy are able to wield some political power by the shear force of their numbers.


Unfortunately the influence of money in the exercise of political power coupled with misinformation and cultural war politics has curtailed the political power of the majority. Excessive attention to narrowly focused cultural war issues have all but effectively nullified the power of the underprivileged.

In this current climate of cultural war politicking the real losers are not defined along political or even religious lines but along socioeconomic groups. The US policy landscape of today is not divided along the lines of democrats and republicans but between those who control the purse strings and the rest of America.

In the Obama years it appeared this situation was very much apparent to most Americans with popular demonstrations such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Unfortunately in the current Trump era the problem of widening economic inequality appears to be forgotten.

Cultural war politics have taken over our political discourse to the detriment of the run of the mill Democrat or Republican who would gain nothing of substance from these all pervasive wars.

Any rational person can tell you that wars of any kind are bad for economies. The effect of our current trade tensions with China on the economies of both China and the United States is one clear case in point. However whilst the real anticipated result of a trade war is improvement in the economies of the participant who wins, cultural wars have no real economic or even political winners.

A trader looks with concern at the charts for the Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite Index

Most of us should have realized by now that cultural wars would never be really won. The only real change that we see in our societies are the results of cultural creeps which occur as a result of slow and progressive interactions between different cultural belief groups with improved understanding and resulting better tolerance between groups. Fortunately these changes are rarely won in the ballot box, they are won in our communities before making their way into our ballot boxes in the type of political candidates that we elect to represent us.

It is therefore time for all Americans to wake up to the realities of today’s politics. Our real problem is not whether we allow millions of refugees from Central America into the country or keep them in detention camps. If we focus on the real economic issues of today these refugees could actually be more of a blessing than a curse.

Ford factory assembly line in Dearbon, Michigan

Henry Ford the founder of Ford Motor Company understood one simple fact of economics; whilst supply can drive economic growth to a some extent the consistent driver of economic growth is demand. Demand has no racial or cultural allegiance, it is just pure power which when coupled with good productive capacity has the potential to drive industrial and economic growth.

The success of the American Auto Industry was mostly driven by this magical economic fuel called demand. Henry Ford by creating a well paid workforce created the demand required to drive his new motor car economy into one of the biggest force in our world today. Ford was actually too successful in that regard and ended up creating a few downstream problems like our current over reliance on cars but that is not the focus of this post.

Therefore as we draw closer to the 2020 elections we must all focus on our real needs. We must turn away from our preoccupation with cultural war issues and focus on real kitchen table issues that affect us all.

  1. The high cost and lack off accessible healthcare for rural Americans. This unfortunately is a major driving factor in the current opioid epidemic
  2. The ever increasing cost of college educational and the continuously dwindling support of our public educational institutions leaving many students saddled with gigantic educational loans.
  3. The increasing gap between the wages of the lowest paid workers in any company and the highest paid top executives. This problem is leading to many problems including homelessness and hopelessness among many youth of today.
  4. The high cost of childcare for pre-school children.

The above list of problems are by no means exhaustive of all the key issues affecting Americans. These problems however cut across party lines and it is only by focusing on these issues that both parties can ensure that the next election would move into congress leaders who have the interest of Americans at heart.

Once we have such individuals in our elected positions we must continuously demand of them policies and budgetary appropriations that are focused on our most salient needs.

Real change does not come from the top, it is not easy for the powerful and comfortable to conceive change. Change can only come from the bottom.

By Dr. Leonard Sowah a physician in Baltimore, Maryland

Feature photo was modified from: “DSC_5181” by petejordan is licensed under CC BY 2.0



A physician providing primary medical care to patients across the lifespan