One way the wealthy gets poor people to buy into the ideology that favors themselves
Since Ronald Reagan came into office in the early eighties, trickle-down economics has ruled the country. You would be hard pressed to find a Republican or Libertarian who doesn’t subscribe to this economic ideology these days.
Trickle-down economics is the belief that wealth starts at the top and trickles down to the poor. It is the belief that rich people are the job creators and drivers of the economy, not the consumers of good and services. It’s why conservatives and libertarians alike favor tax cuts for the rich, it’s why conservatives favor subsidies to corporations.
In other words, it’s all about rich people, the poor be damned. It’s the ideology of the wealthy, but unlike actual money, the ideology does indeed trickle down. The question is, why do so many poor people vote against their own interests and elect people who subscribe to an ideology that tosses them aside? Well, thanks to a short lived stint in a pyramid-scheme type business, I can tell you.
When I first got involved with “Team”, the organization behind this multi-level marketing business, I figured it was just another way to make some extra money. For the first few months I learned the basics, went to a few meetings and starting recruiting people.
Not long after, I found myself going to a three day convention where I would see the organization’s true colors. It was led by a group of wealthy religious libertarian/conservative men. On the first two days, these men preached to a crowd of 15,000 people about free-market principals, trickle-down “facts”, and how to become rich by thinking like rich people. Sunday was reserved for Jesus.
They essentially said that in order to become rich, we had to live in their bubble. We should only hang out with rich people, not our poor friends. We should listen to everything they say and put it in practice yourself. After all, they’re rich, so everything they say has to be golden.
They literally encouraged people to become brainwashed with their ideology. It was, as they said, the best way to become rich ourselves. So they told us to buy their spoken word CDs and listen to them over and over again until our mentality was changed. Yes, they actually get richer by turning us into unthinking rich wanna-bes.
Looking back, while they maintained they were apolitical, this organization is basically a shade of the Tea Party. The Koch Brothers might as well have graced the stage. I find it hilarious now that they would preach the words of Jesus on Sunday, while preaching the opposite the day before.
The Team experience taught me that the wealthy use religion and freedom to push their ideology down onto the rest of us. If you preach Christianity, Christians will follow you almost without question regardless of what else you believe.
Of course everyone likes freedom, so you can see how easy it is to hook people here. They preach the freedom of the individual, but unknowing to the person, they place it above the freedom of the rest of society. So making more money becomes more important than helping those less fortunate.
Anyway, luckily for me I’ve always been of sound political mind and got the hell out of there. Unfortunately, I still have a family member involved in the business. He never shuts up about it. He used to be a democratic socialist like myself. Now he goes on and on about the evils of public unions, welfare, and a minimum wage. At least he hasn’t started going to church (that I know of).
The other day he said that obesity is a greater problem than starvation. I’m not saying obesity isn’t a serious problem, but this is just another instance of marginalizing the poorest among us. No one does it better than the wealthy.
The point to all this of course, is to show how easy it is for the wealthy to get their ideology out there and how easy it is to get people to believe it. In this instance they even make more money by spreading it.
Trickle-down theory favors the rich. The only way to get poor or middle class people to subscribe to it, is by promising them that they too will be rich. And according to them, the only way to become rich is to believe in trickle-down economics and the ideology that comes with it.
I was fortunate enough that I could see through the Team’s lies, but not everyone has that ability. It’s very easy to take a poor or middle class man/woman of the street and promise them riches. All they have to do is change their way of thinking to an ideology that thinks more inward.
As I found out, most people who think this way don’t give a shit about you unless you help them get richer. As a matter of fact, they are trained to think this way. It’s how the culture of greed has become what it is today.
So, if the Ideology of the wealthy trickles down, what is going up? The answer is the opposite. That is why it’s important for the poor and middle class to get our voices out there and fight to counter the rhetoric of the wealthy. If they want to wage class warfare, then we need to do the same.
I’ve been reading quite a few posts on your site and absolutely love it. And you had me up until you said “I’m not saying obesity isn’t a serious problem, but this is just another instance of marginalizing the poorest among us.”
To quote Jen Simon from HuffPost “Being overweight is one of the last bastions for even us liberals to judge, shame or tease others. A person who wouldn’t think about writing anything anti-Semitic, homophobic or racist often feels totally OK or even justified saying something rude or mean about a fat person. Why?” (source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jen-simon/we-are-all-lena-dunham_b_4658696.html)
There is no Obesity “epidemic” – take a look at Golda Poretsky’s fact sheet, chock full of scientific evidence that contradicts the messages we all receive that is mostly controlled by the Diet Industry: http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/11/08/just-the-fat-facts-maam/.
I bring this to your attention because I think your blog is fantastic, and for a writer of your quality to engage in fat-shaming (even unintentionally) is truly saddening. I hope reading the two posts I shared with you might make a difference the next time you’re inclined to make a base statement against “obesity” as a concept.
Thank you for your praise Jodi, that statement was made in response to a comment that claimed Obesity is a larger problem than hunger, which is simply not true. Yes, obesity is a serious problem, we have written on the subject many times, but I don’t see how you equated that statement to fat shaming. Rich people always try to lesson the severity of poverty, which is what he tried to do. Going without food can kill you a lot faster than eating too much.