Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Klein Kollege - Ralphanomics - Trickle Down Theory 

Alberta's Treasurer Ms. Pat Nelson is pleased to present the first in a series of lectures on Ralphanomics - that obscure branch of economics based on those unique views of numbers, money and bullshit philosophy espoused by Alberta's Premier Ralph Klein.

Klein Kollege was established in May of this year by Learning Minister Lyle Oberg to provide a cost effective way of implanting right wing mindsets into the craniums of Albertans. See previous news re Klein Kollege here, here, and here. The online education division of Ralph's World has been contracted by the Alberta government to deliver the course material. Here is the first lecture.

Lecture #1 - "Trickle Down - How flowing taxpayer dollars to American-owned packing plants benefits Albertans and their children"

Hi Alberta People. My name is Pat Nelson and I'm the Treasurer of Alberta. Sometimes I'm called the Finance Minister because I preach about money. Money is the most important thing in Alberta and our job in the Tory governement is to collect it from you and the companies you work for and then spread it back out, just like spreading manure. One of the ways we spread is called "trickle down" and the purpose of this first lecture is to explain to you how trickle down works. We'll talk about other ways in later lectures.

First of all, let me explain the fuzzy picture of me you see here. I chose it on purpose because Ralphanomics sometimes seems pretty fuzzy itself. Ha ha ha! I know the Premier can take a joke.

OK. Now the serious stuff.

Where do we get our money from? If you go to my website you can get all sorts of information. Here's what our revenues are currently (in millions of dollars).

Pretty good eh? That second column of numbers shows how much we are likely to to take in this year. Look at all that non-renewable resource revenue, $7.6 billion a year - 30% of our revenue - $2500 a year for every child, woman and man in the province. The Feds and the other provinces don't have that kind of dough coming in - only us. This gives us the luxury of using Trickle Down Theory which is really what this lecture is all about. If we didn't have all this extra money we wouldn't be able to try out some of these neat ideas.

Trickle down theory, aka supply side economics, was characterized by economist John Kenneth Galbraith as follows: "Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows." The Progressive Conservative party in Alberta is the one that most of the horses support along with all you good sparrows who believe in the trickle down theory. These are what we call the real Albertans. The rest of the horses and sparrows in the province support the Liberal or ND party. These are the not real Albertans. This lecture is really for them; to help them become real Albertans.

This concept is shown pictorially on the left. A picture is worth a thousand words isn't it? Here it illustrates why raising the minimum wage in Alberta is a bad idea. Raising the minimum wage would send more money directly to the sparrows without it passing through the horse. Silly eh? That's why we don't do that in Alberta. We pride ourseleves in having the lowest minimum wage in Canada and as we are the richest province I guess it works. But that's a topic for another day.

Let's see how trickle down works with a real live example known as the Alberta Beef Producer BSE support program. This was the program where the Alberta government paid cattle producers a certain amount of money per head when they sold their animals to the packing plants. The price per head had dropped due to the BSE crisis so this gave the producer some, but not all of what they were losing back to them. This was paid for by you, the Alberta taxpayer. Watch how the money flows.

  1. First, producers sell animals to packing plants for peanuts because too much supply and no demand.
  2. Then we give the producers a bunch of our tax dollars to keep them from starving.
  3. Packing plants sell processed beef to retailers at same old price as before BSE crisis and send huge amounts of cash, our cash, to their bottem line.
  4. This pleases the owners of packing plants (horses), (mostly American), because it causes their shares to go up and their dividends to increase. In short, it makes them richer.
  5. To show their appreciation to the cattle producers and the Alberta taxpayer, these Americans travel en masse to Alberta towns and cities where they visit Alberta's renowned collection of the Worlds's Biggest Things such as the Largest Softball (in Chauvin), the Largest Ukrainian Sausage (in Mundare), the Largest Mushroom (in Vilna), and the Largest Piggy Bank (in Coleman) to name but a few. I'm sure you remember that sudden influx of appreciative Americans last winter, don't you? I know I do. During their visits they spend their newfound wealth in the bars, motels and shops of our Alberta communities which are run and staffed by ordinary Albertans (sparrows).
  6. Then when the sparrows pay their taxes back to me, the loop is completed. Pretty neat isn't it?
Now trickle down isn't perfect. Sometimes those American horses don't spend all of money we sent them back in Alberta. They might spend some of it in America. We call this leakage because it doesn't come back to us. Some of the taxpayer dollars we sent these packing plants never even reaches their bottom line. Some of it is siphoned off and given to the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party as a political donation. We don't call this leakage; we call this money well-spent.

The big idea that I want you all to take away from this lecture is eloquently captured in this Alberta Progressive Conservative guiding principle.

Always feed the horses first and the sparrows will look after themselves.

If you ever have trouble understanding any of our policies on deregulation, auto insurance, seniors, or healthcare, just think back to this catch phrase and things will become crystal clear. It is what allows all Albertans, us horses and you sparrows, to work together in harmony to build a stronger Alberta.

Thank you for your attention.

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