Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Trickle Down Paris Hilton

(I’ve decided to postpone this week’s regularly scheduled topic for another day because I’ve thought of another Paris-Goes-To-Jail comment I want to make.)

Susannah Johnson, who was released Saturday after a one-day stay at the jail, said inmates were angry at Hilton, believing officials were making room for the starlet at the expense of other inmates already coping with crowded conditions in the 2,200-bed jail.

"The only advice I could give her when she comes is to shut her mouth and do the time," said Johnson, 35, of Claremont.

El Paso Times, 06/03/2007 11:42:40 AM MDT

There is a much-derided economic theory called “Trickle Down.” At its most general, in a nutshell, this theory holds that allowing individuals to accumulate vast amounts of wealth without harsh, confiscatory impositions—i.e., taxes—the consequent economic activity of the wealthy individuals will result in greater benefits to society than the taxes would have generated. A wealthy person assured of wealth, wealth, wealth won’t hesitate to spend, spend, spend and all that spending sends money “trickling down” to everybody else in society.

Right now, with Paris Hilton in jail, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review are missing a great case study of the reality of trickle down economics.

I’m not talking about the obvious corporate hucksters at work, the magazine and book sellers, and television. I mean regular folk.

Paris Hilton is serving 23 days in Lynwood’s Los Angeles County jail, which hold 2,200 inmates. Every day this prison releases one or two inmates. Normally, these released inmates will try to return to their family, loved ones, co-workers, whatever, and just get on with their life. For the next 23 days, however, every day when the prison releases an inmate, representatives from every media market on the planet will pounce on the newly released ex-con and pay big bucks for every scrap of Paris Hilton news or any random Paris Hilton reference they can extract.

Over the next 23 days, Los Angeles County ex-cons will pocket thousands of dollars just to stand in front of a camera and say things like, “I saw Paris take a drink of water from the water fountain!” or “I saw Paris give a guard an autograph in exchange for a Three Musketeers bar!”

Sure, pop culture corporations and their shareholders are going to get richer. But what could be more democratically cool (or Republican cool, since this is trickle down talk) than enriching and celebrifying that real cross-section of our modern society that is the inmate population of Lynwood’s Los Angeles County jail?

That’s Reaganomics, Tinkerbell!

That’s hot!

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