Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Trump: Some Numbers"

"...The failure of the American Dream, as we are told repeatedly, has produced a populist revolt of volcanic proportions.

...We are in uncharted territory. ...when Bill and Hillary arrived in Washington in 1992 they had little money. Now, despite remaining notionally in public service throughout, they are worth many millions of dollars. Tony and Cherie Blair were not obscenely wealthy when they arrived in power in 1997. Today they are worth more than $75 million. Consider the working-class voters whom the Clintons or the Blairs exhorted to vote for them in the 1990s: they are probably worse off now than they were then. In effect the Clintons and Blairs surfed on their grievances and inequities, making themselves rich and leaving their voters in the dust. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, which is one reason the old politics is no longer working...

Corruption of the political, capitalist and information systems 
negatively influenced economic performance and consumer behavior 
through legislation, budget appropriation, regulation and taxation 
to benefit a few at the expense of many.

At the heart of the problem is the stagnation of real wages and the lack of upward social mobility as higher education costs escalate out of sight... The 11 million unauthorised immigrants in the US form only part of the vast mass of non-unionised labour competing for jobs...

Since 2000 the wages paid to college graduates have fallen. For men wages have risen slightly but for women they have plunged, producing an overall fall. The situation at the bottom is more serious still: the worst paid 10 per cent saw the biggest drop in wages between 1979 and 2013. At the same time, employers have slashed health benefits. In 2011, only 50 per cent of high school graduates – the peculiar America-speak for those who didn’t have a higher education or enter the middle class – got them (down from 67 per cent in 2000) and only 76 per cent of college graduates, down from 84 per cent...

Socioeconomic disharmonies will likely increase

On average in 1965 an American CEO earned 20 times what a worker did. By 2013, on average, the number was 296 times.

...Trump then did something quite remarkable. He ignored most of the rules of the game. He didn’t prepare for the presidential debates, which Clinton easily won. He spent more on ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball caps than he did on opinion polls. And nowhere did he have a ground organisation comparable to Clinton’s to get out the vote. Overall he spent only half as much as Clinton and depended instead on projecting his campaign as a crusade, a ‘movement’. Like all successful populists, Trump promised to bring back yesterday.

...In 1992 Ross Perot predicted that when the Nafta treaty was signed, Americans would hear a ‘giant sucking sound’ as the nation’s jobs disappeared over the Mexican border. This has indeed occurred and while economists would generally say that the treaty has been beneficial to the US, the benefits have gone to the rich, while workers have lost their jobs. The result is a large loss of faith in the free market, free trade and globalisation. Sanders and Trump both inveighed against Nafta and other pending trade treaties and Clinton was forced to change tack and do the same.

...During his campaign Sanders would point to the example of United Technologies, a giant firm which benefits from many government contracts. In February 2016 it announced the closure of two manufacturing plants in Indiana, although both were profitable. Both were moved to Mexico, where wages were far lower, thus creating super-profits. The company’s CEO earned more than $10 million last year. ‘You really can’t make this stuff up,’ as Sanders put it. Indiana went for Obama in 2008 but Trump won it by nearly 20 points this time.

A democracy will continue to exist
 up until the time that voters discover
 that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury

From that moment on
the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits…
with the result that every democracy
will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy…

…nations always progressed through the following sequence

From bondage to spiritual faith
from spiritual faith to great courage
from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance
from abundance to complacency
from complacency to apathy
 from apathy to dependence
from dependence back into bondage