Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trump's dangerous economic appeal

Quote of the day

"Trump is speaking to the fears of Americans who have lost faith not just in establishment politics, but in establishment economics" - John Nichols at The Nation

...Republican pollster Frank Luntz says that in the focus groups he’s conducted, he has regularly found people who voted for Obama twice but now say “they would consider Trump.” Why? Because Trump is speaking to the fears of Americans who have lost faith not just in establishment politics, but in establishment economics. And he is likely to do a lot more of that.

Watch what happens when he hits the rust belt.

Exposing establishment denial: It really is the economy, stupid!

Robert Reich (writing at commondreams.org) takes issue with the "establishment" about the electoral upheaval that brings Sanders and Trump to the fore.

A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves.”

I beg to differ.

Economic indicators may be up but they don’t reflect the economic insecurity most Americans still feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience.

Nor do the major indicators show the linkages Americans see between wealth and power, crony capitalism, declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and a billionaire class that’s turning our democracy into an oligarchy.

Median family income lower now than it was sixteen years ago, adjusted for inflation.

Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top.

These gains have translated into political power to rig the system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, trade deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed down wages pulled up profits.

Those at the very top of the top have rigged the system even more thoroughly. Since 1995, the average income tax rate for the 400 top-earning Americans has plummeted from 30 percent to 17 percent.

Wealth, power, and crony capitalism fit together. So far in the 2016 election, the richest 400 Americans have accounted for over a third of all campaign contributions.

Americans know a takeover has occurred and they blame the establishment for it.

The establishment doesn’t see what’s happening because it has cut itself off from the lives of most Americans. It also doesn’t wish to understand, because that would mean acknowledging its role in bringing all this on.

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