US Politics: How Trump Has Betrayed The Working Class – Robert Reich | The Guardian UK

Robert Reich

  – Robert Reich | The Guardian UK

Trump’s corporate giveaways and failure to improve the lives of ordinary working Americans are becoming clearer by the day

Trump is remaking the Republican party into … What? 

For a century the GOP has been bankrolled by big business and Wall Street. Trump wants to keep the money rolling in. His signature tax cut, two years old last Sunday, has helped US corporations score record profits and the stock market reach all-time highs.

To spur even more corporate generosity for the 2020 election, Trump is suggesting more giveaways. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney recently told an assemblage of CEOs that Trump wants to “go beyond” his 2017 tax cut.         

Trump also wants to expand his working-class base. In rallies and countless tweets he claims to be restoring the American working class by holding back immigration and trade.

Most incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates are mimicking Trump’s economic nationalism. As Trump consigliere Stephen Bannon boasted recently: “We’ve turned the Republican party into a working-class party.”

Keeping the GOP the Party of Big Money while making it over into the Party of the Working Class is a tricky maneuver, especially at a time when capital and labor are engaged in the most intense economic contest in more than a century because so much wealth and power are going to the top.

Armed with deductions and loopholes, America’s largest companies paid an average federal tax rate of only 11.3% on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate under the new tax law – the lowest effective corporate tax rate in more than eighty years.

Yet almost nothing has trickled down to ordinary workers. Corporations have used most of their tax savings to buy back their shares, giving the stock market a sugar high. The typical American household remains poorer today than it was before the financial crisis began in 2007.

Trump’s tax cut has also caused the federal budget deficit to balloon. Even as pre-tax corporate profits have reached record highs, corporate tax revenues have dropped about a third under projected levels. This requires more federal dollars for interest on the debt, leaving fewer dollars for public services workers need.

The Trump administration has already announced a $45bn cut in food stamp benefits that would affect an estimated 10,000 families, many at the lower end of the working class.

The administration is also proposing to reduce Social Security disability benefits, a potential blow to hundreds of thousands of workers.

The tax cut has also shifted more of the total tax burden to workers. Payroll taxes made up 7.8% of national income last year while corporate taxes made up just 0.9%t, the biggest gap in nearly two decades. All told, taxes on workers were 35% of federal tax revenue in 2018; taxes on corporations, only 9% .

Trump probably figures he can cover up this massive redistribution from the working class to the corporate elite by pushing the same economic nationalism, tinged with xenophobia and racism, he used in 2016. As Steve Bannon has noted, the formula seems to have worked for Britain’s Conservative party.

But it will be difficult this time around because Trump’s economic nationalism has hurt American workers, particularly in states that were critical to Trump’s 2016 win. 

Manufacturing has suffered as tariffs raised prices for imported parts and materials. Hiring has slowed sharply in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states Trump won, and in states like Minnesota that he narrowly lost.

The trade wars have also harmed rural America by reducing demand for American farm produce. Last year China bought around $8.6bn of farm goods, down from $20bn in 2016. A new tentative trade deal calls for substantially more Chinese purchases.

Meanwhile, health care costs continue to soar, college is even less affordable, and average life expectancy is dropping due to a rise in deaths from suicide and opioid drugs like fentanyl. Polls show most Americans remain dissatisfied with the country’s direction.

The consequences of Trump’s and the Republicans’ excessive corporate giveaways and their failure to improve the lives of ordinary working Americans are becoming clearer by the day.

The only tricks left for Trump and the Republicans are stoking social and racial resentments and claiming to be foes of the establishment. But bigotry alone won’t win elections, and the detritus of the tax cut makes it difficult for Trump and the GOP to portray themselves as anti-establishment.

This has created a giant political void, and an opportunity. Democrats have an historic chance to do what they should have done years ago:

Create a multi-racial coalition of the working class, middle class, and poor, dedicated to reclaiming the economy for the vast majority and making democracy work for all.

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Comments

  • IAN  On December 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE LIBERAL, SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST PIECE OF CRAP THAT YOU ARE. THE BEST ECONOMY WE HAVE HAD IN MANY, MANY YEARS, LARGEST NUMBER OF JOBS AVAILABLE (IF YOU LIVE IS THE US RIGHT NOW AND YOU DON’T HAVE A JOB IT IS BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK), CONSTRUCTION BOOMING, MILITARY IS STRONG AGAIN, TRADE DEALS ARE BEING EQUALIZED, HE STANDS FIRM AGAINST OUR ENEMIES, THE ALMOST 300 BILLION DOLLARS ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE COST THE TAX PAYERS IN THIS COUNTRY THIS YEAR, HE IS TRYING TO CORRECT, AND YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO PUBLISH TRASH LIKE THIS ABOUT TRUMP.

    WHERE DO YOU THINKS JOBS COME FROM YOU IDIOT, FROM POOR PEOPLE OF SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES. HAVE YOU OR ANY LIBERAL IDIOT EVER HAD A POOR PERSON OFFER YOU A JOB????

    YOU DON’T LIKE HIM SO YOU CONSTANTLY TALK TRASH ABOUT HIM. WHY WERE YOU NOT PUBLISHING CRAP LIKE THIS ABOUT THAT WORTHLESS PIECE OF CRAP OBAMA WHO TOOK THIS COUNTRY TO ITS
    KNEES IN 8 YEARS.

    GUYANESEONLINE, WHY DON’T YOU PUBLISH THE GOOD THINGS THAT TRUMP IS DOING. I READ THESE TRASH ARTICLES THAT YOU PUBLISH FROM LIBERAL, SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST IDIOTS AND IT MAKES ME SICK TO MY STOMACH TO THINK I WAS BORN IN GUYANA.

    • wally n  On December 28, 2019 at 10:52 am

      BINGO! BINGO! BINGO!

      • Emanuel  On December 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm

        Trump is supported by idiots and dummies and that includes Guyanese.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 27, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY IS A TRAIN WRECK. LET US COUNT THE WAYS

    EDITORIAL BOARD | Los Angeles Times

    IN THIS CORROSIVE AND DANGEROUS TRUMP PRESIDENCY, the outrages fly so fast and the chaos mounts so thoroughly that it’s easy to pass off the entire unsettling phenomenon as one more made-for-TV-and-Twitter unreality show.

    NEW OUTRAGES DRIVE THE PREVIOUS ONES FROM OUR MINDS.

    IN RECENT DAYS, TWO QUESTIONS HAVE DOMINATED THE DISCUSSION:

    DID TRUMP ABUSE HIS PRESIDENTIAL POWER to boost his own political fortunes by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter?

    DID TRUMP OBSTRUCT CONGRESS by not cooperating with an impeachment inquiry?

    THESE TWO QUESTIONS HAVE SUCH ENORMOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR THE NATION THAT THEY MAY OVERSHADOW OTHER ALARMING ACTIONS AND TRAITS.

    Therefore, we must not disregard the many other actions that have led to the hollowing out of our institutions, the cheapening of our spirit, the undermining of our values.

    Faced with the challenge to unseat, indeed to repudiate, Trump and his pernicious program for America, it is essential not to forget the true damage he has done, continues to do, and threatens to continue to do.

    As Thomas Jefferson wrote in another context:

    “TO PROVE THIS, LET FACTS BE SUBMITTED TO A CANDID WORLD”.

    TRUMP has caused thousands of children to be interned in inhumane conditions, often for months, resulting in deaths, injuries and traumatic separations from families, and without access to even rudimentary schooling.

    TRUMP has insulted and alienated the nation’s friends and allies, rendering the democratic world leaderless.

    TRUMP flirted with repudiating NATO, a mutual defense commitment that has kept the planet free from worldwide war and destruction since the end of World War II, and has done so at a time when Russia has exhibited increasing aggression by occupying territory of neighboring Ukraine, interfering in elections in the United States and Europe, and sending assassins to Britain to poison a former Russian spy.

    TRUMP has cozied up to right-wing nationalist dictators and autocrats at a moment when citizens of faltering democracies and the many peoples around the world aspiring to freedom most need an advocate on the international stage.

    TRUMP has rejected the honorable American presidential tradition of seeking unity and instead has indulged in the politics of division, WILLFULLY ALIENATING A LARGE SEGMENT OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE WHILE AMONG HIS OWN SUPPORTERS DRUMMING UP HATRED FOR AND SUSPICION OF OTHERS.

    TRUMP has transformed the White House, which should promote policies based on reality, into THE WORLD CAPITAL OF IGNORANCE, DISHONESTY AND MISINFORMATION by reciting verifiable falsehoods, from the size of his inauguration crowd; to the direction of a hurricane; to denial of the proven prevalence of election fraud.

    TRUMP has been a particular antagonist to California, seeking to undermine this state’s forward-looking policies on auto emissions and environmental preservation, spreading falsehoods about the causes of its deadly wildfires, disparaging its rational and humane approach to immigration challenges, demeaning it for its struggles to deal with homelessness, AND OFFERING INSTEAD PURPORTED SOLUTIONS THAT ARE NONSENSICAL, CRUEL OR UNWORKABLE.

    TRUMP has denied the existential challenge of climate change and has promulgated policies that weaken the nation’s role in fighting it and scuttle the nation’s ability to take economic leadership in low-emission and carbon-capturing technology.

    TRUMP has made the United States unreliable, erratic and foolish in international affairs by disparaging its diplomatic corps, engaging in frequent and jarring changes in foreign affairs and defense advisors and repudiating international allies and partners.

    TRUMP has cheapened his office, instilled distrust in essential institutions of justice and democracy and replaced knowledge and professionalism with ignorance and amateurism.

    TRUMP has made light of verified Russian assaults on U.S. elections, and at the notorious and shameful Helsinki news conference he said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own nation’s intelligence agencies.

    TRUMP failed to elicit from the Russian leader an apology for past intervention or a promise NOT to intervene in other elections. In so doing, he invited further, more comprehensive attacks — AND FAILED IN THE MOST BASIC DUTY OF ANY U.S. PRESIDENT, WHICH IS TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE UNITED STATES.

    TRUMP has reduced or eliminated independent science advisory panels in a quest to remove fact from policymaking when it collides with damaging policies he wishes to pursue.

    TRUMP HAS DEMEANED THE PRESIDENCY WITH INDECENT, FOUL, ANGRY LANGUAGE hurled at his political adversaries, replacing fireside chats and presidential addresses with cable-TV-fueled, stream-of-consciousness tweets that attack his critics and stoke fear and outrage in his supporters.

    TRUMP has undercut the nation’s moral standing by his shrugging response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi operatives.

    TRUMP has sullied the office of the presidency by using it to express his personal contempt for people he does not like or who do not support him.

    THE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE MAY BE HIS TREATMENT OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, A MUCH-DECORATED FORMER VIETNAM WAR PRISONER WHOSE HONOR TRUMP QUESTIONED EVEN AFTER MCCAIN’S PASSING.

    TRUMP HAS APPEALED TO THE BASEST PART OF OUR CULTURE, LIFTING INTO THE MAINSTREAM CHORDS AND CURRENTS OF RACISM THAT HAD LONG BEEN LEFT TO FESTER IN ONLY OUR DARKEST CORNERS.

    TRUMP commented on the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., with an equivocating speech that shrank from condemning violent racism and promoted false equivalency among demonstrators for and against white supremacy.

    TRUMP put in place a program to deny visas to visitors from majority Muslim nations.

    TRUMP disparaged Latinos; called Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries”; and expressed his preference for immigrants from Norway.

    TRUMP promoted the notion that one’s American-ness is a function of descent and not birth or naturalization, by saying U.S.-born members of Congress should “go back” to the countries “from which they came”.

    TRUMP has issued statements that in the aggregate define an America united not by law, the Constitution, liberty or justice BUT BY RACIAL HERITAGE.

    More than any president in living memory, Trump has cheapened his office, instilled distrust in essential institutions of justice and democracy and replaced knowledge and professionalism with IGNORANCE and AMATEURISM.

    THIS PARTIAL LIST REPRESENTS A MERE SLICE OF WHAT MAKES DONALD TRUMP UNACCEPTABLE AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND WHAT MAKES IT OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT AMERICANS OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES AND POSITIONS REJECT AND REPLACE HIM IN 2020.

  • IAN  On December 31, 2019 at 12:37 am

    YEP, YOU ARE DEFINITELY ONE OF THEM, LIBERAL, SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST IDIOTS. YOU JUST SPENT A LOT OF TIME MAKING UP A BIG LIST OF NOTHING THAT MAKES SENSE AND NOTHING THAT DESCRIBES TRUMP. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT THE US IS SUFFERING FROM.
    CLYDE, OTHER THAN WRITING CRAP, YOU PROBABLY NEVER WORKED A DAY IN YOUR LIFE.

    • Emanuel  On December 31, 2019 at 5:41 am

      Rest assured that the Idiot will be booted in 2020. If not, Americans have gone completely mad, victims of gaslighting.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 31, 2019 at 5:21 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm

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