Recognized economists, writing on the subject of the anticipated Trump presidency, predict a “short” four-year term that will be damaging to jobless and low-wage American workers. It is now predicted that the nation’s big corporations and Wall Street will retain the upper hand over struggling workers who helped to elect him in what’s recognized as a populist wave.
For the purpose of clarity, let’s spend a moment looking at the definition of populism. It is a political ideology that holds that virtuous citizens are mistreated by a circle of elites who can be overthrown if the people recognize the danger and work together. Populism depicts elites as trampling the rights, values and voice of the “legitimate” people.
No sober person of economic understanding sees it likely or even plausible that Trump’s plan to repatriate huge corporate profits to the U.S. for infrastructure spending will succeed. In fact, what we know of the sketchy and abbreviated ideas from Trump during the many months he ran for the highest office, we can expect a continuation of the status quo, remaining pretty much the same or with little noticeable change. Economists of considerable reputation on prospects for changes to unemployment and joblessness numbers are amazed at the willingness of the American voters for what they have done to themselves.
Global populism may be the wave of the future but it has taken a turn in America that will only end in more disappointments and disillusions among those who voted for Trump in hope of seeing factories and jobs return to the midwest industrial states and most everywhere else in the U.S. Those with insight also believe that even American investors inside the country will proceed with extreme caution, understanding that higher deficits, resulting from the lower taxes Trump has promised, will raise interest rates and inflation and result in lower earnings and fewer job opportunities.
Trump made rash promises by the dozens. He’s already said he’ll settle for a fence in some places with the border with Mexico, instead of a wall. He’ll only deport criminal immigrants. He’ll gut the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), he said, but now says some provisions will stay. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. but proceeded immediately after his election to choose entrenched lobbyists, one of America’s most notorious bigots and a racist, and mainly members of his own family, especially his young son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father and mentor was convicted of crimes and spent years in prison. Then, too, full court nepotism and conflict-of-interest will prevail as Kushner runs the White House while his wife, Ivanka, Donald’s daughter, runs the Trump business empire.
Based on what’s known about Donald J. Trump to date, prospects on him further dividing our country appear highly certain. He could surprise us by positive moves that settle the dust storm currently airborne. But he remains to date a self-centered individual whose ego must be stroked constantly, his coffers must fill over with no end to the greed, while family and friends being loyal to him is more important than the welfare and very survival of our nation.
(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)