Who Trump Helps Is Key
07 December 2016 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
The key is to watch what Trump does for the bulk of Americans -- those in the lower 3/4 of the middle class and the top 1/3 of the lower class -- that is where the population bulk is, contrary to what most understand. They largely elected Trump and have strong expectations, whether he realizes it or not. So do those in sympathy with them in the higher classes. All watch. Fattening the fat cats with more "trickle up" and stock market and profit booms just won't cut it. All watch.
To be sure the analogy of a rising tide lifts all boats can -- but not necessarily does -- have some application. Incomes and wealth in the top 10% have risen markedly since 1995, but the target group of the bulk of Americans I identify have lost wealth and seen very little real income growth. More of that won't do, but that is the prospect if taxes are lowered again, profits rise and the stock and bond market boom. Much more is required and I am not sure if Trump, as a member of the top 1%, really understands that. The jury is out and will be for a while.
A labor intensive, long term and large infrastructure rebuilding program could help the target group I identify very considerably, but many argue it will be distorted and warped by congress into high end pork fed to political constituents and large fat cat donors and help only those in the top 15%. That could well happen. Monied predators await Trump's every turn. Doing anything to help the target group will be hard.
Repealing Obamacare without a good replacement won't help. Neither will a wall along the Mexican border or kicking all the Muslims out or into oblivion. Neither will disassembling the safety net and feeding its pieces to the Wall Street wolves. What to do and how to help the target class is going to be very hard with so many predators in the wings working to distort programs and take advantage.
It is the case that Trump is being pitted against his own socioeconomic and wealth class, but he has always felt he was treated as an outlier, nuevo riche undesirable by that group so how that aspect is to turn out is unclear. He is now on the in, to be sure, but remembers all the snubbing quite well and has his enemies list.
Trump's task is formidable. Much is not clear about how he can and should proceed. Congress remains a big question mark, but it might, in and with a well intentioned Trump, could find a way to reform and reshape itself toward a better more inclusive institution, whether the oligarchy funding its members fully approves of that or not.
We are going to have to wait and see. He does have Bannon -- a very top and smart strategist -- to help him, although it is not clear what Bannon's own agenda, if any, is. Time will tell us much on all these questions.