Sunday, December 8, 2019

In Trump We Trust

Trump's sole asset is his ability to galvanize anger within his loyal mob. He has taken a page from some of the worst authoritarian dictators in world history. He takes that useful hatred and uses it to serve his own political purposes. It's his political currency. And the reason why his own party won't turn against him. Yet. 

Beyond rage and hate, there is nothing else Trump has going for him. His entire policy platform is incoherent and erratic at best. Extraordinarily destructive at worst. He has somehow convinced his base that America's constitutional norms and institutions are now the enemy of the nation. This abiding "deep state" bullshit propagated incessantly by paranoid nutjobs. Democracy only matters when their party is out of power. As soon as they gain power they want to tear it down behind them and create an authoritarian dictatorship. It's a Third World strategy.

His entire economic strategy is now based on borrowed and printed money. He deregulated Wall Street again which is a disaster waiting to happen. Eliminated the Fiduciary Rule ensuring that financial advisors no longer have to consider client best interest. He de-regulated the energy industry which is now borrowing itself into oblivion. If these companies can't make money now amid record production, imagine what happens when the price of oil collapses. He created an intractable trade war now pushing the entire planet into recession. He squandered the fiscal and monetary safety net to bolster his chances for re-election. There is no safety net anymore. 1.5% on the Fed Funds rate. That's it. Meanwhile, what happens to the U.S. budget deficit in the next recession is unthinkable. And of course he created human history's largest asset bubble. And in the process of all that somehow he generated record economic optimism within his own party. In other words, this was all just the latest rendition of Supply Side Economics, this time with a populist twist. The exact same useful idiots voting against their own economic interests for forty years straight. 

The damage to America's global reputation is incalculable. Now the butt of jokes on the international stage. Arguably inevitable, given the recent track record for military blunders and support for miscreant dictators. Trump took his ball home early from the NATO summit this week when he found out he was being laughed at by everyone. How can that be news to him? He was laughed at last year at the UN when he claimed to be the most accomplished leader in U.S. history. 

America's political class allowed this to happen by ignoring the fundamental economic inequalities that have grown inexorably over time. The labor share of the economy now collapsed down to a record low, while we are told constantly the job market has never been better. Fucking liars. When Hillary Clinton stated stridently "America is great already", she gave away the election. Threw the door wide open to a demagogue. There is always a grain of truth that Trump capitalizes on when he whips his base into a frenzy. Immigration policy IS a disaster. One intended primarily to ensure a steady flow of cheap labor to bolster corporate profit. Likewise, free trade policy has been a disaster as well. To the sole benefit of corporate profit, and the independently wealthy "consumer". An inequality that his policies have not even the slightest intention of fixing. He merely used trade anxiety to start a hegemonic war with China. One that has nothing to do with jobs and middle class well-being. 

In other words, he is constantly using his base to back his ulterior motives. Does he care about farmers now getting obliterated. No. Does he care about the middle class, when they are not attending his rallies? Of course not. He can't even remotely identify with being middle class. 

America's Evangelicals have bet their souls backing this man, on the basis of his "morality". Unbelievable. "Morality" scapegoating innocent people merely to serve an underlying political agenda intended to further enrich the wealthiest people in the country. A man who desecrates the planet with wild abandon. The least moral president in U.S. history is somehow their "chosen one", sent to redeem them from the mistakes they've backed their entire lives. By unleashing the forces of greed and profligacy once again, this time on a scale never before imagined.  

Make no mistake, this IS a biblical moment indeed. The lesson they are going to learn the hard way is that you can't be saved by rage and hate.