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Related Categories: U.S. | Police State & Prisons
"It's the economy stupid!"
by Detlef Umbach and Karin Lohmeyer
Wednesday Apr 8th, 2020 9:54 AM
US unemployment at the start of April 2020 is higher than at the peak of the 1929 Great Depression. Trump is to blame for the botched response to the Coronavirus that he initially called a hoax. To generate economic activity, he recently proposed raising CEO deductions for entertainment and restaurant bills. We face a collapse of the GDP, consumption, investments and tax revenues.
“It’s the economy stupid!”

The economy becomes the crucial moment for the 2020 US Presidential Election

By Detlef Umbach

[This article published on August 2, 2019 is translated abridged from the German on the Internet, http://www.sozialismus.de.]


“For the American right-wing, Trump’s inauguration into office was… a moment of political rebirth.” [1] The rule of political correctness that Democrats and large parts of Republicans carried out for a long time seemed to end at last.

Under the banner of a brutal nationalism – “America first!” – sexism, hostility to foreigners and racism returned openly in national politics. The Republican Party turned into the Trump Party that will do everything to help Trump to victory.

The election campaign began with a new invocation of the “socialist danger.” Focusing hatred on the four female newcomers in the House of Representatives – Omar, Ocasia-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley –, Trump sought to slander democrats altogether as un-American socialists and America’s enemies. Very early on, Trump’s hate campaigns reached a new dimension. He demands that elected delegates of the House of Representatives lose their civil rights be cause of their convictions and be expelled from the US. “Send them back!” This is only the beginning.

Trump’s approval ratings in the population are stable at 42%. These ratings are a good indicator for Republican election chances. 42% is only 4% less than were enough for the 2016 victory. The whole election campaign will turn on a few percent more or less for Trump. The Democrats cannot rely on a stronger voter potential. In the November 2018 elections, the two parties were nearly equal in mobilizing their followers.

The Democrats have strong majorities in states with large metropolitan regions… [2] The Democrats must win back one region, the Rust-Belt states. That was crucial in the last election: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio [3]. In these states, the share of whites without college degrees is very high. The problem here is winning back Trump voters for the Democrats. That succeeded in part in the 2018 elections. Trump’s weakness was not having any solution in the realm of health insurance. The failed attempts at abolishing Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the continued financial sabotage of the existing legal regulations have made health insurance into a bristling theme in the population.

Trump is a peculiar president. He is not a usual politician from whom voters quickly turn away in recessions, scandals or breakdowns. Trump is the leading figure of a movement. His supporters follow him unperturbed. This close relation between the leading figure and his supporters was first clear after the “pussy-grabbing scandal” hardly had any effect in the 2016 election campaign. A politician who made public the sexist conviction he could grab the genitals of any woman would normally have been “finished.”

But Trump won the election. Putting children of illegal immigrants in cages is a scandal with a similar gravity. These children suffer under separation from their parents and are kept in “child-prisons.” Child-prisons are a white-washing or glossing over of the shameful reality. This scandal continued for months without having any effects on the approval rating of the president.

Whites without college degrees have been strongly affected by the negative changes on the labor market in the last decades and since the worldwide economic crisis. A long process of decline caused by the worsening of vocational possibilities for persons with little education made life increasingly hard for the less educated in their marriages, in life and with the chances of their children and not only with their occupational possibilities. [4] For whites without a college degree, “the American dream” of achieving a good living standard through hard work is increasingly threatened. On the other hand, a college degree is increasingly the “key” for social ascent and protection of the living standard.

After ten years of upswing, there are also higher wages and more chances on the labor market for whites without college degrees. This gives them the impression that Trump did something for them. Parts of Trump’s following even interpret the “trade war” with China that the president is going all out for their jobs. [5] Trump spreads the nostalgic hope that he ensures industrial jobs with good wages will come back.

Actually Trump does nothing to improve the future chances of wage-earners without college degrees. He doesn’t have either a notion of industrial policy or advanced vocational training. The Democratic Party lacks a political answer…

President Trump lacks new life-giving themes. [6] He covers up the continued radicalization of his last great theme, hatred of foreigners and illegal immigration. The scandalous treatment of children of illegal immigrants fits in here. Children are shown the misanthropy and violence of Trump’s America to illegal immigrants. According to Gallup, Trump successfully made immigration the most important election campaign theme. [7]

Trump celebrates his successes with the slogan “Keep America Great!”: the good economy, the tax cuts and the deregulation of environmental-, health- and bank-conditions. In the Republican worldview, the good economy is the result of these “liberations” from taxes and annoying conditions. That the economy rests on the achievements of the Obama administration after the worldwide economic crisis is forgotten.

Trump’s tax reform catapulted corporate profits after taxes… State spending that must be financed through deficit spending has a stimulating effect on the economy. [8]

These are clear signs of an economic weakening: the inverse interest-structure, the disproportion between profits and investments in the business sector and the decline of mandated working hours. Whether more than an economic lull occurs is open. A slight recession already had far-reaching consequences for Trump’s election campaign. Hopes for the nostalgic return of American greatness could crumble. The number of voters would fall who would vote for Trump on account of the good economy while rejecting him as a person.

Through the budget compromise up to 2021 reached in Congress, Trump has no possibility of stabilizing a tottering economy through further deficit spending with an infrastructure package of $200 billion. The economy will be the determining moment for the 2020 election campaign. Trump’s chances for reelection rest on reviving the good economy.

[Translator’s note: US unemployment at the start of April 2020 is higher than at the peak of the 1929 Great Depression. Trump is to blame for the botched response to the Coronavirus that he initially called a hoax. To generate economic activity, he recently proposed raising CEO deductions for entertainment and restaurant bills. We face a collapse of the GDP, consumption, investments and tax revenues. Trump is unquestionably a con man, chronic liar, misanthrope, sexist, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, corrupt and incompetent. The real hoax is Trump’s commitment to America!]


The Breeding Ground for Social Tensions

Interview with Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer

[This interview published on August 1, 2019 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.nachdenkseiten.de. Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer is a spokesperson of the Initiative "European Housing for All". She works in Vienna and hopes to have a million signatures by March 2020.]


“The `free market’ will never supply large parts of the population with affordable housing.”… Persons in the middle class have problems finding affordable living space. “Housing,” the Austrian activist says, “is increasingly a problem and not a matter of course anymore. Impoverishment, misery and homelessness are growing.”

Ms. Zauner, affordable housing is in a terrible state in parts of Germany. What is the situation in other European countries?

The housing situation is dramatic in most EU-member states. Housing is nearly unaffordable in many metropolitan areas. Much too little is invested in social and public-interest oriented housing. Speculation on living space makes land and real estate prices explode. For years, housing costs have risen much faster than salaries. More and more people must leave the cities because they cannot afford the housing there. I speak of those workers whom we describe as the “middle of society” like police officers, firefighters, teachers and nurses, not low-income groups.

What mistakes were made by political decision-makers in the past regarding affordable housing?

The root of all evil lies in the prevailing neoliberal conviction that the unfettered market makes everything better. More than 700,000 public apartments were privatized in Germany since 1997. Reasonably-priced living space is lacking in cities today. This neoliberal market-gullibility increasingly leads to a European socio-political cul-de-sac with devastating consequences.

The Middle Class is Upended

Yes, the higher paid feel the development. Housing is increasingly a problem and is not a matter of course anymore. Impoverishment, misery and homelessness grow. This is the breeding ground for spreading social tensions – not to mention right-wing extremist developments.

Right-wing extremist groups develop explosively because they seek and find alleged scapegoats for the worsening living conditions. With the great 2008/ 2009 bank crash, the political decision-makers must recognize that unrestricted competition and maximum greed destroy our economies and societies. Just as a lion isn’t a vegetarian, the “free market” doesn’t worry about public welfare or public interest. The “free market” will never provide large parts of the population with affordable living space. It has not and will not do that. Quite the contrary, speculation with housing continuously forces us land- and property prices. In times of extremely low interests, the money flows very intensely to real estate since massive profits can be gained there. Global real estate companies, hedge funds and pension funds buy up whole parts of the city, raise the rents and people must pay or leave. Making money is central, not housing. Renters are only “annoyed” at this disruptive element. If prices climb, the property will be sold again like a share. Cities and all the people fall or come to grief…
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FootnotesMarcWednesday Apr 8th, 2020 3:40 PM
Without humility, there is no sense of wonder!DeepL.comWednesday Apr 8th, 2020 1:59 PM
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