Sunday, May 20, 2018

Trump: the economic unpopulist demagogue.

From the Cambridge English Dictionary:  “Political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want.” Trump is a master of  cultural populism and  he is a skilled demagogue. Merriam Webster defines a demagogue as  "a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power". ,

 There are different  kinds of populism: one is  cultural and the other is economic.  Donald Trump is an  economic unpopulist in spite his  promises made in  demagogic tones with false claims.  When it comes to ordinary people living on a budget, pocket book issues  he has failed to deliver some  promised goods and worse, hurt them.They may think the economy is OK now, but they are beginning to understand, instead of improving their lot, wages have not increased much,  the  tax cut promise was mostly hot air,  and health  care costs are  already  the top of voter concerns, registering  in polls above any other major issues.

When it comes to false claims, Trump makes so many of them, the list compiled by Pulitzer Prize winning  Fact Checker, has pages devoted to it at. 

Give Trump credit. He is a  bonafide cultural populist and a demagogue that makes use of popular prejudices.  He certainly has given his heavily  white, male  and evangelical Christian base what they wanted to hear about people of color or “others” or  turning back   policies of  cultural liberals.  Painting unauthorized immigrants in  broad derogatory  brushes with “ Mexicans are rapists and criminals”and  “animals”, “build the wall”,  are  chants guaranteed to get roars from his crowd  and echos  from his one-sided media outlets echoing and unquestioning  his hateful speech.  His evangelical Christian base cheers planned executive orders denying federal funding to clinics referring patients to abortion providers and reducing   women’s  access  and funding  for  affordable STD and cancer screenings,  and contraception.  He has stonewalled any attempt to reduce active shooter carnage to the delight of 2nd amendment absolutists.He is nominating judicial  appointees  that would reduce  women’s  access  to  affordable  safe, legal  abortion services.  

Economic populism is another story.   Most Americans  are  feeling little increase  or  none at all in their take home pay. Some  realize the real winners were the already rich.   The trend to full employment long in the making before he arrived on the scene may be realized, but wage increases are anemic. Threats of increasing some tariffs  to help the rust belt have already backfired on agriculture heartland’s exports, forcing reconsideration. . Economic growth  rate has been behind the record of his predecessors who had  also dealt with major downturns.  
 While Trump claims he "giveth" to the middle class, Trump also "taketh away". Trump’s support of GOP efforts to  repeal and replace Obamacare  with better insurance not only failed ,he  has  succeeded in only  making it  more expensive or near useless . In the name of consumer choice, Trump signed laws that  eliminated  the individual mandate, resulting in leaving the expensive to treat, ill and older people,  paying  into  the insurance pool . Alternative coverage newly permitted  risks financial ruin  with their  high deductibles, and limited or   no benefits to cover maternity, mental health, preexisting conditions, or catastrophic medical bill coverage.. The numbers covered by health insurance decreased by 3.2 million in one year and projections are that eventually 13 million will lose coverage.

  Trump’s department of education has made it more difficult to get  more student loan forgiveness.   The agency charged with handling  complaints about financial services, mortgage lenders, and banks , and acting on their abuses  is being run by a director hostile to its mission of protecting consumers, curtailing public reports and starving it.. The Environmental Protection Agency has become the Environmental Destruction Agency, promoting dirtier air and polluted water,  making it  easier for  mining waste dumping in streams and  rolling back automobile clean air standards. 

 The cultural populists did not ask for this, but this hit to everyone’s pocket books,  less consumer/environmental  protection ,  poorer health  and more expensive insurance,  is what we all get  in return.

 In a poll by Politico and Morning Consult, just 25 percent of registered voters said they’d noticed their take-home pay increase as a result of the legislation. Another 51 percent said they hadn’t noticed a pay bump, and another 24 percent said they didn’t know or weren’t sure.

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