Capitalism’s Last Gasp
The Trump Presidency is the final nail in the coffin
When we look back at the 2016 election and subsequently, the Trump administration, we will remember it as the beginning of the end to pure capitalism in the United States. Donald Trump has managed to pull the mask off the absurdity of capitalism here. He has also awakened the left in the process.
Thousands of articles have been written on the reasons Donald Trump was elected. And there are many answers to that question including that many voters who had nothing left to lose so they rolled the dice on Trump. They knew they were getting status quo with Hillary Clinton. She told them that America was already great. Imagine how that felt when you can barely pay your bills.
For decades, the United States has deregulated markets, destroyed unions, cut social spending, and cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Even the so-called left wing party, the Democrats, have done little to reverse this trend. There has been this belief that markets fix everything, apparently including climate change. And what we see now is stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, unaffordable education, unaffordable health insurance, crumbling infrastructure, and a planet on the brink of extinction.
Enter Donald Trump, the savior who was supposed to reverse all of this. He promised he would protect social security and Medicare. He called for a $1 Trillion plan to rebuild the infrastructure across the country. Although many people could see through his false promises, many desperate Americans took a chance on him.
Not surprisingly, Trump lied. Once a con-man, always a con-man. Instead of focusing on rebuilding the country, he and the Republican party decided to give the wealthy some of the largest tax cuts the country has ever witnessed. Now, the Republicans are calling for cutbacks to social programs to close the deficits they created with the tax cuts. It’s the classic Republican playbook. Infrastructure spending also hasn’t happened.
Trump has relied on identity politics to keep most of his base intact but that won’t work in the long-term. Americans care about being able to give their children a better life and live comfortably. They want to be able to see a doctor without going broke. They want to save money to buy a home.
Instead of investing in education, infrastructure, and in a universal health program, the U.S. made the decision that free markets would solve all of our issues.
Instead of saving America from it’s long demise, Trump’s tax cuts and mass deregulation is only speeding up the end of capitalism in America. People are waking up. An internal GOP memo revealed that voters believe the tax bill went to help the wealthy and not the middle class by a margin of 2-to-1. At the same time, socialism is gaining so much steam within the country that the White House released a 72-page document about the risks of Socialism. Scared much?
And they should be a little frightened. Medicare For All has support across the political spectrum now, a policy pushed hardest by Democratic Socialists. Congress will now be filled with at least three Democratic Socialists after the midterms and Bernie Sanders remains a favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2020.
The neoliberal approach over the last four decades has led to massive income and wealth inequality. Instead of investing in education, infrastructure, and in a universal health program, the U.S. made the decision that free markets would solve all of our issues. If we just cut taxes for giant corporations and the wealthy, we will see a prosperous economy and workers would join in the success. The opposite has happened. Workers haven’t seen any of these benefits. Instead, unions have been decimated. Wages haven’t grown at all.
In a shocking report, it was discovered that over 50% of wage-earners make less than $30,000 a year. If you made just $15,000, you made more money than 30% of Americans. At the same time, Americans hold a massive amount of debt. Total U.S household debt is now over $13 Trillion.
These trends can’t last forever. The economy collapsed in 2008 and it will happen again because the underlying problem of unregulated capitalism has not been addressed. Consumers, with their stagnant wages will continue to borrow until they can’t afford the payments. Then, once the lending stops, demand drops, and then we see layoffs. The cycle begins.
Corporations are aware this is coming. They are using all of the savings from the tax cuts to purchase their stock back. Stock buybacks are at record levels and the salaries of top executives are tied to the stock price. They know how the game is played. They realize that corporate and personal debt are reaching unsustainable levels so instead of re-investing this money, they have made the decision to cash-in while there is still time.
When Capitalism collapses(again), Trump will be booted from office. And this may be our last opportunity to truly reform our economy. We must pass Medicare for All. We must rebuild our country’s infrastructure. We must raise taxes on the wealthy. We must pass free public college. We must pass a student loan forgiveness program. We must change the rules of corporations to get workers on the boards. We must pass laws to strengthen union protections. We must enforce anti-trust laws and break up large banks and tech companies. We need a Green New Deal.
It’s time to give up on the free market philosophy that has done nothing but brought us large inequalities, inadequate health care, rising homelessness, and unaffordable basic needs.