“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
– Thomas Jefferson
There is bizarre contradiction to Donald J. Trump that many people have ignored. Much of his success comes from working class support, yet Trump is proposing policies that amount to a war on the working class.
The most destructive of these policies is the 45% tariff that Trump has threatened to place on Chinese made goods – if the People’s Republic does not meet his demands. This policy would fall hardest on working class Americans who depend heavily on low cost Chinese imports to maintain their lifestyles.
How Donald’s Tariff will hurt the Working Class
I recently purchased a pair of boots from Zappos for $89; with the Trump tariff those boots would have cost $129.05 or $40.05 more. That might not sound like much to Donald; but to the average construction worker it’s a couple of days’ worth of groceries.
Or take another popular Chinese made device; a smartphone such as an Apple iPhone 6s which sells for $549.99 at Verizon. Under the Trump Tariff it would cost $797.49. That’s a lot of money to a working stiff; such as an Uber driver, who needs a smartphone to put food on the table.
This policy which is designed to help the working class by restoring factory jobs would hurt them. Donald’s theory is that factory jobs would return if prices on imports are raised. There’s no guarantee that would occur because it might be cheaper to keep the jobs in China and pay the extra tariff; or switch to automated production in the USA.
Even if factory jobs would come back it would probably take several years to build the new factories. Most of the factories in the rust belt were abandoned or torn down years ago, so production cannot be restored at the flip of a switch as Donald seems to think.
What are working families supposed to do until they go into operation? Stand in line at the food bank?
Financing Government and the Rich on the backs of the Working Class
To add insult to injury Trump wants to shift the tax burden to the working class. He’s proposed lower income taxes for individuals and business in other words the rich and upper class.
Those plans – if enacted – would cut tax revenues by $6 to $7 trillion, CNN Money reported. Some of that would be made up by the tariff penalties Trump wants to impose on some imported goods, including a 10% tariff on all imports. That would effectively be a 10% federal sales tax that everybody; including those who don’t pay the income tax would pay.
That as my brother; who is an economics major, pointed out would shift the tax burden to the working class. Trump is proposing a new tax system where sales taxes fund the federal government with the working class’s money. If that is not class warfare, I do not know what is.
Okay there’s no guarantee any of Trump’s policies will get through Congress but it is worth thinking about. The sorry truth is that a successful Trump presidency would be a disaster for the very working class people that elected him.
How Hillary Clinton Enabled Trump’s War on the Working Class
The people we should blame most for this terrible situation are Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisors. Had Clinton made Trump’s tariff the centerpiece of her campaign she would be President elect right now.
All it would have taken would have been a flood of TV ads talking about “Billionaire Donald’s 45% tax increase” to have sunk Trump’s campaign. If such ads had been accompanied by lots of TV interviews with Hillary surrogates; like Bill Clinton and Mark Cuban, warning the public about the 45% Trump tax increase it would have worked.
Such a strategy would have been doubly effective had Hillary “leaked” Trump’s tax return to the media in July or August. She undoubtedly had that document which shows Trump has not paid income taxes for nearly 20 years. Yet it remained under lock and key until October. Why? Donald had no compulsion of leaking her emails.
Why Hillary did not go this route is beyond me; perhaps she and her advisors are simply so divorced from working class reality they could not see what was happening. They were not the only ones, what about all the billionaires whose businesses might be harmed by Trump’s tariffs such as the Koch brothers and Jeff Bezos of Amazon? They could have easily paid for their own advertisements warning the public of the 45% Trump tax.
Only the Left will benefit from the New Class Warfare
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
― Warren Buffett
The only real winners from Trump’s war on the working class will be the Left. Once workers realize that Donald is stabbing them in the back they will turn away him and to the Left.
The winners here will not be Hillary and the Democratic establishment. Instead the workers will go for the hard left and whatever celebrity candidate it can field (such as Mark Cuban).
There is already circumstantial evidence of the Left’s popularity out there. The New York Times reported that working class African Americans were writing in US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont); a self-proclaimed socialist, for president rather than voting for Hillary.
Whether Trump’s war on the working class is intentional is hard to say. What is clear that it has the potential to do a lot of damage; particularly if Donald keeps up his cynical use of racism and xenophobia to turn workers against each other?
Something else is clear this modern day class warfare is going to be a big part of American politics for a long time to come whether we want it or not. Therefore we had better get used to it.