For all his flaws, Trump makes some powerful points Ed Conway, Economics Editor

Donald Trump has already won this election. Sure, if the polls are to be believed, he may not be elected president tomorrow. But the phenomenon he represents isn't going away. It is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.

Whatever the result, politics - both in the US and elsewhere around the developed world - will surely have to change forever.

If that change does not come, we can only expect more disaffection, more chaos and more unhappiness in the years to come.

Why? In large part, because Mr Trump has a point.


  Donald Trump was nominated in spite of his well-established faults, in spite of the distaste so many Republicans have for him. It emphasises how powerful some of the points he is making are.
                                                           Ed Conway

He has a point that politics has become too dominated by vested interests, by lobbyists, by cynical, professional politicians.

He has a point that, for years, the spoils of economic growth have been shared too narrowly.

He has a point that many blue-collar workers have been treated unfairly; that they lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

He has a point that low interest rates and quantitative easing, or for that matter free trade, have benefited too few.

In many ways - his misogyny, his deceit, his bullying, his racism - Mr Trump is the most repulsive White House candidate in living memory.

But that rather underlines my point: he was nominated in spite of his well-established faults, in spite of the distaste so many Republicans have for him.

It emphasises how powerful some of the points he is making are.

Over the course of decades, politicians - on both sides of the Atlantic - have forgotten who they are supposed to represent. In truth this was more cock-up than conspiracy, more down to ignorance than intent.

They focused myopically on certain statistics - gross domestic product, employment rates, wealth levels - which painted the picture of a thriving economy.

They paid too little attention to what was going on beneath the surface - rising inequality, the prevalence of those reliant on food banks and in-work benefits, and the fact that those employment statistics tell you little about whether any given job is enough to pay the bills.

Helped in part by a myopic media and by a wider establishment which preferred to focus on the good news rather than the bad, they allowed the gaps between the privileged and the left-behind to widen.

They endorsed policies which only made the gulf wider: taxes on capital and land were diminished, while spending on benefits were trimmed.

They allowed their central banks to pump billions of dollars into asset prices, without giving much thought to the fact that this would only widen the gap.

They presided over a financial crisis of monumental proportions and then allowed those responsible - the central bankers, the regulators, the bankers - to get away with it scot-free.

They pushed ahead with free trade deals, on the basis that they would make everyone wealthier. They ignored the small print: that each country only gets wealthier in aggregate terms.

Some workers undoubtedly do worse as a result; some lose their jobs to cheap competition from China and Mexico.

Rather than spending billions attempting to reinvest in these workers, to soften the blow, our politicians spent years lecturing them, telling them to be grateful that the country as a whole was doing better, pointing at GDP charts.

Is it any wonder that so many in the US, and for that matter the UK, think globalisation has failed? That they blame their problems on immigration?

And yet, bien pensant politicians add insult to injury by accusing them of ignorance and racism.

When faced with a referendum over EU membership, or a presidential election, why should these millions of hard-working people pay any attention to the economists telling them they'll be poorer if they vote against the establishment?

Many of them already feel they've missed out. Many of them feel they have nothing to lose.

If globalisation is about to move into reverse, the politicians, and the establishment that supported them, only have themselves to blame.

I do not believe in conspiracy theories. But I do believe that a combination of ignorance (some of it wilful), laziness and cowardice from our leaders is largely responsible for the disaffection and division sweeping politics today.

Whoever wins tomorrow's election must recognise this and start the repair job.
Source: Skynews

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