NYT columnist David Brooks breathlessly opined that the election of Trump represents "victory for white supremacy ... for misogyny, nativism and authoritarianism. Fascism is descending."
It's true that some Trump supporters fit the description, but then again, some on the left are equally dangerous, with a good example being Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher, a self-admitted communist who tweeted that he wanted a "white genocide" for Christmas.
Trump has a few really dumb beliefs, with the best one being that vaccines cause autism. They don't, by the way, but since autism is diagnosed around the same time children first start receiving vaccines, some science-challenged people confuse cause and effect.
Trump followers do believe in the fairy tale that tax cuts create jobs even though the WSJ demolished that myth with its pre-Obama research that Bush II had the worst job creation record of any president since WWII. If tax cuts possessed the magical powers Republicans assert, Bush II's job creation record would be no worse than average, even taking into account the 2008 crash. Add to that the fact that Clinton's job creation record trounced that of the supply-side economics Reagan.
Brooks went on to say that he wants a third political party to arise, a "compassionate globalist party [that] would support the free trade and skilled immigration that fuel growth. But it would also flood the zone for those challenged in the high-skill global economy -- offering programs to rebuild community, foster economic security and boost mobility. It would integrate the white working class and minority groups by emphasizing that we are all part of a single American idea."
So much horse manure, so little time.
Many people voted for Trump because he promised to eliminate the H-1B visa loophole and prevent companies from outsourcing their jobs to foreign lands. Many disaffected groups, not just white blue collar workers, liked what Trump was promising them.
As for free trade, Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post noted: "Two out of three displaced manufacturing workers who got new jobs between 2009 and 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, experienced wage reductions -- most of them greater than 20 percent."
In years gone by, laid-off factory workers would simply need to find a new employer, but most jobs being created today are low-paid, part-time ones with no benefits. U6, the best indication of unemployment because it takes into account people who have only been able to find part-time work, currently stands at 9.2%. Obama tweeted that his eight years saw "the longest streak of job growth in our history," proving that he does not appreciate the difference between part-time and full-time employment.
In June 2014, the number of people who worked part-time jumped by just under 800,000. And to compensate, the number of people employed full-time dropped by 523,000. This probably did not happen in one month and points to a lag in data reporting, but it does fairly scream that full-time jobs are not being created.
And while millions of Americans are unable to find full-time work, immigration has held steady at around one million per year since 2001, with the only blip in the data occurring due to 9/11. Since 1980, the number of legal immigrants never dropped below 524,295 per year.
Brooks played his best disingenuous card with his mention of skilled immigration. He echoed others, especially Senator Marco Rubio, charter member of the Gang of Eight, who said regarding his many efforts to drastically increase the number of foreigners arriving via H-1B visas: "The smartest, hardest-working, most talented people on this planet, we should want them to come here. I, for one, have no fear that this country is going to be overrun by PhDs."
In truth, H-1B visas are mainly used for people with only a B.S. degree and often not from the best schools. The top-ten users of H-1B visas are all offshore outsourcing firms. The H-1B visa was dubbed the "Outsourcing Visa" by the former Commerce Minister of India, Kamal Nath.
The number of H-1B visas used for those with only a B.S. degree is capped at 65,000 new visas per year, though there are a number of loopholes to allow a larger number. But the game that Rubio, Brooks, and others play revolves around the other category, the 20,000 reserved for advanced degree-holders, i.e. those with an M.S. or PhD. These people do indeed play a significant role in the technology sector, but it's funny how H-1B visa groupies never offer to eliminate the ones used solely for corporate welfare.
In 2012, Jennifer Wedel famously chastised Barack Obama: "My husband has an engineering degree with over ten years of experience. Why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?"
"We should get his resume and I will forward it to some of these companies, " Obama replied, though her husband's resume garnered no attention because of the actual reason he was unemployed: foreigners are paid much less and forced to work very long hours.
Instead of importing ersatz indentured servants, we should mandate that companies train Americans with similar skills. We also need to insert a stake in the heart of the myth that companies are required to look for Americans before hiring foreigners, because it's simply not true.
And Brooks' idea that people will give back to the community could only survive at the NYT. As more and more people are shoved into the gig economy, retail, or other parts of the service economy, the salaries of oligarchs rise ever higher, with some examples being:
- Jack "neutron Jack" Welch retired from GE with a $420 million golden parachute after outsourcing well over 100,000 jobs, essentially transferring their salaries to him.
- Carly Fiorina was forced out of HP after almost destroying the company, but she still walked away with a comparatively paltry $40 million golden parachute to which she believed she had a "God-given right."
- Gregg Steinhafel left Target with a $61 million golden parachute after presiding over one of the largest cyber-breaches in history.
- Bob Nardelli departed Home Depot carrying a $210 million golden parachute, with Home Depot suffering an even greater cyber-breach, though it occurred seven years after Nardelli's departure.
- Google, now Alphabet, CEO Eric Schmidt was given a $106 million bonus.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook received a $135 million bonus, with Apple paying only a 2% corporate tax rate when 35% is the norm.
- Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, founders of Uber, are on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List.
None of these people are using their personal largesse to improve life for the unwashed.
Alibaba's Jack Ma told Trump that a million new U.S. jobs would be created if Alibaba were to be allowed to do business in the U.S., with garments, fruits, and wines allegedly being some of the items that Chinese consumers would buy. Not surprisingly, Ma didn't commit to hiring Americans. He should have been asked to explain how U.S. garments could be sold in China when the vast majority of them are already made there. Ma would like the U.S. market to be opened so he can sell counterfeit goods as he has done with Taobao, on the U.S. Trade Representative's list of "notorious markets" which enable "substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting." Trump condemned the TPP which would have opened U.S. markets to much of the world, though he incorrectly thought it included China, yet his comment after warmly greeting a world-class con artist was, "Jack and I are going to do some great things." Brooks and Trump appear to be in lockstep here.
Trump's role model is Reagan, not Teddy Roosevelt, so unfortunately we won't be seeing anti-trust suits against Amazon, Walmart, Google, and other monopolies. Democrats not only shot themselves in the foot by actively favoring HRC over Bernie Sanders, they shot the entire country. After the Gilded Age ended, the Progressive Era began, with Upton Sinclair's The Jungle being only one ray of hope for ordinary Americans. Teddy Roosevelt broke-up Standard Oil, the "Beef Trust," J.P Morgan's Northern Securities Corporation, and other monopolies. Trump, on the other hand, invited the head of J.P. Morgan Chase to join his administration, not to mention hiring people with Goldman Sachs experience as Clinton, Bush II, and Obama did before him. Obama was so friendly to Wall Street that he eschewed any prosecutions for the 2008 crash and pandered to top bankers: "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."
Brooks needs to explain why Obama, who presided over a steady hollowing of the middle class, with income inequality reaching its highest point since 1928, isn't one of our most incompetent presidents. Not to mention that many Americans -- especially blacks -- describe race relations as generally bad.
Professor Moshe Vardi, professor of computational engineering at Rice University, believes that we will have 50% unemployment in 30 years due to robots taking many jobs.
"If we wait 25 years, we may find ourselves in a very difficult societal change. The Industrial Revolution brought about the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution, with a human cost of about 100 million lives. I hope we are wiser this time," he said.
Libertarians and other wannabe oligarchs would decry a system of universal basic income for the unemployed as Finland has implemented, but it would be safer than tens of millions of people with nothing to lose in a country with over 300 million firearms.
It should be obvious that the gutting of the American workforce is leading to social problems. The best example might be the Detroit-Flint corridor which used to be filled with employed auto workers, but now is the most dangerous corridor in the country. Employed people drive their children to sports games and create a prosperous and contented community, but unemployed people eventually reach a breaking point.
George Pullman was one of the oligarchs of the Gilded Age. Pullman, famous for the railroad cars which revolutionized the industry, created a company town on the south side of Chicago. He required workers to live there and dictated many moral aspects of their lives. Employees were paid in script, redeemable only at the company store, making it difficult to leave Pullman's employment. But in early 1894, a recession greatly affected business. Pullman reduced wages, but not rents, making it impossible for his employees to make ends meet. The Pullman Strike ensued. A national commission found Pullman's company town to be "un-American," with the Illinois Supreme Court forcing its divestiture in 1898, though Pullman did not live to see it. He died in 1897 and was buried in a lead-lined coffin under tons of steel-reinforced concrete because his family feared that employees or former ones would desecrate his corpse.
Brooks ended by saying that "the future is closer than you think."
Yeah, Gilded Age 2.0.