The Simpson’s had an episode where Lisa Simpson was the President of the United States. In this episode she stated she had to fix the economy due to the fact that President Donald Trump had made a mess of things. At the time the idea of a President Donald Trump was a joke. Now in 2016 Donald Trump is the President elect. There has been a lot written about this election and the victory of President Trump. Some of the commentary has been personal. I don’t think this personalised commentary helps us in understanding what is happening in the United States. Historical movements and political decisions have made the possibility of a Trump Presidency a reality.
After the Wall Street Crash of 1929 the democratic world decided slowly to change economic policy. The New Deal of FDR showed the democratic world that governments have a role to play in producing an economy that benefits the majority of the people. After the 2nd World War major democratic governments made this new consensus into practical policy. Workers sought to improve their lives and join the middle class. Farmers income was secured, the family farm was protected. Businesses expanded and grew especially small and new businesses. The middle class nece stronger during this era. Some people called this era a golden age. It wasn’t perfect but it gave society stability, hope and growth.
Beginning in the 1970s this consensus was challenged. These new policy makers and their political allies like Reagan and Thatcher wanted to reduce the welfare state and the role of government in the economy. State protection of industries linked to the military wasn’t mentioned. Instead of welfare to the poor we had welfare to the rich.
This new neo liberal era was supposed to free the markets from the government. It was supposed to allow individuals the freedom to set up businesses. It was supposed to increase freedom and the middle class. The crash of international financial markets in 2008 put a question mark over neo liberalism.
Under our new economic era banks had a too dominant position in the economy. Speculation became a more important economic activity than investing in business for the banks. The middle class got smaller. Wealth moved up to a small and powerful elite. An increasing number of voters are angry and they want change. Extremist politics has become attractive to an increasing number of voters. I read somewhere that some former Obama supporters voted for Trump. They thought that nothing has changed. They are looking for alternatives. Senator Sanders popularity is due to this desire for change.
Will President Trump change the United States for the better or the worse? Will he break his promises and do nothing in the White House? Only time will tell how this story will turn out. If the voters are disappointed with Trump they will look elsewhere for a solution to their problems. It seems to me that the mood music of the FDR era was hope but the mood music today is anger. Whatever your views of this Presidential election it is important to look at the facts honestly if you want to find a solution to the present situation.