Suddenly, Trump’s pitchforks and torches have disappeared

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP)

The stock market has done well since Donald J. Trump’s surprise election, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 8.6 percent between election day and this morning. As the Wall Street Journal helpfully points out, the stock of just one company, banking giant Goldman Sachs, is responsible for roughly a quarter of the Dow’s so-called “Trump bump.”

That might seem odd, because during the course of the campaign Trump had turned Goldman Sachs into a shorthand term for the international global conspiracy that he alleged was wrecking America, and that he promised to unravel. When he ranted that “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors,” he was referring in part to paid, off-the-record speeches by Clinton to Goldman Sachs. When he railed about a “global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities,” Goldman Sachs was his target.

“Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit; Flint, Michigan; and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and all across our country,” Trump railed during the campaign. “Take a look at what’s going on. They stripped away these towns bare. And raided the wealth for themselves and taken our jobs away out of our country never to return, unless I’m elected president.”

In fact, when Trump summarized his populist campaign pitch in the final ad of his campaign, the image that flashed on the screen as he complained about the elitists robbing the working class and stuffing their own pockets was that of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

A month later, Trump has nominated Steve Mnuchin, a former partner at Goldman and the son of a Goldman partner, to serve as Treasury secretary, overseeing the nation’s entire financial apparatus. As director of the National Economic Council, his top economics adviser, Trump has turned to Gary Cohn, the president and COO of Goldman. (According to Fortune, Cohn has made more than $50 million off the rise in Goldman stock just since election day. Blankfein has made almost $140 million since Nov. 8.)

Basically, Trump has handed control of the nation’s entire economic system to the very people whom he claimed were raiding it for their own self benefit. Goldman’s stock and that of other big banks is soaring in value — Bank of America is also up 30 percent, for example — because the smart money on Wall Street realizes what Main Street still does not, that Trump has no intention of keeping his promise to “drain the swamp.” They are betting that the swamp will do very nicely indeed.

What really makes that maddening is that at a very basic level, Trump was right. You can argue — and most economists do argue — that globalization, technology and free trade have produced a gain in net wealth both here in the United States and globally. But most economists would also agree that the net growth has come with a significant maldistribution problem. One group of people — Wall Street, banks, corporate executives, investors — has benefited disproportionately from that change, collecting enormous riches in the past 30 years; another group — largely working America — has been forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, with stagnant or declining incomes camouflaged in many households only by the entry of many more women into the workforce compared to 40 years ago.

That vastly increased wealth for those in the 1 percent cannot be explained by the fact that Wall Street or corporate executives are working so much harder or smarter now than their predecessors did a generation ago, and thus are morally deserving of a much bigger reward. The same is true for those on the lower end of the scale. Their fortunes have diverged dramatically from that of their parents and grandparents not because of laziness, but because the system in which they operate has changed. And what really makes them angry is the knowledge that it was changed in part with their own permission.

The unequal distribution of benefits and burden has not come as a surprise. It was anticipated from the beginning, and part of the bargain as we entered the era of free-trade agreements and the dismantlement of Depression-era banking rules such as Glass-Steagall was that those left behind would not be abandoned, that education and job training funding would increase and that the social safety net would be adjusted to account for a very different economy in which many would lose through no real fault of their own.

But that social compact was never honored. Instead, many of those who have benefited most from this new economy have embraced a “let them eat cake” attitude, born of the comforting notion that they have fully earned their riches while those struggling to stay above poverty have fully earned that fate as well. Any effort to recalibrate the system to better balance benefit and burden has been met with a howl of outrage, as if the current system had been written in stone and handed down as God handed the Ten Commandments down to Moses.

if you watch a Trump rally, it quickly becomes apparent that our president-elect has a salesman’s knack for knowing what his audience wants to hear, and a salesman’s shamelessness in reflecting it back to them, regardless of whether he means it. But wipe away the populist rhetoric and look at the people whom he is appointing and the policies that they advocate: Tax cuts for the wealthy, the dismantling of consumer, worker and environmental protections, the headlong pursuit of quick profit without regard for impact on living, breathing human beings.

None of it is new; none of it reflects a sudden realization among Republicans that working people deserve a bigger piece of the pie or better protection against a more randomly cruel economy. And certainly, none of it reflects an assault of any kind upon the economic elite. It’s a bait and switch. He promised his followers pitchforks and torches; he’s delivering pate de foie gras and Dom Perignon, but only for those who can afford it.

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854 comments
DerekGator
DerekGator

Jay fails to point out one of the biggest contributors to the unequal distribution of wealth: illegal immigration.  Illegal immigrants influence on labor costs have devalued the price of labor to the point where labor is a cheap commodity.  As long as you have a flood of illegals in the work force, companies will not have to compete for labor and will be able to continue to pay very little for labor.  Raising the minimum wage is a short term band aid that only creates inflation and leads to more automation, leaving low skill workers eventually worse off.  The only way to advance the plight of the worker is to have more demand for workers than available workers and removing illegal workers is the fastest way to achieve that goal.


BTW,  many workers are to blame for their situation, it amazes me that in 2017 over 20% of the workforce has failed to earn a high school diploma.  If you haven't even graduated from High School, you really can't complain about not making enough money. 

DerekGator
DerekGator

@quaterhorselady @DerekGator :  You fail to see that the workers have been harmed by illegal immigration.  The reason you are not making enough money is because the value of your labor has been lowered due to the abundance of cheap illegal labor.


Don't fool yourself, the middle class pays very little or nothing in taxes.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

@DerekGator Blinded by Putin's puppet's salesmanship, I see.  Your ire is misdirected.  Read Jay's column again.  He is exactly right.  I know.  I've watched the middle class disappear, since Reagan's election, when the word "profit" was added to healthcare and education.  I watched as taxes were lowered for the wealthy and added to those of us in the middle class.  I'm semi-retired now.  Unable to fully retire because, in spite of a job with a major corporation, the bubble bursting along with Sept 11, then 7 years later the recession, greatly lowered my IRA, dropping me out of the "middle" class, to a class that struggles to survive and keep a place to live.  If you kept up with the news you would know 20% high school graduation is considered good.  The problem is that instead of the workers getting paid for their hard work, the CEOs earn obscene salaries and drive out unions which make sure the workers get their due.  We are not fooled by your "workers are to blame for their situation".  YOU have no idea.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

I'll post this here anyways. The income gap was huge talking points for republicans. if the divide increases, then its just playing into the democrats hands.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Again, can't stress this enough.

Worth the time to read.


HERE’S THE PUBLIC EVIDENCE RUSSIA HACKED THE DNC – IT’S NOT ENOUGH

THERE ARE SOME good reasons to believe Russians had something to do with the breaches into email accounts belonging to members of the Democratic party, which proved varyingly embarrassing or disruptive for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. But “good” doesn’t necessarily mean good enough to indict Russia’s head of state for sabotaging our democracy.

There’s a lot of evidence from the attack on the table, mostly detailing how the hack was perpetrated, and possibly the language of the perpetrators. It certainly remains plausible that Russians hacked the DNC, and remains possible that Russia itself ordered it. But the refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim. There is strong evidence indicating that Democratic email accounts were breached via phishing messages, and that specific malware was spread across DNC computers. There’s even evidence that the attackers are the same group that’s been spotted attacking other targets in the past. But again: No one has actually proven that group is the Russian government (or works for it). This remains the enormous inductive leap that’s not been reckoned with, and Americans deserve better.

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

rimsky

I believe in Climate Change without hard evidence.  Same difference.

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No. See the case for climate change is based a comprehensive and systematic presentation of evidence, which can be reviewed and assessed in great detail.

Nothing of the sort has been done for the case for 'Russian intervention' in the US elections.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Donnie_Pinko  That was what I was thinking.  There are terabytes of data supporting climate change.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@honested @PaulinNH @Donnie_Pinko 

Well then, there will never be anything like a solid basis for drawing any conclusions whatsoever about any Russian 'intervention' or 'sabotage' of the election.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@YouLibs 

Have we established that Putin 'wanted Trump to win' with actual evidence? 

I don't think so.

Therefore, just wild speculation.

rimsky
rimsky

@Donnie_Pinko @YouLibs  Have we established that Putin 'wanted Trump to win' with actual evidence? 

I believe in Climate Change without hard evidence.  Same difference.

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

Source: Twitter cut out of Trump tech meeting over failed emoji deal 


Twitter was told it was "bounced" from Wednesday's meeting between tech executives and President-elect Donald Trump in retribution for refusing during the campaign to allow an emoji version of the hashtag #CrookedHillary, according to a source close to the situation.

Trump adviser Sean Spicer later denied the report, telling MSNBC that "the conference table was only so big."


http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/donald-trump-twitter-emoji-crooked-hillary-232647?utm_content=bufferf1b5e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

_____________

HAH!  if the three Trump kids had not been allowed to attend, there would have been plenty of room.


Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Another anonymous source, but MSM jumps on it as gospel because it's a Trump negative.

MSM = Fake Newz

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

With all the forecasting of coming economic meltdown, I'm wondering how many of you are selling stocks and real estate and putting everything into gold you can bury in the backyard?

honested
honested

@_GodlessHeathen_ 

That should work great. Especially when chump goes on teevee and incites the deplorables about what a danger the 'gold hoarders' are to the fatherland.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

My wedding band is gold. But I don't think wifey wants me to bury it.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

Every generation has to learn their lesson, some lessons are harder than others, it's gut wrenching for parents & grandparents to watch. Boy is this generation going to learn some lessons.

honested
honested

@St Simons he-ne-ha 

One funny thing about this one, Kruschev WARNED US  55 years ago (only he didn't mention that the republiklan party would be doing the shoveling).

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

I believe that people who suggest that Barack Obama was about some kind of socialistic left-wing redistribution of wealth should be ruthlessly pilloried here.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@Donnie_Pinko 'ruthlessly pilloried' - oh, that badge of ignorance is not just worn proudly in areas of economic theory, it is worn all over, it may be perm tattooed at this point. But it's all good. I hear they can remove tattoos now.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Donnie_Pinko He showed how socialistic he is by sending Holder to go hard after all of the miscreants involved in the financial crisis. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

People with 1-2-3-4 in their names:

I can count from 1 to 4. I can do this, I can do this.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

Hey this manufactured, sensationalized, post-truth lying disguised as news, and then being outraged at the outrage - hey this can work for us too in the post-truth kardashian era. Rock on hahahaha

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Vincent1234

Obama campaigned on spreading the wealth and did nothing but divide this country. The people have spoken. Get over it and move on you pitiful little bedwetters. 

-

Btw do you have 1234 in your name like someone else here because that's about as high as you can count? 

Anyway, what kind of a frikkin moron can look at the Wall St. bank-coddling Obama and his 8 years of record corporate profits and think of them as being about 'spreading the wealth'?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@RandroidWillBoy @Donnie_Pinko 

The fact that some contentious racial topics which were formerly taboo can now be discussed, may give the impression of division.  But, in my view, it's a step forward.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@RandroidWillBoy @Nick_Danger @Donnie_Pinko Absolute nonsense.  The whines of "identity politics", the dog whistles of "those people" have always been used to block real discuss.  It is very difficult to discuss racism when you are in denial about racism's existence and fail to see its presence.

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@KUTGF @RandroidWillBoy @Nick_Danger @Donnie_Pinko


IMO over his administration liberals like most here, toss the racism charge simply for disagreeing with policy, challenging the tactics of BLM, or calling Michael Brown what is was...a thug who grabbed a cops gun....


How is a two way discussion possible when out of the gate you have labeled the other a racist?

honested
honested

@RandroidWillBoy @honested @Nick_Danger @Donnie_Pinko 

No research, just direct experience.

As a 'white person' I have been astounded to have encountered a couple of hundred people all by my lonesome over the last 8 years that harbored such an attitude.

Meanwhile, these same nutballs expect to be 'resepected' for their religious delusions and their views of 'heritage'.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@honested @RandroidWillBoy @Nick_Danger @Donnie_Pinko 

As another "white person" who more than likely knows a lot more "rednecks" than you, I have never heard a single person say that they voted against President Obama because he is black.  I don't doubt that some did, but they don't go around broadcasting it.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@RandroidWillBoy @KUTGF @Nick_Danger @Donnie_Pinko

On the night of his inauguration, Republicans plotted to destroy him. Their singular focus over the course of his presidency was to see him fail. He has been subjected to abuse the likes of which we have never seen ("you lie").  It is very naive - considering America's long and sordid history of dealing with black people - to think that antipathy to black people wasn't a powerful motivator, especially considering that his agenda has never, ever been nearly as 'radical' as was portrayed.