The Underlying Establishment Stall
Today’s headlines blast out a claim by another group of present and former GOP leaders who will not vote for Donald Trump, the GOP Presidential nominee. Is this a sign the “establishment” wants to chart a new course for the US (like increased taxes and government spending), or do these rejectors simply find Trump too unpredictable and woefully unprepared to be President? Hmmm
The “establishment” is for keeping things pretty much how they have been. That’s what it means to be an “establishment person”. Most of the establishment would accept some tinkering with taxes and would swap tax code changes for lower top marginal tax rates providing the changes were minor and did not lead to larger, more significant change. The “establishment” is all about keeping life comfortable for themselves. Hmmm.
The “establishment” is fundamentally afraid that Trump could win. Foreign policy in a Trump Administration could look like Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney all over again and with worse results (if that is possible). What would rank and file Americans do then?
Above all, the “establishment” seeks and demands predictability. Only with predictable outcomes can the “establishment” plan its actions to thwart too large progressive changes or nip shut loony right wing reactionary expeditions. The middle is where the “establishment’ wants to be.
While the “establishment” would have felt better with a Jeb Bush candidacy, Hillary Clinton represents the type of predictability they can live with. So long, Donald.
The Trump economic plan announced yesterday is an example of what the “establishment” fears. Trump’s plan is certain to balloon the national debt while taking away tax breaks from one special interest after another. The “establishment” does not evaluate whether these tax breaks are good or bad, instead the “establishment” knows that who ever lost a break will try to get it back and if unsuccessful, may seek to deny tax breaks to others, many of whom are part of the “establishment”.
The message here is “don’t mess with my breaks and I won’t mess with yours”. Status quo is good.
With the size of income inequality what it is and the continued greedy take the top 1/2 of 1% ever increasing, the “establishment’s” comfort in status quo seems ill considered.
Despite what Trump (and most GOP leaders) say, there is no way to sustain US economic growth at 4% or higher for any extended period. The world has changed. If extreme measure (like gigantic tax cuts or suspension of key regulatory safeguards) were to stimulate economic growth, these acts would simply expedite a recession sooner rather than later and potentially bring other harmful impacts to the environment or the cities, schools, and communities where we live.
Political leaders need to embrace modest or moderate economic growth (2-3%) and use this period of expansion to focus on sharing this wealth among all Americans (for example, in the form of universal healthcare, affordable education, retirement assistance, and a workplace free from discrimination). While entrepreneurship should continue to be encouraged, the business play ground must have rules because greed will drive individuals to cut corners and take unwarranted chances.
The “establishment”, of course, consists of mainstream Republicans and Democrats. Defeating Trump does not insure the US Government will adopt legislative goals consistent with a 2% GDP growth outlook. The “establishment” may still rule, but it does so at its own peril.
Combining Trump and Bernie Sanders’ supporters, the potential exists to nominate in 2020 someone as unpredictable as Donald Trump but with a progressive mind set. At this point there is no way of knowing whether this future progressive candidate would be any more fit as commander in chief, but the “establishment” most likely would be seen as having cried wolf in 2016, and their 2020 warning might not be heeded.
For 2016, the choice is pretty clear. What a Hillary Clinton can do with an “establishment Congress” remains a question.
If Hillary fails to lead Congress and the status quo rules, 2020 will surely be a different game.