Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Democratic Party has been the Establishment for eight years, and the Clintons have arguably been the Establishment for 24 years. Since the late 1990s, members of the white working class with high school or less have seen their life-chances radically decline, even to the point where they are dying at much higher rates than they have a right to expect.

A year ago Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton University economists, published a study with the startling finding that since 1999 death rates have been going up for white Americans aged 45-54. It is even worse than it sounds, since death rates were declining for the general population.

One of the big reasons for this increased death rate has been increased use of opiods and other drugs, leading to overdoses, along with liver disease from drinking too much alcohol and increased suicide rates. The problems were especially acute among working class and rural whites with only high school or less, and later studies found that they extended to younger members of this social class in their 20s and 30s. Loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs was clearly a primary reason for this despair.

Compared to 1999, white workers, according to another recent study in the Commonwealth Foundation: “have lower incomes, fewer are employed, and fewer are married.” This study found other causes for the increased death rates than just the ones mentioned above, but didn’t deny the Princeton findings. Here is their chart:

mortality

The only comparison I can think of to this situation is what happened to Russians in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian Federation had a population of nearly 150 million in 1990 and thereafter fell to about 144 million. The end of the Soviet Union caused their confidence in the future to collapse and the end of the old economic system created very high unemployment. They stopped having children and drank themselves to death.

Neoliberalism– putting the market in charge of social policy and actually encouraging industries to move abroad for higher profit margins (but for fewer industrial jobs at home)– had much the same effect on the white working class as the fall of the Soviet system had on the Russian working class. Look at what happened to the proportion of the US economy accounted for by industry when Neoliberal policies became dominant:

h/t MinnPost

People who argue that the working class in the US is coddled, with too many benefits and is too well-paid infuriate me. German workers have good benefits and pay, and German industry is thriving in a way that American industry is not. It is about the overall policies enacted by the government.

And consider these conclusions of Mark Levinson of the Congressional Research Service:

*”The United States’ share of global manufacturing activity declined fro m 28% in 2002, following the end of the 2001 U.S. recession, to 16.5% in 2011 . Since then, the U.S. share has risen to 17.2%. These estimates are based on the value of each country’s manufacturing in U.S. dollars ; part of the decline in the U.S. share was due to a 23% decline in the value of the dollar between 2002 and 2011, and part of the rise since 2011 is attributable to a stronger dollar.

* “China displaced the United States as the largest manufacturing country in 2010 . Again, part of China’s rise by this measure has been due to the appreciation of its currency, the renminbi , against the U.S. dollar.

*Manufacturing output , measured in each country’s local currency adjusted for inflation, has grown more slowly in the United States over the past decade than in China, Japan, Germany, and Mexico.”

And among the prime operators of the Neoliberal system were the Clintons.

There is an intervening irony. The one thing that helped working class whites with their increasing health problems was Obamacare. But that help was blunted by the Republican statehouses that refused to support it. So some of the rage of the workers about Obamacare was connived at by the GOP, which didn’t want them to have health care in the first place. (The GOP only really represents big business, which didn’t want to pay for it).

The rage of these workers accounted for the unpredictability of the 2016 election, since they voted in very large numbers for Donald Trump. (There were lots of other constituencies for Trump, but many of them were longstanding GOP groups; the white working class mostly voted Democratic). What appealed to them in Trump’s message was

1. protectionism and slamming trade partners like China and Japan, which Trump and his audience saw as having gained unfair advantages

2. Attacks on NAFTA and TPP and making an issue of industries and jobs lost to Mexico and China.

3. Attacks on Hillary Clinton over her massively well paid speeches to the big banks on Wall Street, whose shenanigans had cost many in the white working class their homes.

4. Anti-immigrant sentiment, the sense of losing jobs and cultural supremacy to incoming workers.

The Democratic Party’s refusal to do anything about Wall Street mega-fraud in 2009 and after came home to roost. In other words, the Clintons were inextricably entangled in the very policies that white workers saw as having ruined their lives. And objectively speaking, they weren’t wrong.

And the white working class punished the Democratic Party for not being a Left party.

131 Responses

  1. I hope the Clinton fortune provides them solace in their golden years, because it probably cost them the White House. Reagan initiated the practice of profiting from the Presidency with a $1 million speech in Japan, as I recall, and Bush 41 continued it, but Bill Clinton turned it into a business model, and make no mistake — his wife’s looming return to the White House was very much part of the sales pitch.

    The Clintons received more than their share of the public trust over the last 40 years, and whatever you think of their record, they did far better for the Clintons than they did for the public. You can’t blame people for resenting that.

      • Hillary has known from the day Bill left office that she wanted to succeed him, yet they both did everything they could to cash in on their influence regardless of how bad it looked. Then she stupidly reminded everyone of just how corrupt they are by claiming that they were practically in poverty when they left the White House.

        I hate Trump, but I really hope he appoints a special prosecutor who vigorously prosecutes everyone involved in the Clinton Foundation, burns it to the ground and salts the earth where it once stood.

        • Karl, you make some good points. But you’ve fallen for the extreme propaganda regarding their foundation. It’s the real deal. And the propaganda about it regarding any pay for play is utter B.S. Wondering what other crap you’ve swallowed. But I do agree wholeheartedly that a more exemplary example of modesty and humility would’ve helped her candidacy. But, tell me, Karl, are you exceedingly angered by Trump’s modesty and humility as well? And how his charity is a total fraud and only self-aggrandizing?

  2. Thanks for highlighting and explaining this disastrous neoliberal policy that the corporate news media and both corporate-controlled political parties do their best to protect and ignore. I guess this election is karmic, but did it have to be so tectonic? There IS a worse fate than the slow improvement we have been experiencing, and we are about to find out what that fate is. Juan, thanks for keeping your head about you while so many of us are undoubtedly losing ours a bit at this moment.

  3. They don’t distinguish between immigrants and American citizens of color. They will have no problem with re-imposing Jim Crow and taking the jobs of those they despise. They show zero sympathy for the many African-Americans who also lost jobs from these processes because they don’t believe those people ever deserved good jobs in the first place.

    And what % of those jobs would have been lost to automation regardless of neoliberalism?

    • Are those same people complaining about immigrants who are white? This is all about racism. Just recently I posted a link that showed a large amount of research shows that discontent is mostly about fear of racial minorities taking some of the white control. Despite the article here, that is the over riding issue, not the economic issue.

        • There are illegals among all the races, Dott. Thanks for asking. I’m sure it’s an honest probing question and not a finger-pointing racist and snide remark. And for some reason, you don’t confront Gary’s excellent point. Why? I’ll tell you. Because all you have is racism.

      • As long as everyone dismisses this as racism (as they did for Brexit) the status quo will continue. Look into the reasons people are unhappy not what you feel they are taking it out on. this is actually the reason why it will prevail because people deny the fault by shouting racism.

      • I find your assertion hard to believe, becuase it implies if the economic times were great, whites would still be upset because losing white control is aggravating even when everyone’s high on the hog.

        that just doesn’t pass the sniff test. if society was economically secure or even prosperous, i’m sure no one except a tiny fringe would care about race.

        but IF things get economically bad, people get tribal and selfish and circle the wagons, and only then is the race issue widely deployed since it’s such a time-honored way to divide people. but i don’t think it works as much these days, if times are good.

        • Agree. Recall history when the Irish whites were fighting the Greek & Italian whites because the Irish jobs were being threatened.

  4. What can I say professor, but “welcome to brexit land” Perhaps Obama had something to do with it when he spoke out against Trump in the maligned way he did. He certainly had an affect on we brexiteers over here in the UK when he said we should vote to stay in the EU. I shouldn’t worry too much about Trump. He will soon have his puppet strings attached and be dancing to the tune of those powerful actors behind the throne just as Obama did. Remember Obama’s speech about closing down Guantanamo bay, but of course it never happened, even after eight years. If Trump really does try to exert the power of the presidency, then I fear for him.

    • Shouldn’t worry about Trump? Easy for you to say.

      Obama didn’t close down Guantanamo because his own party wouldn’t back him on it. I think he should just give the place back to Cuba now while he still has time. Solve two injustices with one act.

    • This assumption/issue is at the heart of what is in store for the world going forward. No one was less compromised coming into the office than Obama, at least in modern history, and he was hamstrung from the word go; Trump will be even less encumbered and doesn’t give a flip for making nice. That’s the good news.

      An accompanying question will be how well Trump manages to re-orient himself from a screw-them-all campaign which he didn’t (really) think he’d win, to a presidency he’ll take seriously, making decisions in the best interests of the country (by whatever lights).

      It’s a HUGE assumption he’ll make that adjustment at all. At which point we’d finally get to your point. Only then do we get to contemplate the true agenda and its very real ramifications, should he seriously and effectively begin to follow through on his many very, very significant threats.

      An awful lot of assumptions, and an awful lot of downside.

      • Completely agree. However, I am slightly more optimistic in his presidency. (Disclosure: I did not vote for him)

  5. I just can’t feel any sympathy for the “white working class.” Zero. Instead of whining and drinking and drug bingeing, how about striving for higher education? No, it’s much easier to blame blacks, Muslims and immigrants. So you got Drumpf. Congrats, but don’t revel too long. Because this was a fluke. Putin helped put this Manchurian Candidate in power but he doesn’t represent the future. Neither do you. Frankly, I hope the next 4 years are even more rotten economically. Maybe that will shake you out of your encrusted world view. Probably not, but I’m not in a gracious mood. You went out of your way for the last 8 years to foil a great president – just because he was black. Well, that won’t be forgotten and I’m all for payback.

        • Laugh if you want, but I got acquainted with arduous work in boarding school, a unique one. “Milk squad,” hay, pigs. Half a day in the school year, and half the summer. If barns were taken care of, in 7th and 8th grade we’d tag behind a truck in fields and throw in stones. Later on I’d take breaks from college framing houses. I had a hard time with “the system” all my life (did get a degree), so it wasn’t until I was 53 when I found the contribution was sufficient in the role of (to be sufficiently vague) a sort of care giver, and have stuck with it ever since. But at the beginning is when I really could start to understand what nurses do, and others with a special skill set for special people…I’ll leave it at that. I knew then that with their workload there was no way they could handle school to merely become RNs and take care of kids…or hardly a way if they were simply my age [there were grants, but there were also many associated expenses]. There’s nothing wrong with nursing, but if you wanted to climb your way up to more pay under the conditions I just mentioned…it wasn’t feasible enough. Mind you, this is the hay stacker talk’n, the “bin ni__er” freezing my tail off up in the silo, the framer. By the year when I started my present job it was truly even more the case because of the neoliberal model gaining ascendency in that setting; it puts tons of work on lowerlings while paying not squat (I wasn’t exactly in that setting but I could put 2 and 2 together). Under this model nurses lose out, and patients lose out; but American hospitals and American HMO bean counters didn’t care about that. Right in synch with these la la land folks, too many Americans won’t start reflecting on this model vis a vis physician assisted dying till it’s too late.

        • What is a degree good for in the US? You come out of college with a $50,000 debt and a job at Trader Joe’s or McDonalds. In most parts of Europe a college education is tuition free and some even offer stipends for housing. Back in the day, I was able to go to a free college in NY city where I got an engineering degree while living at home. That’s no longer possible. We’re spending more on jails that we are on schools, not to mention how much education the cost of all our wars could pay for.

    • The Millennials are, supposedly, the best educated U.S. generation to
      date.
      If they don’t
      have jobs awaiting them, due in large part, to exporting jobs, automation,
      and, yes, due
      to imported
      workers,
      legal or
      illegal, then
      what hope is
      there for their
      older
      “uneducated
      ” student-of -life parents through further education? Hmm….

      • No, not “due to imported workers.”

        There is no reason to employ imported workers in place of native workers unless you can pay the imported workers less, work them harder, or respect them less. The only reason employers get away with doing this is because we foolishly ration work permits, thereby creating a class of undocumented workers who are too frightened to complain when they are underpaid and mistreated. The only reasons why we foolishly ration work permits are (1) xenophobia and (2) the ridiculous notion that foreign workers come to our country demanding to be cheated and exploited.

        It is not possible to have “too many workers” as long as demand on the general market keeps up with the supply. If demand fails to keep up with supply, then businesses may indeed not sell enough to afford to hire more workers. But we can easily help demand keep up with supply: Simply pay workers, both foreign and native, more.

        It would help if we had a stronger union movement and weaker xenophobia.

        • It is very easy to have supply exceed demand theses days because the cost of production are getting lower due to technology.

          So yes, it is easy to have “too many workers” when so few are needed to produce all the goods and services need by demand and then some.

    • Barack Obama is going to go down as the best black president America ever had.

    • Saying education is the answer for everyone is nonsense. The educated make more money because they have a marketable and limited skill set. If everyone has that skill set it’s no longer going to get you high pay. Supply and demand. There are still going to be the same number of unemployed, only now they would be educated and unemployed. Besides, not everyone can do college level work..What happens to those people?

      • As to your question . . .

        “Besides, not everyone can do college level work..What happens to those people?”

        Unfortunately they are unemployable and we need to provide them with social services. In other words we need to do massive wealth redistribution.

        You are correct that we have far too many humans and too few jobs and that situation is only going to get worse as the cost of technology continues to approach zero and the capability of technology approaches and in some cases exceeds human capability.

        There is no going back. We have outsmarted ourselves and created a world of abundance that needs lots of consumers but very few producers.

        Your question illustrates the delusion of training everyone because in reality we just do not need that many humans to produce all the goods, services and food the 7.5 billion humans on earth need and want.

        That being said, there actually are many jobs in the USA that are unfilled because few humans have chosen to develop the skills necessary and/or the people with skills have no desire to fill the job.

        For example, many tribal casinos need good IT people, but few people are willing to live near where the casinos are (often remote). Even native Americans with the skills usually prefer to live where they can earn more.

        I was told the other day that there are skilled manufacturing jobs open in Wisconsin , but no one with the skills wants to live in the remote small towns and none of the people in the area are willing or able to develop the skills.

  6. Prof Cole,
    with due respect for what you said, you forgot one thing that in my eyes makes a big difference between eg Germany and the US: the disrespect for education. Teachers are notoriously underpaid in the US, the value of education gets totally reduced to the usefulness of having a degree. Educated people make way less efforts to bring the blessings of knowing and understanding to the children of the underprivileged. If the much-talked-about uneducated white male accuses the intellectual of hiding in his ivory tower: in that respect, he’s absolutely right. Why is it not a good thing to home school, believe in creationism, eat tons of junk food, skip maths? Ah, let them die stupid if that’s what their parents want, not worth taking the hassle. Yes, workers enjoy more rights in Germany at the moment, but they also learn at school why it’s important to fight for them. And how about working class in countries in the far east, the US working class’s live expectancy is about to get actually worse then theirs. This has a lot to with unhealthy choices, yes: “choice” like “choose”. Have you ever seen Chinese immigrants buy their food at the supermarket – burgers and fries (and tons of them) are never ever cheaper then what they buy, just like cigarettes and alcohol do cost money. It’s not poverty, it’s the application of knowledge that counts, and someone who cares enough to convey and convince, like motivated elementary school teachers, programmes from health insurances, in short: all those representatives of the “intellectual class”.

    • Homeschooling is a choice exercised for a variety of reasons. Check the data on it as a model before maligning and dismissing it.

  7. Amen Juan, strong analysis.

    Something similar happened here in the UK with New Labour (essentially our centrist version of Clinton Democrats) losing office and then Brexit. It turns out that when you treat people like dirt and neglect their core interests, that in a democracy you get punished for it at the ballot box. Who knew?

    What’s really funny is going to be watching the Republicans in Congress and Trump be handed the power to work together in a normally divided political system, and watch them fuck it all up spectacularly. This time they will have no one else to hide behind and blame, like they did Obama, who was in the end, a pretty decent domestic president and (rare for a US leader) had one or two foreign policy moments abroad I liked as well.

    As for the Democrats they should have picked Bernie Sanders and he should have picked a female VP to run as the natural Dem candidate at the next election. Clinton was always a giant liability for the base, because she’s so widely seen as a corrupt sellout. She tried to make it about Trump’s character, but in the end he made it about her’s.

  8. Now that the second-most-unlikely event has occurred, let’s wait and see whether the most unlikely follows:

    Will Democratic/Clinton establishment, the ones who ran the party to last night’s epic failure, wake up to a “The fault, dear Brutus….” realization?

  9. So, let’s get at the elephant in the room.

    Intellectualizing the ‘why’ is a first step toward reconciliation with the evident reality of things, but it ignores the underlying issue and premise of our thinking:

    Can the people, through a democracy of this nature, responsibly care for itself?

    • More likely slick Willy’s in the 90s, eliminating Glass-Steagall, deregulations of Telecomm industry, commodity trading. ‘W’ continued it with the greatest of ease, it started in the 80s and reached a peak under Bill Clinton. It’s devastating as it’s enriched the one percent at the expense of the 99%. The Dems talk a good game, but they only deliver on social issues, which don’t impact big business. On populist economic issues you get clap trap about just wages and fairness, but it’s nothing more than trickle down economics in essence. This extends internationally too with our imperialist wars, enriching the arms industries, and even domestically to prisons., Now we’ll see if Trump takes it a step farther to allow unrestricted drilling on federal lands, as he’s promised. Can the National Parks be far behind?! Both parties are as guilty as sin of neo-liberalism!

  10. The engine that drives religious belief is not love as in “Love thy neighbor” but fear. Fear of God’s wrath or eternal damnation.

    Trump was able to sell fear to a battle weary country along with a side dish of prejudice. Fear of Hillary importing “600,000 mostly dark skinned immigrants the first year.” Fear of Hillary, with her past as a neocon hawk, further selling out the middle class. Fear that a woman cannot lead this country as efficiently as a man.

    Lastly, just as with Jeb and Bush fatigue there was definitely a reluctance to suffer through four more years of the inevitable Clinton scandals and the huckster like behavior of selling the Lincoln bedroom to the hightest bidder. The Bush era is dead and now we bury the Clintons.

    As an American who reluctantly voted for Hillary, I sincerely hope Trump will prove to be the best president to ever serve in that office. My head tells me to fear for the worst.

  11. I can remember when the LBJ a dministration brokered the movement of garment manufacturing to LA supposedly to bolster LA against communism.
    Your piece is excellent. It would be useful to have an account of all the ways the government encouraged firms to move abroad.

  12. There is much more behind the revolt of the white working class than just “Neoliberalism” or the fact that the Democratic Party is not sufficiently Leftist. Looming large was a cultural component that liberals and others on the Left are loathe to acknowledge.

    Liberals and those on the Left have very often exhibited a smug attitude toward the white working class, sneeringly referring to them as “clinging to their guns and religion,” as Obama did, or as a “basket of deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton did. Right here on this forum recently one contributor added to it, referring to all Trump supporters as “Nazis.”

    What we are witnessing is, in part, the rebellion of a class of people in America who are tired of being put down by a smug segment of American society who makes no bones about the fact that they think the cultural mores and beliefs of the majority of the white working class are unworthy. They are tired of this smug attitude that writes them off instead of trying to understand their concerns.

    We saw the same thing when much of the white working class voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. They were called “Reagan Democrats” then, and they bolted the Democratic Party for many of the same reasons, cultural and otherwise, that they bolted today. The smug, sneering attitude of the cultural elites in America toward the white working class is now reaping what it has sown. One hopes we learn from it

    • “…….the rebellion of a class of people who are tired of being put down by a smug segment of American society who makes no bones about the fact that they think the cultural mores and beliefs of the white working class are unworthy…………”

      Trump will emerge from the hatred by the American Left that surrounds him now as one of the most significant public figures who has ever held office in America.

      He has a charisma about him in the way the the disenfranchised white electorate perceives him and in the manner of his communications that will expand as he assumes and performs the duties as our Chief Executive.

      Mr. Trump is a populist in the mold of Huey Long and Robert LaFollette and has the stuff of which legends are made.

      • Huey Long was not a racist xenophobe and Robert LaFollette was not a rageful emotionally infantile fascistic authoritarian. You’re seeing only what you want to see, and you ignore the issues that hold all you righties together: You assume the mantle of patriotism and love of country and godliness to yourselves, yet you are the largest clearcut hypocrites and consumers of obvious bullshit in the entire world to justify what you rage against most, the provable fact that you are truly a bunch of selfish racists and warmongers.

  13. Dr Cole, I agree with much of your analysis, but neo liberalism is hardly limited to the Clintons. While NAFTA was a big contribution to “the great sucking sound going south” Republicans were VERY supportive of shipping jobs overseas. Most of the bad mouthing of working class came from bitter conservatives that hate unions like when they parroted the lie about auto workers making 70$/hr.
    Yes, Germany. Why in the hell haven’t we been pushing business to partner with education as Germany did decades ago? Win-win, although the Stephen Moore’s of the world will hate any such idea, smart business that already complain about lack of skilled labor would definitely benefit and have input on vocational training.
    I didn’t vote for Trump and don’t have much hope he’ll bring any jobs back. Likely Trump will create trade wars that will never hurt him, but I suspect the denizens of Wall Street will not be so lucky.
    Certainly we are all in a whole different situation.
    Dapperdan

  14. Stirling Newberry

    There is a reason why things were organized by FDR the way they were. You must defend the working class, and lead them to positions they would not otherwise take. or they will vote for the Tory class.

  15. That neoliberalism makes (made) the Democrats look weak, which they are, and have been. They not long ago controlled both houses and used the same mindset refusing to standup to the Iraq war etc…. You might say the Clinton’s lost the backbone for the Democratic party. Remember Americans don’t like weakling type politicians and especially the ones that are perceived to have run off with the (their) money.

  16. I happen to live and work in a very rural, southern state where there is at least a trace element of anger towards immigrants and refugees ( and education for that matter) so I have some insight into the views of Trump’s core supporters. Most hated Hillary Clinton 25+ years ago so that was nothing new. I don’t think you can reasonably place so much blame on the Clintons without including most of the Republican establishment for the last 30 years and all they have done to flush jobs out of the country without creating a new system for transition to high skilled labor ( like Germany).
    Perhaps President-elect Trump will shock us, but likely not so 2020……..
    Dan

    • As a longtime GOP activist, I am happy that the anti-establishment Bernie Sanders was not nominated to oppose the anti-establishment Donald Trump.

      The Democratic National Committee insiders, such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, are the “best friends” of Republicans and are inimical to the best interests of the Democratic Party grassroots.

  17. Cumulatively Trump’s support was probably less the product of such reasoned considerations and more a gut feeling, with the polls being so far off because many concealed their voting intentions to avoid the social discomfort of being categorised as ‘deplorables’, and misogynist, racial ignoramuses. The moral is you may call an individual such names and get away with it but not more than half the population.

    • I don’t think anyone concealed their voting intentions. The Republican far right maintained that both McCain and Romney lost because they did not go hard right enough — that there was still an untapped pool of white voters that could be gotten with the right (racist) pitch. I thought that was a fantasy. So did the pollsters. Boy, were we wrong!

      • There is still a segment of the (mostly
        seniors)
        population
        that
        declines to
        discuss
        politics, as they consider it private business and/or rude to discuss.

      • If pollsters project results based on responses to their questions, and their projections prove wrong by an unanticipated margin, then either the sample was at fault, which seems somewhat unlikely given their considerable experience, or the responses were misinterpreted, which further seems unlikely for the same reason. That leaves the possibility that either the data was false or they ‘massaged’ it. I would go for the former for the reasons I mentioned above although there could perhaps have been a bit of both.

        • Why would anyone feel any social discomfort about a response they would give to a pollster on the telephone — someone (or even a robot) they don’t even know and who doesn’t even know anyone that they know? Makes no sense. They certainly didn’t feel any social discomfort about putting yard signs in front of their houses.

          To me, it’s pretty obvious the polls were using turnout models that turned out to be just flat wrong — just like the Romney campaign’s models were in 2012.

        • There is another possibility which I think is the most likely. A lot of fence sitters and luke warm Hillary supporters decided to vote for Trump because of the Comey letter. That change could have come too late for the pollsters to pick up. In a close election a change of just a couple of % can reverse the outcome.

  18. You say that the Republicans only represent big business interests. Well the same can be said of the Democrats. They have failed over the years to strengthen the labor movement which was their traditional base. They have done nothing to roll back Taft-Hartley or make it easier to organize. They almost never address issues of class. Sanders was the exception and I for one believe he would have run a stronger race against Trump than Hillary who is or at least appeared to be in bed with the 1%.

    • You ignore Obama’s accomplishments on the labor front, which you can easily look into yourself if you actually care to know them instead of just generally complaining to no good cause (A good cause would require you knowing what you’re talking about).

  19. Let’s look at the bright side: POTUS, SCOTUS, US Senate and US House will all be Republican controlled. So, that means our lives will be fantastic, like Trump promised. If not, there will be no excuses. We will all know where the blame goes.

  20. The vote turnout was 54%, with Trump and Clinton each roughly getting 27% of the vote. Therefore, as usual the election was decided by the 46% that failed to participate.

    • In blue-collar Macomb County, Michigan, where Trump was preceded on stage by rock star Ted Nugent last Sunday night, 70% of the registered electorate voted – with Trump beating Clinton by approximately 10%.

      Macomb County has a population of over one million and is nationally considered a bellweather political subdivision by political analysts.

  21. The PRIVATE SECTOR eliminated many those jobs through automation. The onset of the use of robots the U.S. and abroad has skyrocketed. Eliminating hundreds of thousands of assembly jobs.

    In China entire cities stand vacant because workers who originally were going to populate these cities were replaced by robots as in Longhua Subdistrict, Shenzhen.

    Automotive assembly jobs have been greatly impacted by robots.

    Policy had little to do with this dramatic change in the workplace.

    • This is why trump will fail.

      Starting with the industrial revolution, machines slowly eliminated jobs that required human muscle. Since the machines had no ability to “think,” humans switched to jobs that controlled machines rather than do the actual labor.

      NOW, all those machines have the ability to “think,” often better and faster than humans.

      When machines were first developed, they cost a lot of money, but we have now developed the ability to make machines and their “brains” for almost zero cost.

      As a result, very quietly, for over 50 years, mechanical technology controlled by non-human “brains” has been eliminating most human jobs. Because technology INCREASES in capability and DECREASES in cost exponentially, humans simply can not compete.

      The basic REALITY is human “labor-saving” devices have now eliminated most human labor and there is absolutely NOTHING trump or congress can do about that. Their ideology will prevent them from doing what actually needs to be done.

      The many white, poorly educated people that voted for trump in hopes their lives would improve will soon discover that their lives will now be worse. Unfortunately they will probably just double-down on their racism, anti-intellectualism and extreme greed rather than take positive steps to improve their lives through education and comprehensive social programs (which will disappear).

      The USA (and the world for that matter) is going through an extreme change where it takes less than 3 billion “producers” to provide ALL the goods, services and food, that 7.5 billion “consumers” need and want. That is, there are over 4 billion humans that are “unemployable” and the human social structures that have existed for over 10000 years are unable to cope.

      Things are going to get much worse, especially for most trump voters, before they get better.

      BTW – as a quick measure of just how fast things have changed . . .

      My first “personal computer,” a mere 40 years ago (1976), was a “fully loaded” DEC PDP-11/45 which was ~2.5 feet deep, ~5 feet high and ~15 feet wide and cost over US$300,000 ($1.4 million in 2016 dollars).

      Today, I can buy a Raspberry Pi-3 computer that is HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of times more powerful, for less than US$50. Raspberry Pi and its competitors also make slightly less capable computers for as little as US$5.

      Computers and software are so cheap that there will be no need for most humans in just a few years – Then what will we do?

      I can post LOTS of other examples where technology has eliminated most human jobs over the last 50 years, but most people are not consciously aware of this rapid and profound change.

      A video to think about . . .

      link to youtube.com

      • Agreed. There is an obvious economic shift taking place that is as disruptive as the industrial revolution. This disruption is based on increased economic productivity due to increased automation (like the industrial revolution was). The challenge in this case is that manual labor will not be able to easily migrate to the “new employment opportunities” due to the increased training and skill requirements.

      • Technology isn’t always as all-conquering as you claim – here in Britain the post-2005 influx of Eastern European workers has led to a rise in the number of hand car wash businesses, which have largely replaced the older machine car washes.

        • Wait for the next generation car wash systems.

          Also, how much do the people in the hand car wash shops actually make? I suspect that you will find that most are getting starvation wages, which completely negates your argument.

          Over time, technology drives humans out of the production picture for everything except very small run custom built products purchased by the rich.

          If you can’t see that, they you are not looking very closely.

    • The most important economic decision facing us right now is how to split the work up between people and machines. We can no more afford to let the unregulated market make that decision than we could afford to let it make other decisions for society in the past. Policy — or lack of policy — has everything to do with changes in the workplace.

      • Currently, there is no policy to protect workers from the onset of automation. One assembly robot can replace multiple workers. The PRIVATE SECTOR is entirely in control.

        • Keep in mind that the decision to repalce workers with robots is mostly economic.

          These days, with the cost of robots decreasing rapidly, replacing just one human might pay for the robot and if the robot does teh work of multiple humans, the payback period can eb as short as a few months.

          Also, remember that robots are covered by USA (and other country) tax laws as an “investment” in the business, NOT as labor. Frequently the entire cost of a business investment can be taken directly off the net income line resulting in a lower or non-existent tax bill.

          Yes your tax dollars could be paying for the replacement of workers by robots.

  22. This is the best column of the day. In a way, Trump offers the chance to restore politics, in which a solid left partzy opposes the self-serving policies of business and the right. This would not have occurred under Clinton. Now, if he can just avoid pressing the button with his twitchy finger when some foreign element provokes him….

  23. And… this white working class doesn’t want to hear about the looming crisis of our time, Climate Disruption due to Human Activity. Donald Trump will reward them by stopping any progress at the national level to deal with it. It’s a good time to tell your kids not to have kids.

  24. The Democratic Party shot themselves and the country in the foot by not electing Saunders to run against Trump and by electing a leader who would continue to carry out the same old policies of supporting the banksters and funding the war machine and was sure to go down to defeat. Well done.

    • The Democratic National Committee political machine that sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign were the same folk that tried to stop Obama in 2008.

      Will the Democratic Party clean house to avoid another national electoral debacle in 2018 and 2020?

  25. And where did neoliberalism come from? It came from the Chicago school of economics, most notably Milton Friedman. It was seized on and promoted by Republicans, like Ronald Reagan. It’s major focus was the destruction of unions and trickle down economics via increasing the wealth of corporations and the elite. While Clinton embraced the neoliberal trade policy, he/they did not embrace the other aspects. Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, as did Obama. The greatest loss of manufacturing jobs came during the George W. Bush administration. Your argument is kind of like blaming a victim of a crime for not putting up enough of a fight. It is the right wing propaganda machine combined with a lack of knowledge by uneducated whites which mostly led to this. In many of those areas Trump was getting over 60% of the vote. The Reagan Democrats weren’t due to neo-liberal policies since the New Deal; economic policies were still ascendant at the time Reagan assumed the presidency. This is all about social issues, with an economic topping.

    • Bill Clinton raised taxes on everybody,
      not just “the
      wealthy”. My
      family got hit
      for nearly
      $600.00 a
      month,
      requiring us
      to make the
      hard
      decision to
      drop our excellent
      employer
      health
      coverage which was
      equivalent in
      cost to the tax Bill imposed.
      Fortunately (though not
      for the
      victim), the
      most serious health issue
      we suffered during that
      period of time was a
      child’s cut
      and broken index finger obtained when he
      slammed a
      door on it.
      It ended up
      costing us an additional $1,500.00 in medical costs that year.

  26. To further my argument that this is not so much an economic issue, consider this. Probably the group that supported Trump the most was retired white men. Retired, as in not working. People who will be adversely affected by likely changes to Medicare and Social Security that will adversely affect them economically. I live in a fairly well to do senior community. And it is senior white men who have overwhelmingly supported Trump, while the women mostly supported Clinton.

    • Great point about the “future” of Medicare and Social Security and this wildly pro-corporate new extreme right-wing government we all now face.

  27. I couldn’t see it getting any worse for Muslims already (FYI- They’ve already been doing “extreme vetting” for years…….) so I can’t even imagine what’s to come. It’s too heavy on my soul.

    Was the nation even ready for a female president?

    • Cheer up!

      Look at the Muslim-majority Hamtramck City Council in Michigan and similar changes occurring politically in Dearborn, Michigan.

    • About 18 months ago there was a national poll which asked people if they would vote for a nominee of their own party who was. . . and then they gave a list of different types, such as Muslim, socialist, woman, black, etc. 50% said they couldn’t vote for a socialist of their own party, one reason I think Bernie supporters are living in dream land if they think he could have won. He never had to face any smears because the Republicans never thought he would win the nomination. As to women, 8% of those polled said they could not vote for a woman of their own party for President. So, consider that among Republicans that would be much higher, just because the candidate was a woman. Even if we just take the 8% figure, that is a huge hurdle to overcome. If you split that 8% in half and give Clinton 4% more of the vote, she wins by a large margin.

  28. ~Education has been sidelined in the U.S. It is far better in other countries, but it is easier to control an uneducated public.
    ~The 99% finally got fed up with the 1%’s winner-take-all attitude. The unwillingness of the elite to share the power and the wealth is what historically leads to revolutions world-wide. Be thankful that Trump’s election and the Brexit vote were bloodless revolutions.
    ~Take the time to see Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” for examples of how Germany treats its workers.
    ~ This is a tipping point in our national history. I hope we learn from it.

  29. The Republican state houses have been overly ambitious to take away worker protection and benefits. And if the poor white working class bothers to vote, they usually cast a vote that is not in their own best interest. There is nothing more dangerous to democracy than an uniformed angry voter. The technological revolution has created winners and losers. Climate change, globalization, trade agreements, the corrosive influence of money in politics are incredibly complicated issues that will not be solved by simple solutions. Bernie Sanders did nobody a favor when he blamed everything on Wall Street and and promised to turn America into single payer, tuition free, $15/hr minimum wage, generous family policies little paradise. Taxes in a European style welfare system are high for everyone because there aren’t enough rich people to pay for everything. However, Europeans are more than willing to make this trade-off because they understand the benefits. Compared to other western democracies, Americans pay much lower taxes and, therefore, have a much more fractured welfare state.
    So many Trump voters talked about blowing up a rigged system run by elites. Now we have a strong man with little hands who promised to make America great again by deporting 11 million undocumented workers, keeping Muslims out of the country, putting his opponent(s) in prison, dismantling institutions, the list is long and ugly.
    Mussolini supposedly made the train run time; Italians just ended up having to pay a high price for this convenience.

  30. Manufacturing output is strong. The number of jobs has declined for TWO reasons: outsourcing and automation.

    Outsourcing is like gravity to water; capitalism will seek the lowest cost wage irrespective of geography.

    Automation was the main driver behind job losses and things are about to get worse…5 million jobs over the next 5 years. Next up are taxi drivers, truck drivers and customer service reps.

    • Automation is the clear “winner.”

      Many of the “low wage” workers outside the USA are now being replaced by automation.

      And yes, once vehicles are fully automated, millions more will be unemployable.

  31. Any thoughts on the the very active part of others to sew disinformation and help support the Trumpeters? Seems Putin (or his allies) has a very active campaign to create chaos in the West.

    • The President George H.W. Bush administration colluded with Boris Yeltsin to take power in 1991 and dissolve the Soviet Union on December 25th of that year.

      Is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?

  32. “Trump has taken optimistic trend lines and pulled them down into Sheol with him. He has diminished our country, traumatized our children, and made us laughingstocks in the urbane capitals of the world. He leaves us a large bequest, tied up with a bow, of hatred and prejudice, smelling like the piece of dog shit that is Donald Trump.”
    Juan Cole, 6 November 2016.

    If the dates of today’s article and that of the 6th had been transposed I would have more respect for Professor Cole.

  33. Civilisation and the agricultural revolution that made it possible were invented by alpha males who realised that they would produce an economic surplus that the alpha males could spend, i.e. waste, on ego-boosting prestige projects, including more and more spectacular wars. This has been the case ever since the age of the Pyramids, and is unlikely ever to change.

    • That’s a pretty simplistic view of the origins of civilization and the agricultural revolution. Way more complicated than that.

  34. One quote: ” Why have nuclear weapons if we won’t use them!”. That says what we’re up against. Another ignoramus, like ‘W’, manipulated by a new set of neocons. At least hopefully the vilification of Russia will cease. The Dems are better only on social issues. Both parties believe in American exceptionalism and dominance. Both are in bed with the Corporate elite. The worst part of Trump, of course, is the unpredictability of his actions! Makes me wistful for what Bernie would have given us! Also, Juan, you were pushing for Clinton. This shows you were wrong. The American people instinctively know authenticity, or lack thereof. Sanders getting aboard after all the bashing in the primaries just plain stunk! You may call it realism, but lost call it raw (and unpalatable) politics. He could and should have allied with Jill Stein and we would finally have a powerful third party!!

    • Why don’t you Greens try doing something during the four years BETWEEN elections? You know — organizing, running candidates, winning elections. THEN you might have a powerful third party.

      • You’re 100% right about the hard work between elections, though I do believe there’s more going on then we realize. I mean the mainstream media won’t show it. They pushed Johnson ’cause he’s not much of a threat to the elite, especially after that Aleppo moment, but there was no way Jill was going to get exposure with her strong stances on climate change and Palestinian rights.

        What I really meant here, and especially considering the results of the election, what an opportunity to build a party that might have got thirty or forty percent. It’s true it would have almost guaranteed a Trump presidency, but given what happened anyway ….One can dream!

  35. Marta Ze

    Hello DNC. Didn’t you get last year’s memo to rethink the”superdelegate scam?” It could lose you the election. Millions of leftist Democrats HATE Hillary, and could stay home…
    CC: Debbie Wasserman Schultz
    CC: Donna Brazile
    Oops, Guess you didn’t

  36. Ah. Glad we’re done painting voters who prefer a populist to a “mainstream Democrat” as motivated by racism, fascism, or misogyny.

    As a Sanders/Stein supporter who was frankly annoyed by the way the Clinton campaign presented itself, I’m trying to phrase this carefully. My intention is not to rub it in. However, I think it’s pretty important for the D party to learn from this election.

    So remember, for 2020: To accuse a large group of people of some moral flaw is not effective rhetoric (even if you were not exaggerating greatly). There are probably stone tablets from the ancient world saying as much. Somehow the Clinton campaign missed this. That was a warning sign.

    The main handicap that the Clinton campaign had was that there were areas of policy and substantive debate where she was basically not allowed to go due to whatever long time allegiances she had. Sanders and Trump were both free in a way Clinton was not, and most people could see it clearly.

    The D party will hopefully recognize this, and make substantive compromises in the future, with its own base, if it hopes to win.

    • I think a bigger mistake is to pretend that those voters were NOT racist, fascistic, and misogynistic. We need votes, but there is a base of voters larger than the misfits that can be activated without cynicism or deceit. Focus on the good eggs.

      • @Larry,

        1. To insist on such a black and white portrayal of voter motivations strikes me as a cynical thing in and of itself.

        2. Even if your view of voter motivations is correct, your strategy is likely to be self-defeating — take a crowd that is 50% for you and 50% against you, and loudly announce that those who oppose you are stupid/evil. Even if you can prove your case, you’ll soon end up alienating a decent number of those who you could’ve won over with a more positive approach. Inept salesmanship, to be blunt.

        3. One other thing to consider. Did Trump win over the deplorable vote more than Romney? Nope. Trump got 60MM. Romney got 61MM. The difference was that Clinton got fewer (60MM) than Obama (66MM). The numbers suggest that rather than Trump attracting the deplorables, Clinton alienated normals (using the terminology that your comment is suggesting). Unless perhaps there are 6MM more mysoginists alienated by Clinton than racists alienated by Obama. But I have yet to hear anyone advance *that* theory. I think you’ll have a hard time squaring the numbers with any simplistic racist/fascist/mysoginist explanation of why Clinton lost.

  37. With business able to find labor for $1 an hour, overseas, wasn’t it impossible to stop the manufacturing slide? Walmart would give you a price point for your product, and the names of factories in China to make it. Why would business pay $10 labor + to make it?

      • Germany has to run a trade surplus almost as large as China’s to support its industrial base, and is only able to do so while paying First World wages because it has specialized in premium-quality products (Audi, BMW and Mercedes cars for example) where price is less of an issue.

        Is Germany’s model really exportable (sic) to other countries, given that the total demand for premium-quality products is limited?

      • The German people and its government understand that economic patriotism is not an ideology but a pragmatic advantage that benefits its citizens and the world economy, and without harming any side of the equation. American outsourcing – NONE OF WHICH WAS AUTOMATION RELATED – wa simply revenge on American labor for wanting and succeeding in getting livable lives PLUS greedy businessmen renewing the exploitation of vulnerable populations for profit no matter the human cost everywhere.

        • Outsourcing wasn’t “revenge on American workers,” but rather corporations seeking higher profits. That’s what corporations do in a capitalist economy where competition forces survival of the fittest. To call that “greedy,” is to misunderstand free market capitalism.

        • I might add also…no one calls out the laborer for saving a few bucks on that chinese Mossberg shotgun he bought at Wal Mart. He has choices too because meanwhile, the mom & pop sporting goods store downtown is shuttered, along with the rest of main street. The common laborer tries not to notice because of much greater concern is whether or not a new In-N-Out Burger will open north of town. Is it any wonder the Repub’s play them for fools?

        • I don’t know what neo-liberalism is. In the rest of the world neoliberalism is what we call neoconservatism—Milton Friedman’s extreme view of free market capitalism. We have been enjoying Friedman lite ever since Reagan’s supply side economics. (Reagan was photographed holding a Friedman book.) The American worker bought into the propaganda that their jobs were destroyed by unions and environmentalists when, in fact, wages stagnated from 1980, well before the big moves to offshore manufacturing. Wages stagnated because of planned moves to kill unions both to lower wages and to prevent unions from funding democratic candidates.

          The troubling trend with the tax code started before Reagan—back in Carter’s administration. It was also in Carter’s administration that we saw the fruits of the Powell letter and congress allowed itself to be openly bought by business interests. The tax code, since then, facilitated the movement of half of the wealth previously held by the middle class into the coffers of the 1/10th of 1%.

          As to D King’s comment below, consumerism is the current opiate of the masses. This has been pointed out by Noam Chomsky, among others.

  38. When trying to understand this election and the trends in this country I believe we cannot underestimate the role of right wing media. Because of right wing media many people believe things that are false and these false beliefs cause the consumers of right wing media to act against their own self interests. As an example I work as a health care provider and I have had numerous patients (usually white males without a college degree) with employer based health insurance (not Obama Care) blame Obama because their copay for medications are too expensive. To some of these people voting Republican and Trump and over turning the Affordable Care act are seen as solutions to the high cost of medical care. I fear many of these patients will be in for a rough surprise when drug costs increase further, life time caps are back and deductibles go through the roof. Some will lose coverage altogether. Very sad that many consumers of right wing media are also the victims of right wing media.

    • A recent article in my local paper was about a women having trouble with her medical costs because of high prescription drug prices. She is on Medicare and fell into the doughnut hole. She said she supported Trump and wanted to see the ACA repealed, obviously not realizing that the ACA is going to close the doughnut hole in a couple of years. I would bet that the vast majority of Medicare patients don’t realize that many things that used to require a co-pay are now free because of the ACA. The lack of knowledge, especially about health care, is pretty appalling.

    • Two things about health care. One, congress wrote into Medicare that it cannot negotiate drug prices. This is insanity. Two, health care is now a for profit industry. That wasn’t always the case, nor do I think it should be. When public institutions are taken over by private business one of two things have to happen—either the service suffers or the price goes up.

  39. Since the very beginning millions of people were telling the major (neo)liberal media there was something very wrong with Clinton qua candidate that there was not comparably with Obama (or with Sanders) and the media discounted this manifest and generalized expressed reality ab initio and the result is that the aforesaid reality came back to bite with the immensity of “Jaws” said media, the Clinton campaign, and of course far more importantly the US polity and the rest of the world combined. Indeed, that “bite” has proven to be a self-inflicted defeat of Waterloo-ian proportions for the relevant faction of the U.S. “symbolic economy” establishment elite: through their very voracity for power (inextricably political and economic) the Clintonites ate themselves into a stupendous and stuporous rout in what was meant to be their Normandy over the empirically-based economic cognizance of the most reactive sector of the American working class, the white (male) working class. To say that reality defeated Hillary Clinton, and her deceptively endless camp of “neoliberal ontology”-based followers (notably “symbolic economy” techs,, sophists, and apologists) would be trite indeed if it weren’t for the fact that everyone seemingly bought into the lie (even the poll gurus) despite knowing it was all based on a sea of lies (e.g. Russia hacking the election so that their so-called useful idiot Trump could get elected). Neglecting and indeed dispensing with reality from behind a shield of neoliberal shamelessness is what resulted in Bush II’s win, and now in Trump’s as well. Reality long enough repressed eventually takes on the form of formerly unimaginable nightmares and this is where America now fully finds itself: in a collective nightmare of heretofore inconceivable proportions.

  40. This is the most insightful commentary I’ve consumed, post-election. Thank you for this.

  41. Simple fact – Ms Clinton polled more votes than Mr Trump. The American Constitution deprived “We The People” of their choice. The institution of the Electoral College system is plain bizarre.

    • The Electoral College is in place to insure that the masses in a particular region (state) is not able to control the national election. A candidate needs to be a national candidate. Thus, in order to win the Electoral College, the candidate needs to be able to win in all regions. The primary reason that Ms. Clinton won the popular vote was because she won in the large population states of CA and NY. IMO. winning those two states alone should not be sufficient to win the election.

      • So you are saying that we should have minority rule?

        And the fears of isolated, uninformed people should set the agenda for the majority?

        How does it help the country if a fearful minority (less than 30% this time) prevent the USA from dealing with the realities of current times?

        You might want to note that while the “flyover states” are getting their revenge right now, eventually the majority is going to gain power and severely punish the minority.

        The wold will NOT stand still and the people that have been marginalized by progress are just going to have to adapt because their mythical past is NEVER going to happen.

        The electoral college rewards stupidity of the minority.

        California is an example of what happens when the urban majority eventually mobilizes – Conservative rural far northern California and the Central valley now have zero power to even participate in the discussion because they were so recalcitrant in years past. Their concerns are now completely ignored because they reused to share power when they had it. I think the reason the conservatives refused to share power is because their world view is so skewed and unrealistic.

        Right now the flyover states control things, but their power will eventually go to zero and they will be worse off then they are now.

        Over time the population centers will have all the power.

  42. I have to push back a little. Roughly half of Trump’s supporters are over 65. They are retired with pensions. The average income of a Trump supporter is $72,000 dollars. Well above the national average.

    Among voters with incomes below $50,000, Clinton held a 30% edge. Among voters with incomes above $250,000 dollars, Trump held a 30% edge.

    This narrative of the blue collar worker is junk. This election was about culture and a backlash against modernity.

    • Your statistics on income are meaningless unless you disaggregate by race.

      White working class vote for the Democrat was off at least 20%, and all you have to do is look at where white workers live to see which districts went for Trump this time that went for Obama last.

  43. I have a caveat about the claim of ‘voting for Trump in very large numbers’. Crude figure wise, from figures being bandied about today, it appears that 50% of people eligible to vote didn’t vote at all. Then one has to take away those who voted for a third party other than Trump or Clinton. From what is left both Clinton and Trump have around 50% each – though Clinton a little higher. In actual terms this means that around 75% of those eligible to vote DID NOT vote for Trump. But 75% did not vote for Clinton either. Those who either voted for a third party, or chose not to vote, are actually the majority. This might reasonably be argued as voter resentment, disaffection etc. However it is usually – wrongly – argued as ‘apathy’. While this goes on the problems of neoliberalism can be ignored, and this is usually what happens. Currently the notion that the majority of white U.S. that were allowed to vote were racists voting for Trump isn’t supported by the figures. But nor where they Clinton fans. If any evidence supports the premise of this article above, it is the low voter turnout.

  44. You missed important trends:
    The tech revolution that automated manufacturing jobs.
    The US manufactures more goods with fewer workers
    GWBush was president for 8 years, and did nothing to sustain the transition that the workforce needs to make.
    White rural culture is ill adapted to the modern economy that requires tolerance and connectivity. The rural economy sucks because the whites who live their are intolerant, bully and chase away anyone with modern adaptive ideas. This has little to do with trade. The elephant in the room is automation.

    • When a robot that costs less than one human being can displace three to five humans, and a company can get low interest loans to buy the robots AND USA tax law treats “capitol investments” vastly different from labor costs, why would any company not get rid of as many humans as possible. The deck is so stacked against most workers it is almost sad.

      BUT the flip side of the technology is companies with lots of robots do need some highly skilled humans to keep the robots running, yet because of the destruction of the USA education system (starvation funding, teacher demonization, high tuition etc), companies can not find these highly skilled workers. There are still high paying middle class jobs out there, but they REQUIRE lots of training and few of the surplus workers appear to be able or willing to make the personal investment needed to get those jobs.

      There are jobs that coal mines can get, but they require lots of training and they will have to leave their ancestral homes in the Appalachian hills to get them. There is zero reason any company would locate a modern business in Appalachia where infrastructure is poor, education is poor and the population has no modern skills. Unless the USA or state government is willing to subsidize rural jobs (essentially pay most of the cost) there is no valid business reason for any business to locate jobs there. Robots only care about cheap land, cheap energy and decent transportation. Humans are far too expensive even at US$1/hr.

      • The younger generations are mostly willing to move to the big city in search of work, and mostly voted for Clinton (or for Remain in the UK). Trump and Brexit were driven by their boomer parents, who despise globalization for tearing their family units apart.

        It seems like the solution will have to be some way of bringing down housing costs in the big cities, so that young people can move where the work is without having to leave their elders behind.This is of course problematic though because many boomers already living in expensive cities have HELOCed heavily to fund their lifestyles, and would be ruined by a collapse of their inflated house prices.

        • There is no way to bring down urban housing costs (which is why I am now in the Midwest instead of SF).

          If the “free market” is allowed, housing costs will only go up because the scarcity of build-able land and the costs of construction.

          While a single family house can mostly be built with cheap “undocumented” labor, not even that “cost saving” can keep the cost low.

          Once a city has to resort to multi-family structures, the skill level of the workers needs to increase a lot, which means higher costs.

          Sure, more complex buildings can be built with “undocumented” near-slave labor, BUT the quality of the housing will be dangerously low. But if a city is run by republicans, those dangers can be ignored by the housing safety organization.

          Now if you are serious about lowering housing costs, then the “free market” must be abolished with the state controlling land costs, high building quality standards, worker pay regulation and developer profit restrictions. In other words completely public housing with subsidized rents.

          Since Americans dislike “socialism” there is close to zero chance that housing in cites will ever go lower until the next big economic bust which further accelerates the elimination of jobs by replacing workers with technology.

          BTW – “socialism” is the OLDEST (50000 years so far) form of group governance and works very well for a majority of people – only the greedy and egotistical suffer under socialism.

  45. Getting back to the neoliberal economic policies that have been moulding the US and the world for a few decades, now finally coming home to roost…

    This election should be seen and taken in context of other rebellions, namely Brexit and the recent Greek elections, as well as how the politics are shaping-up for elections in Italy, France, and Germany. All are trending similarly. It may actually all be for the best, notwithstanding pain Trump promises to bring, not just on the US, but the world.

    Below is a link to a Q&A with a couple profs at Brown that’s incredibly worthwhile. Mark Blyth has been sounding the alarm on neoliberalism and bankster looting for years; Wendy Schiller is your classic Democratic apologist (“our messaging was all wrong,” etc), whose pleating is painful to watch in its meandering cluelessness. Especially so when sitting next to her is a guy who so cogently lays out the realities of things: why the results of this election were no surprise and are part of something larger. It’s a telling juxtapositioning.

    link to youtube.com

    Schiller blathers on-and-on, which is painful, so you may want to just go to Blyth’s remarks (roughly at 13-19;33-43)

    Especially, his summary at about minute 19 is striking, where he notes that in 2015, total bonuses to Wall Street (NOT SALARIES), totaled $28.4B, while the total SALARIES paid to minimum wage workers totaled $14B. Its a rather telling factoid, but listen to everything he says…there’s not a wasted word and its a powerful off-the-cuff indictment.

  46. Why do companies hire humans?

    While that is a simple question, few if any Americans have ever asked that question and close to zero Americans know the answer. Because few Americans know the answer, many terrible public policies are “approved” by the populous . . .

    The ANSWER is real simple . . .

    Companies hire humans for ONLY TWO reasons . . .

    (1) The DEMAND for the company’s product or service exceeds the capability of existing humans employees. That is, the existing company work force can not meet the product/service demand in a reasonable time.

    (2) The company has not yet purchased technology to replace most of the humans and give them the company flexibility to rapidly expand and contract with demand.

    Unless the CEO’s sister insists that the CEO hire his worthless nephew, businesses never hire excess numbers of humans because it is quite simply a waste of company wealth.

    Once people understand that excess DEMAND is the ONLY reason companies hire humans they should understand that tax policy and many of the other “solutions” that politicians propose are WORTHLESS because NONE of the “solutions” create DEMAND, NONE.

    If people understood the demand basis for employment, then they would understand why companies are frequently willing to work existing employees for longer hours rather than hire more humans, which was done following the 2008 crash.

    Nothing that trumper proposes will increase demand and in FACT many of his proposed policies will decrease demand making fewer jobs available.

    The basic REALITY is the lesser educated humans in the USA have a very dismal future and NOTHING trump proposes will alter that fact one bit.

    They are going to be very disappointed.

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