Our bigly strong neofuedal economy

Imagine trying to defeat a sitting president that is running on a platform of economic prosperity, and the opposition party can't/won't challenge that claim. That near insurmountable task is what the establishment Democratic candidates would have to overcome should one win the nomination.
Considering that their attitude in 2016 was "America is already great", a 2020 economy with an even lower unemployment rate makes criticizing the economy a non-starter.

However, Trump won in 2016 by blasting an economy with an unemployment rate of just 4.7%.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
- Trump, inaugural speech

Now Trump is running on this being the best economy ever, and he's correct for the 1%.
But what is true for the majority of Americans?


Only Sanders has a critique of the overall economy that allows for real criticism, instead of just nitpicking, because only Sanders will talk about class. Many of the same working class people who voted for Trump in 2016 because of his brutal description of the real economy will not be impressed with the Trump's description of the economy in 2020.

The December wages report was bad, but even the positive labor numbers are dubious because they are skewed due to ignoring the effects of class.

In addition to failing to reduce for inflation...with actual wage increases highly skewed to the top 10% of the work force so workers at the median or below are likely seeing no wage increases or even wage reductions and the top getting more than 1.5%.
...The latest Bankrate survey, released just this past week, showed that 51% of all workers (about 82 million) in the US DID NOT GET A WAGE INCREASE at all this past year...
The Labor Dept. officially estimates only 5% of workers (8 million) now hold multiple jobs. That’s of course a joke that few really believe. Even a Gallup survey estimates 28% (45 million) now hold multiple jobs.

Trump correctly ignored the questionable economic headline numbers in 2016. Now he's telling voters to ignore reality and celebrate those numbers.
Even if you look at the official numbers, from a big picture view, they aren't impressive.

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be? In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money...
Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.
The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.

The Labor Force Participation Rate was 62.9 percent when Trump was sworn in. Three years later it’s at 63.3 percent. Unemployment in key swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin unemployment are up from a year ago.
The homeless population in the US increased 2.7% in 2019.

All of these numbers show that something is seriously wrong with our economy, but neither of the major parties are incline to talk about it.
When you get down to major industries, like health care, the strain that it is putting on the working class becomes even more pronounced.

“A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend,” the polling outfit said in a press release. “Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”

While corporatist Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden describe Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act as a solid foundation, the reality is that both the health insurance and drug industries experienced a huge windfall with its passage. They continue to benefit from the ACA to this day, claiming a higher and higher percentage of Americans' household income, and driving us deeper into debt.

“The average premium for family coverage has increased 22 percent over the last five years and 54 percent over the last ten years, significantly more than either workers’ wages or inflation,” according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Foundation of employer-sponsored health coverage.

Democrats talking about the ACA is a loser. Republicans doing whatever the Hell they are doing is a bigger loser. Only Bernie is addressing the core issue that is primarily a working class problem.


Much like health care, wealth inequality in real estate is distorting, hiding and causing the distress for the working class.

Patterns of property ownership reflect the very same trends that anchored both the medieval aristocratic and ecclesiastical classes. The proportion of land owned by the nation’s hundred largest private landowners grew by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2017. In 2007, according to the Land Report, this group owned a combined 27 million acres of land, equivalent to the area of Maine and New Hampshire combined. A decade later, the 100 largest landowners had holdings of more than 40 million acres. Their holdings are now larger than the entirety of New England. Even in the vast American West, where much of the land remains in public hands, billionaires have created expansive estates that many fear will make the rest of the local population land-poor.

The average wage earner can't purchase a home in 344 out of 486 counties, or about 71% of the US.

As long as the Democrats refuse to talk about class, they will have no coherent response to Trump's boasts about the economy. Not only will that tie their hands in the election, it will leave the voter with no way of explaining why their reality doesn't match what the media and politicians are saying (which is "blame the poor").
This will cause further cynicism and lower voter turnout. Which is exactly what the 1% wants.

Which is why we need Sanders to win.

28 users have voted.


Cassiodorus's picture

that the Democrats are trying to win. A Trump re-election is in their class interests. The real issue is one of why they think they can get away with it. Climate change will destroy their livelihoods. They won't escape it in New Zealand, nor in Alaska.

19 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus The wealthy r's and d's inhabit the same tony zip codes, same country clubs, send their kids to the same schools, bribe the same people to get their kids in college and prosper from the same tax cuts. When the wealthy d's talk about the migrant crisis they see the big eyed kids the same way they melt at the pictures of the big eyed shelter puppies. The homeless kids living under the bridges in their own town, not so much. Losers. I mean isn't that what they pay the police for? Too keep the riffraff in line?

5 users have voted.

Dr. West for VP?

20 users have voted.
mimi's picture

and thank you gjohnsit for all the charts and statistics you included in your essay.

15 users have voted.
mimi's picture

for lower income folks it hurts a lot. Now how many of the 99percenters here are members of the lower income class? I really wonder about that ...

5 users have voted.
edg's picture

How does 2019 data compare to 2015 data for the same question?

3 users have voted.
CB's picture

had the greatest increase of jobs for low income workers last year?

What a fuckwit. That's all we need - more low income jobs. Gee, with my new degree that I paid $60,000 for will now get me a $10/hr job packing shipping boxes at Amazon.

9 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture


Gee, with my new degree that I paid $60,000 for will now get me a $10/hr job packing shipping boxes at Amazon.

Yeah, at only 30 hours per week or less, so that Amazon can get out of paying any benefits whatsoever. Plus, no set schedule – "Keep your phone on; we'll give you a call when we need you to come in. Don't be late."

8 users have voted.