bureaucracybusters

TURNING PREDATORS INTO PATRIOTS: PART ONE (OF THREE)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on September 4, 2017 at 12:38 am

Hillary Clinton gave only one memorable speech during the 2016 Presidential campaign—and then quashed any benefits that might have come from it.  

This was the “basket of deplorables” speech, delivered at a New York fundraiser on September 9, 2016.  It was the only Clinton speech to be widely quoted by Democrats and Republicans.

She divided Donald Trump’s supporters into two groups. The first group were the “deplorables,” for whom she showed open contempt:

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.

“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.

“He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people—now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”  

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Hillary Clinton

But the second group, she said, consisted of poor, alienated Americans who rightly felt abandoned by their employers and their government:

“But….that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down. Nobody cares about them. Nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from.

“They don’t buy everything [Trump] says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.” 

After giving this speech, Clinton threw away the good it might well have done her.

First, the day after making the speech, she apologized for it: “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’—that was wrong.” 

Many of Trump’s followers were racists, sexists and xenophobes—who deserved condemnation, not apologies. By apologizing, she looked weak, indecisive.

Second, having eloquently reached out to many of the men and women who were a prime constituency for Donald Trump, she made no effort to follow up. 

She could have used this moment to offer an economic package that would quickly and effectively address their vital needs for jobs and medical care.

But that would have required her to put one together long ago. And all she had to offer now was boilerplate rhetoric, such as: “Education is the answer.”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, adopting the role of a populist, appealed to blue-collar voters.

Trump visited “Rustbelt” states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and vowed to “bring back” jobs that had been lost to China, such as those in coal mining and manufacturing. Clinton didn’t deign to show up, assuming she had those states “locked up.”

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Donald Trump

Most economists agree that, in a globalized economy, such jobs are not coming back, no matter who becomes President.

Even so, voters went for the man who promised them a better future, and shunned the woman who didn’t promise them any future at all. 

In May, 2016, Democratic pollster CeLinda Lake had warned Clinton to revamp her economic platform.

“Democrats simply have to come up with a more robust economic frame and message,” Lake said after the election.

“We’re never going to win those white, blue-collar voters if we’re not better on the economy. And 27 policy papers and a list of positions is not a frame. We can laugh about it all we want, but Trump had one.” 

Actually, Trump and Clinton had one thing in common when it came to tackling unemployment: Both of them ignored the single greatest cause of unemployment among Americans: The refusal of employers to hire.

Employers like Kenneth Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Investments, who said, in 2012: “Believe it or not, I’m for fewer jobs, not more.”

In the Christmas Eve, 2012 issue of Forbes, he asserted: “Job Growth is Overrated.”

“Throughout 2012 we heard politicians and pundits of all stripes yammering endlessly on the need for job growth—that we don’t have enough jobs. It’s pure rubbish.”

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Kenneth Fisher

According to Fisher, jobs are actually signs of weakness in the economy. Fewer employees can produce more products—and that’s good for us all.

For Fisher—a billionaire—the template for future economic success is Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer: “With Walmart you get an awe-inspiring company at 13 times my January 2014 earnings estimate, with a 2.2% dividend yield.”

But America can put an end to this “I’ve-got-mine-and-the-hell-with-you” job-killing arrogance of people like Kenneth Fisher.

The answer lies in three words: Employers Responsibility Act (ERA).

If passed by Congress and vigorously enforced by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, an ERA would ensure full-time, permanent and productive employment for millions of capable, job-seeking Americans.

And it would achieve this without raising taxes or creating controversial government “make work” programs. Such legislation would legally require employers to demonstrate as much initiative for hiring as job-seekers are now expected to show in searching for work.

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