If the white-working class of West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan think that the election of Donald Trump is going to re-open the coal mines and steel mills to bring back their jobs, they are going to be sorely disappointed. Their America stopped being great in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected president and Reaganomics became the dominant American economic philosophy for the next for the next 26 years.
During his regime, for the first time in history, with the so-called Tax Reform act of 1986, taxes were lowered on the rich and corporations and raised on the rest of us without so much as a whimper from the the rank-and-file American. Most, if not all, of the remaining economic reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which lifted America out of the Great Depression, were finally abolished with the cooperation and approval of a putative Democratic president, William Clinton.
The most important was the Banking Act of 1933, also known as the Glass-Steagall Act, which protected American mortgage holders from the depredation of ruthless financial institutions. Under Reaganomics, countless American jobs were being sent overseas by American corporations and federal deficit spending became the norm. Reagan was the first president to have eight solid years of deficit spending, giving the illusion of prosperity. This, and much more, eventually led to our second Great Depression under George W. Bush.
According to a recent United States Census Report, “the median income of the full-time American wage earner in 2012 of $50,033 was “barely distinguishable from the comparable (inflation-adjusted) figure of $49,678 in 1973.”
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Given the economic ignorance of our president-elect, we can look forward to much of the same stagnation, if not worse, during the next four years.
The American worker has met his economic enemy - and it is himself. As Peter, Paul, and Mary once asked, “When will they ever learn?”
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.