Truthdig! - January 23, 2020
"The situation is worse for people of color, whom Trump likes to claim have benefited greatly under his presidency. Black Americans are far more likely than whites to be “underemployed” — a term for those who work part-time but are seeking full-time jobs. Additionally, the racial wealth gap in the U.S. remains strikingly high. According to arecent study, “The median black household holds just 10% of the wealth of median white household, and while blacks constitute 13% of America’s population, they hold less than 3% of its wealth.”
President Donald Trump this week addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, exaggerating the successes of the U.S. economy to such a great extent that it was as though he hoped to match reality to his fantastical claims by sheer force of will. The WEF — a yearly meeting that he chose to skip last year — is a gathering of global elites that this year convened at the same time his Senate impeachment trial began in earnest. Trump’s attendance was perhaps a deliberate attempt to distract from the proceedings that could lay bare his corrupt dealings. He seemed to be saying, “Ignore the scheming corruption I was engaged in, and look at the riches I have brought Americans.”
Indeed, Trump’s version of the U.S. economy is so outlandish that it would be laughable were he not president of the United States. “The United States is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before,” he said triumphantly Tuesday at Davos. Throwing out as many buzzwords as he could gather together in one speech, Trump proclaimed, at the risk of sounding repetitive, “America is thriving, America is flourishing, and yes, America is winning again like never before.” And, he claimed, “America’s newfound prosperity is undeniable, unprecedented and unmatched anywhere in the world.” Giving few specifics beyond the standard talking points scripted by his economic advisers, Trump resorted to his usual superlatives, saying, “America’s economic turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular,” and proclaiming, “No one is benefitting more than America’s middle class.”
But when asked about the economy, Americans take a different view from their president. A recent Pew research poll found that “[s]even-in-10 U.S. adults say the economic system in their country unfairly favors powerful interests, compared with less than a third who say the system is generally fair to most Americans.” Large majorities in all income groups from rich to poor are convinced the current system benefits powerful interests such as corporations and wealthy individuals.
To coincide with the WEF, two major reports underscored this dismal view of the economy on a global level. The International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, found that global unemployment is projected to rise over the next two years and that about half a billion people worldwide simply cannot find adequate work to support themselves. The non-governmental organization Oxfam released its yearly report on global inequality and concluded there are currently 2,153 people worldwide who are considered billionaires and that together they own more wealth than 4.6 billion people combined. Both reports highlighted the ongoing gender gap in income and wealth.
In his WEF speech this week, Trump had some advice for the global economy, offering his version of the U.S. as an example for the world: “[W]e are building an economy that works for everyone, restoring the bonds of love and loyalty that unite citizens and power nations.” He added, “I hold up the American model as an example to the world of a working system of free enterprise that will produce the most benefits for the most people in the 21st century and beyond.” ...
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