A Useful Emetic?

Mankind, wrote Edward Gibbon, has a “propensity … to exalt the past and deprecate the present”. Donald Trump, the combed-over werewolf at Washington’s door, understands this. The reason he’s so worrisome is that for all too many voters, the past really was better.

In 1998, the median net worth of American families was $102,500. By 2013, measured in constant dollars, it was down 21% to $81,200, according to Federal Reserve (Fed) data crunched by personal finance columnist Liz Watson. Working-class families with incomes in the second-lowest quintile have been particularly hard-hit.

Their median net worth plunged 53% over the 15-year period, from $47,400 to $22,400. The top 10%, meanwhile, did nicely. Their median net worth surged 75%, to $1,130,700.

Which helps explain the distemper Trump is exploiting with his poisonous spew of other-bashing and protectionism. It also accounts for Bernie Sanders’s strong showing on the left. Assuming he does not win in November, Trump may end up doing his country and the world a favour, serving in all his vileness as a reform-inducing emetic.

Full article: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: How shareholders trump staff in corporate capitalism | Columnists | BDlive


Dilbert’s Creator: Trump Wins

It is now entirely conceivable that Donald Trump will be America’s next president. He has locked up the Republican nomination. His defeated rivals are uniting around him, as is the party’s leadership in Congress.

He is neck-and-neck in national polls with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. She may lose the June 7 California primary to the indefatigable Bernie Sanders, whose supporters, whatever happens, look unlikely to cede the field with grace. The Democrats could enter the general election in November more divided than the Republicans.

So it is time to start thinking the unthinkable. One observer who has been thinking it for longer than most is the creator of the hugely loved Dilbert comic strip. Scott Adams, whose latest book is entitled How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, has an unusually smart feel for the zeitgeist.

He was one of the few who foresaw Trump winning the nomination when the race began. He is now predicting a landslide in November.

Full article: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Trump is the master of the dark arts of politics | Columnists | BDlive