“The middle class believes the rich get the benefits, the poor get the programs and they get stuck with the bill.”—Ed Goeas, The Tarrance Group
Most of us who aren’t wealthy consider ourselves middle class although economists avoid the term. I think it is more a socio-cultural construct.
I’ve come to realize that whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we all share some commonalities.
At the moment, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump seems to benefit from widespread frustration among Americans. Pundits, moderators, and activists are confused by this, but it makes perfect sense. Start with some of the things our leaders have done over the last couple decades.
Most of us don’t like intrusion into our private lives as long as we pose no danger to society. Yet we have seen our private information—de facto property—acquired by a bureaucracy whose record on cybersecurity is dismal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the most potentially harmful entities President Barack Obama has created. Not one question has been asked by one self-promoting moderator of a single candidate on either side of the aisle.
As a matter of fact, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution has virtually been nullified unilaterally by presidents in both parties.
Then there is the top issue few pundits talk about in realistic terms—the foreign policy betrayal on migration. The United States has borrowed Europe’s approach to open borders and like Europe, we are paying a steep price. Yet racialist groups who have received federal money from presidents in both parties continue to demand we confer amnesty and welfare on anyone who shows up here by initially breaking federal laws.
Meanwhile, we consider the impact of our trade policy. As GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has pointed out, the US is at a disadvantage with countries like China and Mexico. Yet Republicans agreed to fast track authority for the president by voting for Trade Promotion Authority, a move that enhanced the likelihood of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) reversed his vote on TPA; Sen. Marco Rubio voted for it (FL). US workers have been burned by trade deals dating to before the Bill Clinton era, and adding to middle class angst is the fact both parties collaborated on TPA .
I don’t think a single debate on either side of the aisle has included in depth discussion of TPA.
Amid foreign and domestic policy weaknesses is the ongoing tax assault. Many of us who don’t carry heavy mortgage interest or live in a high income tax state pay through the nose on federal income taxes. We pay those income taxes in addition to social security tax, Medicare tax, PPACA/Obamacare tax, and regulatory fees on virtually everything we use, from cell phones to our electricity costs to our Internet and TV payments.
As if those regulatory fees aren’t enough, consider the fees imposed when you buy a home. Making those worse, the House passed a duo of bills in 2015 that seemed to make buying a home harder. The Chattanoogan concluded:
“Are H.R. 685 and H.R. 650 the solution to the limited credit availability? No. They can do better. We deserve better because the path we’re headed on now is one that leads straight to the fiery gates of another recession.”
Whether you’re middle class or not, the federal government impacts your life in ways that are often not transparent and are questionably legal. A columnist at Forbes got it right when he said:
“Last year, there were 87 laws passed by Congress and signed by the president—but 3,408 regulations from unelected bureaucrats. That’s thirty-nine rules for every law, in this preliminary “Unconstitutionality Index.”
Most of the candidates on debate stages for both Democrats and Republicans have had a direct hand in policies leading us to the quagmire our country is in now. There are two exceptions—Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson. Neither of those candidates have cast a single vote impacting your life or your wallet.
Mrs. Hillary Clinton in first place on the Dems’ ticket, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) in second place, and both the 2nd and 3rd contenders Cruz and Rubio on the Republican ticket have played a role, some for better, some for worse, in the journey to where we are now. It’s only honest to point out that to his credit, Cruz has bucked the system as he said he would.
For Trump, there is no record of government service. Therein lies appeal. Present day America does not trust our bureaucracy or most of the people we elect to represent us. Present day America is not particularly well-informed about history. What has given Trump his momentum across a broader demographic than status quo Republicans like to admit?
When he speaks, he speaks directly to the issues that impact the middle class and he speaks as someone who will fight for them. He doesn’t pander favor with foreign nationals—he seeks favor with those who believe it is time to put America first. He is not a politician. He misspeaks, sometimes in an outrageous manner. He doesn’t scuba dive in the depths of policy that in the long run makes little difference anyway because few politicians do what they say they will do once elected. He declares he will not break the promises of social security and Medicare that baby boomers not only funded for the first recipients, but for themselves even as the bureaucracy deals fraudulent payments to so many. He has promised to trim the federal government whose own entitlement costs for employees will one day break the bank all over again.
As party donors and activist media rant about the rise of Trump, they should all ask themselves a single question while looking into a mirror for the answer: How did the middle class finally wise up to the line of poppycock we’ve been feeding them for decades?
As anti-Trump activists drill down on his various statements and lack of policy experience, they should bear in mind Americans have felt the hammer strike promises made. Your average American most often cannot even understand the legal-speak in bills passed, but the impact is felt every time they open their wallets.
Trump’s middle class appeal should come as a surprise to no one. You—pundits, debate moderators, congressmen, presidents, and general media—built that. Both Democrats and Republicans in the middle class know it, even if they don’t know history or politics.
Related on the Web
It’s the Middle Class, Hillary
Donald Trump’s big tent
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 29, 2016)
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