Reich provides documentation of the downward spiral in the economic well being of American workers and an explanation of why this has occurred. Here are the highlights.
First the standard explanation: “…most American workers are no longer “worth” as much as they were before digital technologies and globalization. So they must now settle for lower wages and less security.”
According to Reich this is “Rubbish.”
The real reason:
America’s economic and political elites could have used their growing political and economic clout to help workers get ahead – through better schools and more affordable college, comprehensive job retraining, wage insurance, better public transportation, and expanded unemployment insurance.
They could have pushed for universal health insurance.
They could have paid for all this by accepting, even lobbying for, higher taxes on themselves.
They could have sought to reduce their own political clout by demanding limits on campaign spending.
But they did the reverse: They spent more and more of their ever-growing wealth and power to rig the game to their own advantage.
As a result, trust in all the major institutions of our society has plummeted.
Is it any wonder that Trump was elected? He just exploited the situation. But what has he done to repair the damage?
In his first seven months as president, Trump has done nothing for American workers. In fact, his attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act, his retreat from Labor Department regulations boosting overtime pay, and his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations will make most workers worse off.
But he is in office because of their anger and distrust, and he’s still feeding off it. “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,”