Many Americans are suffering because of the loss of good jobs during the last 20 years.
This is largely due to bi-partisan government policies that began in the late 1990s. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and later trade agreements, in the name of free trade, limited the power of national governments to regulate banks in the public interest.
Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 allowed banks to engage in risky investments, but retained the U.S. government’s guarantee of individual deposits. This was part of an overall economic policy, which continued under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, of deregulating financial institutions, bailing them out when they failed, refusing to enforce the anti-trust laws and refusing to prosecute financial fraud.
Concentration of wealth destroys the mass consumer market, which was the source of American prosperity during most of the 20th century. It means that what economic activity there is goes to serve the needs and wishes of the upper 10 percent or upper 1 percent of the population, which can be done without high wages or full employment.
These were the conditions that led to the 2008 financial crash and probably will lead to a worse financial crash to come.
Eventually someone — either a great statesman or a great demagogue — will emerge to change all this. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is that leader.
Hillary Clinton, whose personal income and campaign contributions depend on these powerful institutions, cannot be expected to fix the problem. Neither can Donald Trump. While Trump has criticized corporate trade agreements, the rest of his economic program is lower taxes on the rich, deregulation of business and economic austerity, which will make conditions even worse.
The Day After Election Day by Rob Urie for Counterpunch.