The New York Times reports that European economic growth has slowed to nearly zero. Much of this has to do with the earl gray-soaked, xenophobia-fueled calamity that was Brexit. That’s right, was. Britain crashed out of the European Union today, February 1st, 2020. The reverberations of the likely incoming economic fallout will be felt globally.
Make no mistake, economic recessions are a bad thing, but if there’s a silver-lining to what will surely be hard times for a great many people, it’s that economic hardship will weaken Trump’s stranglehold on those voters who vote strictly with their financial portfolio in mind. Trump’s economic policies, if you can even call them that, have largely involved deregulation and cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. This has emboldened companies to hoard more money at the cost of limiting benefits to workers and hiring new workers, further contributing to the limits on the growth of purchasing power of American workers. The worker is having a hard time.
My point in highlighting this is simple: Trump’s stupid policies might have been fine during a bull economy when people are less likely to notice what they aren’t getting, but once a recession hits and companies have to lay off workers, that money the companies hoarded will benefit only one side of the equation, and I can tell you it won’t be the workers. Want proof? Just yesterday Reuters reported the following:
[W]ith unemployment at the lowest in half a century, that first presidential portfolio has stumbled to fulfill that forecast. While Trump’s 10 companies have spent billions on new factories and upgrades, they failed to keep pace with new hires, according to a Reuters analysis of the group’s capital expenditures and headcount since 2017.
“Collective employment at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Ford Motor Co, GM, Harley, Intel, Lockheed Martin Corp, Sprint Corp, Walmart Inc and small biotech Amicus Therapeutics has remained flat at about 2 million workers, the analysis shows. In the same period, total U.S. employment has risen by 4.5%.
Trump has laid the kindling and tinder for the ember of recession, and Brexit might just be the catalyst. With a nation that harbors one of the most important financial centers in the world now in uncharted political territory, markets will be rattled as investors try to figure out where to reinvest their money where it can be more secure. Again, some proof as the Guardian and others report that New York is surging ahead of London as the world’s top financial center.
Turbulence is likely, unfortunate as that may be. Let’s just hope voters in 2020 realize that Trump’s myopic and self-serving economic vision is not what we need to overcome economic hardship.