[Letter to the President] The Great Depression and today’s working class, poor, disabled, elderly, and retired populations


From: Bryan Garaventa [mailto:bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com] Sent: Monday, December 05, 2016 2:35 AM To: ‘president@whitehouse.gov’ <president@whitehouse.gov>; ‘comments@whitehouse.gov’ <comments@whitehouse.gov> Subject: The Great Depression and today’s working class, poor, disabled, elderly, and retired populations


Dear President Obama,


All throughout the lead up to the election of Donald Trump, the overriding message that was pushed constantly and without fail was that this was all being done for the benefit of the working class, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the under-represented amongst us. He was only doing this for the people, to “take our country back” from the obviously corrupt politicians, to stick it to the establishment, to “make America great again”. This would restore lost jobs, would introduce more competitive and advantageous wages, would give more control to these millions in regard to achieving long-term personal savings and better qualities of life for all.


Unfortunately the complete opposite appears to be true, which is becoming much clearer.


““The Trump tax plan is heavily, heavily, skewed to the most wealthy, who will receive huge savings,” said Lily Batchelder, a law professor and tax expert at New York University. “At the same time, millions of low-income families – particularly single-parent households – will face an increase.””

“Minority families are set to suffer disproportionately from the tax increases, according to Batchelder. With 32% of African American families facing a tax increase compared with 19% of whites, this is mostly due to African American families being more likely to share the burden of childcare within the family and hence not benefit as much from Trump childcare credits. Batchelder said the effective tax increase for many millions of families would run into the thousands.”

“While the poor will face tax increases, the Tax Policy Center research said the rich would receive big tax cuts that get even bigger as you work up the income scale. The top 20% of earners would receive an average annual tax cut of $16,660 compared with an overall average cut of $2,940.”

“The richest 1% will collect 47% of all the tax cuts – an average saving of $214,000.”

“Gardner said that under Trump, America will become even more divided between the rich and poor. “America is already very unequal, and his proposals would make income inequality a lot worse,” Gardner said.”

Trump’s tax plan: massive cuts for the 1% will usher ‘era of dynastic wealth’ | US news | The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/23/trump-tax-plan-cuts-wealthy-low-income-inequality


Equally important, this doesn’t just negatively impact the incomes for the majority of the United States population, but it also directly affects the infrastructure and overall economy for the country.


“But then there are the tax cuts. In the simplest math of fiscal policy, lower taxes plus more spending equal higher budget deficits. Mr. Trump resorted to vague hand-waving about any spending cuts to offset those changes, promising instead that faster growth would prevent the deficit from rising.”

“Most hardheaded analysis – including from those sympathetic ideologically – suggests this is wrong. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, for example, estimates that Mr. Trump’s tax plan would reduce federal revenue by about $12 trillion over the next decade, and faster growth would offset only about $2 trillion of that.”

The Trump Administration Could Test Whether Deficits Help the Economy – The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/upshot/the-trump-administration-could-test-whether-deficits-help-the-economy.html


Such policies would divert billions into the personal and business bank accounts of the top 1% of wealthiest individuals and out of the general circulation for the majority of the country, and would also defund the majority of public services to those in need across all sectors such as finance, food, and healthcare services. This will negatively affect all people such as the unemployed, plus those on fixed incomes such as the disabled, the elderly, and all those on fixed retirement incomes; who will see needed services disappear, costs rise, and wages decrease.


The following illustrates the income divide between the rich and poor that currently exists in American society.


“The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality  is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.”

Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think – Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/economic-inequality-it-s-far-worse-than-you-think/


To rephrase this for clarity, there are at present approximately 323,995,528 people in the United States, and the Walton family alone owns more wealth in the United States than the combined savings of 136,078,121 people within this population.


The policies of Donald Trump and the GOP are guaranteed to tilt this balance even further so that even more of the country’s wealth is diverted into the ownership of the super-rich, thus removing it from circulation within the remainder of the country for critical services that keep our country running.


The idea being pushed by Donald Trump and the GOP that this is preferable because wealth can then trickle down as needed into society is completely false. Wealthy individuals don’t ever decide to fund police departments to keep the peace, to fund public schools for better education across the country, to fund maintenance for the electric grid for all of our technologies, to fund healthcare facilities for those in need, to fund new research into medical treatments and technological advancements, nor any of the other countless projects that require Federal and State funding to achieve. 99% of wealthy individuals horde their wealth and will not give it away just because they have it.


Another critical aspect of what is being aggressively pushed by the GOP is widespread deregulation across all private sectors to make it easier for businesses to make additional corporate profits at the expense of the people.


The following illustrates what is planned just for the banking system.


Donald Trump states: “One of the keys to unlocking growth is scaling back years of disastrous regulations unilaterally imposed by our out-of-control bureaucracy. Regulations have grown into a massive, job-killing industry – and the regulation industry is one business I will put an end to.” “I’ve proposed a moratorium on new federal regulations that are not compelled by Congress or public safety, and I will eliminate all needless and job-killing regulations now on the books.”

“The House Republican proposal also features a clever idea to help ensure that Trump’s regulatory freeze could outlast his term in office. It does this by essentially inverting the normal order of operations in the American regulatory process.”

Donald Trump’s administration is going to be a bonanza for bankers – Vox http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/9/13573294/donald-trump-financial-regulation


“President-elect Trump said throughout his campaign he would oppose financial regulations and in May said he would repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, which was passed in the wake of the financial crisis and empowered federal regulatory agencies to restrict banks’ ability to make risky investments.”

“Hufeld also warned that a loosening or scrapping of existing laws would lead to a new financial crisis.”

German watchdog warns against financial deregulation after Trump win | Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-germany-banks-idUSKBN1361G2


Additionally, with his pick to lead the EPA, Donald Trump has already made it clear that corporate profits are more important than climate change research and environmental protection policy.


Interesting enough, all of these things were done once before when Republicans held the majority in both the House and Senate with a Republican president. This was in the 1920’s, just before the total collapse of the United States economy during the Great Depression.


“Throughout the 1920s, Congress was focused on slashing taxes on the wealthy and eliminating business regulations, arguing that a free market could govern itself and that a rising tide would lift all boats.”

“The results were devastating: Wall Street ran amuck, resulting in the 1929 stock market crash.  Wealth became highly concentrated at the top, leaving everyday consumers with too few resources to fuel a meaningful post-crash recovery.  Industrial pollution began accelerating, setting the stage for an era of smog and even flammable rivers.”

Radical Deregulation Won’t Bring Real Growth | The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-conyers/radical-deregulation-wont_b_6481308.html


Nor have these connections been lost on economic forecasters, who are making plans and advising followers to prepare for the worst.


““Housing prices will start to fall by as much as 40% over several years… unemployment will surge… many state and municipal governments will be forced into default…and the federal deficit will balloon to as high as $1.5 to $2 trillion,” warns Dent.”

“We are approaching what he terms “The Greater Depression”, and the coming months look bleak: “The recession is NOT over yet. $100 trillion of the $225 trillion in loans, bonds and stocks across the world…will simply disappear.””

Critical Warning from Rogue Economist Harry Dent: “This is Just the Beginning of a Nightmare Scenario as Dow Crashes to 6,000” | Economy and Markets http://economyandmarkets.com/exclusives/critical-warning-from-rogue-economist-harry-dent-this-is-just-the-beginning-of-a-nightmare-scenario-as-dow-crashes-to-6000-2/


Sadly enough, it has become painfully clear that Donald Trump and the GOP are no friends to the general working class, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly, fixed income retirees, nor to the future health and wellbeing of our children.


Moreover, it has also become painfully clear that those in the GOP who have the power to build our country instead of break it, will not hear, will not see, will not listen; they refuse to understand, and they refuse to care.


“For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.”

“Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.”

“To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.”

This is the most dangerous time for our planet | Stephen Hawking | Opinion | The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality



Bryan Garaventa

Founder of WhatSock, Accessibility Fellow at SSB, Research Developer (W3C ARIA WG; ISOC; FRSA)