Sunday, March 13, 2016

What's Eating the Trump Supporters

In 2010, six years ago I wrote a post that now seems prescient.  The post was entitled When necessity becomes a moral imperative. I cited in that post an article by Christopher Chantrill over at the American Thinker entitled Off the books America. Chantrill pointed to the innumerable, and increasing onerous regulations that strangle businesses, and make it difficult or impossible for a person to start up a new business on his own.

 If you have never thought about starting up a business, you do not realize that the odds are against you. To start up a legal (meets all the regulatory hurdles) franchise bakery for selling bagels and coffee will cost you $100,000 to $200,000. A franchise operation of course has the personnel to evaluate locations, fund the up front costs of meeting regulations, finance construction, and train both you and your employees. They have access to bulk ingredients and many other features that make franchising in a highly regulated economy practical. If you, just you, decided you had a recipe for a great bagel, and wanted to get into the bagel business, the costs would be substantially higher, because you would have to learn all these things as you go. Financing? Forget about it. Only your relatives might give you a little money to get started. Have any millionaire relatives? Didn't think so.

This strangling of business and opportunity by onerous and over reaching regulation at all levels of government is what is driving the Trump supporters.  They are justifiable angry.  They have been lied to, betrayed, and had the rug pulled out from under them, and they are frustrated.  The American dream was never a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence.  That was some politician's take on it.  The American dream has always been that you could make anything of yourself that you desired, and that government, at whatever level, would leave you alone to do it.  But today, people find themselves hedged in at every turn by a seemingly overbearing government that has no sympathy for the struggle that is the individual's life.

I could cite many instances of abuse and over reach by the Federal government alone, but  this will suffice. A family, as a way to teach their teenage son about responsibility set up rabbit raising. They sold meat to family and friends, and sold rabbits to a pet store for pets. They kept the rabbits environment clean, and local experts extolled the quality of their rabbits. They had sold over the course of years according to the USDA some 619 rabbits and made a total profit of $200 to $400, yet were fined $90,000. They are not being fined for abuse, or mistreatment, but for failing to obtain a license. These realities lead to what Chantrill calls an "off the books" economy, separate from the legal, and highly regulated one. People work for under the table cash payments. Of course, no one knows that dimensions of this underground economy, but CNBC has estimated it at $2 trillion dollars. It also lead to this:
Every time the government enacts a new benefit or tax or economic regulation, it increases the cost of doing business for ordinary, law-abiding businesses. Every marginal business affected by the new tax or regulation has to make a decision: does it try to obey the law, or does it go "off the books"? Of course, our liberal rulers understand the problem. That is why they often exempt small businesses from the latest regulation. But what they are admitting, every time they do it, is that their high-tax social-benefit state is profoundly unjust.
One of these days, some right-wing demagogue is going to turn the general disgust with liberal injustice into a national political movement of bitter clingers.
Of course, Trump is not a true conservative, and has no particular love for, or understanding of, the Constitution. But many people simply don''t care. They are willing to burn down the house to get even. What they may find however, is that the American Revolution has become the French Revolution.

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