I think the 2016 U.S. presidential elections resulted showed that Donald Trump is a better public speaker than Hillary Clinton; that people are tired of Obama administration officials talking to us as if we’re cranky 5-year-olds who object to eating our peas; and that Clinton had a hard time responding in a credible way to criticisms of her emails and performance as a secretary of state.
I think the results also showed that government policies are changing the country’s economic framework in ways that are squeezing wealth out of people in the traditional, non-tech economy.
On the surface, the national economy looks stronger than it was in 2009. Real estate prices have firmed up. Banks look solvent. Unemployment has come down.
In many small towns and rural areas, and even in parts of thriving big cities, the picture looks different. Places where businesses use cash from the stock market to bring in imports or to sell high-tech products and services look rich. Other places look poor. In many of the poor places, just about the only surviving businesses are a bank branch, a few restaurants, a hair salon, a doctors’ office, a ragged discount store that’s trying to compete with Walmart, a Walmart that’s struggling to compete with Amazon.com, and an insurance agency office that’s expected to sponsor every Little League baseball league within 40 miles.
Even in the rich places, publicly traded companies focus, mainly, on putting in outposts of the same supermarket chains, drug store chains, fast food restaurants and cell phone shops. The storefronts are telling us that , even in the rich places, people have little time or money to do much other than eat, get medical care, and play with their phones.
People selling life and health products see the effects of the hollowing out of traditional-economy places every day.
Ordinary people working in the traditional, private-sector economy have no time to think about the future and little confidence in the stability of their jobs. They may have $5 for coffee today, but they can’t promise they’ll be able to pay $5 per day for life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance next year.
Sudden, government-driven framework changes are imposing an obvious economic tax on people like you. Some new Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank or fiduciary standard regulation has been turning your life upside down every other month.