Deplorably, Trump is Going to Win

That’s not why Trump crushed the Republican primaries. He won because Americans are tired of an economic elite that ignores them. Americans know the game is rigged against them. For generations Americans could make their way from the bottom to the top of the heap by starting businesses. In some periods more of them succeeded than others, but everyone knew someone who got rich more or less honestly. That came to a crashing end during the Obama administration. There were fewer small firms with fewer workers in 2013 than there were in 2007.

Small Firms Decline in Number and Total Employment between 2007 and 2013 (Census Bureau)

ENTERPRISE EMPLOYMENT SIZENUMBER OF FIRMSNUMBER OF ESTABLISHMENTSEMPLOYMENT
02:  0-4-129,985-130,063-212,803
03:  5-9-67,969-69,904-451,075
04:  10-19-44,291-48,177-598,105
05:  <20-242,245-248,144-1,261,983
06:  20-99-29,358-38,422-1,225,253
07:  100-499-3,3224,737-556,311
08:  <500-274,925-281,829-3,043,547
09:  500+32565,164705,535

The deplorables look at the American economy as a lottery. They aren’t sophisticated, but they’re sly: They know the game is rigged, because there aren’t any winners. The American economy is more corrupt and more cartelized than at any time in its history. Productivity growth was negative for the past two quarters, and five-year productivity growth is the lowest since the stagflation of the 1970s.

Corporations are making money by gaming the regulatory system rather than deploying new technologies. Close to half of the increase in corporate profits during the past decade can be attributed to regulatory rent-seeking by large corporations, according to a June 2016 study by Boston University economist Jim Bessen. Bessen concluded that “investments in conventional capital assets and R&D account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.”

That’s why Trump won the nomination. Ted Cruz, an evangelical Christian, solicited the religious vote (what Hillary Clinton thinks of “homophobes”), but the evangelicals by and large voted for Trump. They want an outsider with a big broom to come in and sweep away the Establishment, because the Establishment has given them deplorably few crumbs from the table these past eight years. As “Publius” wrote Sept. 5 in Claremont Review, “A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.”

There are any number of things I would like Donald Trump to do as president. I have no idea what he will do when elected. Deplorably, we’re going to find out.