In truth, Trump had it upside down from the beginning. The unfortunate arrival of Steve Bannon to his campaign in August 2016 only served to give the Donald’s disheveled basket of bromides, braggadocio and bile a rightist political edge and proto-intellectual rationalization.
The real problem, in fact, was not the evil flowing into the American homeland from abroad—whether imports, illegals or terrorists. Rather, it was the outward flow of Washington’s monetary and military imperialism that was gutting capitalist prosperity domestically and generating terrorist blowback abroad.
Needless to say, Bannonism never identified the real culprits: Namely, the Wall Street-enriching Bubble Finance policies of the Fed, which forced foreign central banks to buy dollars and trash their own currencies to keep exports “competitive”; the military-industrial-intelligence-foreign aid complex of the American Imperium; and the massively insolvent institutions of the Welfare State social insurance system (Social Security and Medicare) and prodigious spending on means-tested entitlements (Medicaid, food stamps EITC, etc.).
Consequently, the Bannonized agenda had no inkling, either, that fiscal catastrophe was imminent. And that the Trump administration had no real choice except the politically unpalatable path of cutting spending and/or raising taxes—-or eventually getting buried by the inherited fiscal tidal wave cresting at the end of a failed ((102 month old) recovery.
Nor did it grasp that the real cause of Flyover America’s distress is the Fed’s multi-decade regime of financial repression and Wall Street price-keeping policies which: (1) deplete the real pay of workers via the FOMC’s absurd 2% inflation target; (2) savage the bank balances of savers and retirees via ZIRP; (3) gut jobs, investment and real pay in the business sector via the C-suites’ strip-mining of corporate balance sheets and cash flows to fund Wall Street-pleasing stock buybacks, fatter dividends and M&A empire building; and 4) impale the bottom 80% of households on a unrepayable treadmill of (temporarily) cheap debt in order to sustain a simulacrum of middle class living standards.
At the same time, these pernicious monetary central planning policies did fuel the greatest (unsustainable) financial asset inflation in recorded history, thereby showering the top 1% and 10% with upwards of $35 trillion of windfall wealth (on paper). At bottom, Fed policy amounted to “trickle-up” with malice aforethought, and it was sponsored and endorsed by the beltway bipartisan consensus.