Max Burns, The Independent
On paper, 1968 was a great time to be an American. Young soldiers returning from Vietnam that June saw an economy which had just created 250,000 jobs. Middle class families saw an 8 per cent increase in their household income. GDP growth for the full year hit almost 5 per cent, an incredible number for a modern economy.
1968 was also the year a white supremacist murdered Martin Luther King. It was the year 125 cities across the United States burned in race riots. It was the year that shredded the social fabric of the United States in ways we have yet to fully recover from. And it was the year Senator Robert F Kennedy asked students at the University of Kansas what it really meant to foster a strong economy.
“The gross national product... measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
Even as President Trump celebrates a strong April jobs report, African Americans in Flint, Michigan face their fifth year without drinkable water. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our core infrastructure — the roads, bridges and waterways that form the lifeblood of our economic vitality — is falling apart.
This is the same America where corporate profits are scraping record highs, and General Motors closing an Ohio manufacturing plant walks hand-in-hand with increases in executive-tier bonuses. The American economy is booming — for some. Don’t expect it to trickle down.
Despite the flashy employment numbers and White House spin, only a sliver of Americans stand to gain from nearly a decade of post-Great Recession economic recovery. Here are just a few of the numbers President Trump won’t be tweeting about tonight. Unemployment among African Americans remains at a near-recession level 6.7 per cent, almost twice the unemployment rate of white Americans. Worsening the racial divide, African American families have on average only 10 cents for every dollar of white family net worth.
But what about people who already have jobs, you ask? Let’s start with hourly workers — their wages remained flat in April, even as the basic cost of living expenses increased. That’s not so bad, you say? At the same time, employers also reduced the number of hours given to part-time and hourly employees, cutting their take-home pay even further.
Those flat wages and declining hours aren’t new — wages have been stagnant since President Trump took office. Voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania are already feeling the pinch and, despite the economy working out well for Silicon Valley tech founders and the Wall Street banks that fund them, most Americans saw no benefit from this “stellar” economic readout.
One of President Trump’s key 2016 campaign promises boldly promised to “bring back coal” to states like West Virginia. But today’s jobs report shows no evidence the Trump administration takes that pledge seriously: the mining sector lost jobs again in April, as it has nearly every month since President Trump took office.
President Trump’s economy offers a look at two different Americas. For the Mar-a-Lago Brunch Buffet crowd that fills President Trump’s world, profits are up and the markets are strong. The skies are darker for young workers facing a 13 per cent unemployment rate and a collapse in retail hiring. Or that Trump-supporting family in West Virginia whose water is poisoned by drilling chemicals. Senator Kennedy was right: instead of celebrating a superficially positive jobs report, we must ask ourselves who the government has decided not to celebrate. An economy disproportionately benefiting wealthy, white business owners is not an economy working for the vast majority of the American people.
Trade. Tariffs. Talks collapsing before they begin. Politicians, diplomats and negotiators sniping at each other. No, not Brexit (just for a change) but the US-China trade war.
Maybe our hemisphere’s would-be saviour, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, didn’t pay enough attention in political science class.
A seated President Donald Trump handed commemorative pens to his wife, daughter and eight others who hovered around his desk, then theatrically held up for the cameras the latest executive order bearing his oversize signature.
Ever since Attorney General William Barr released the “principal conclusions” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller›s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Democrats have been bracing — or is it hoping? — for a cover-up.
Dubai has notched up another record in its impressive lineup of sterling achievements. Its unemployment rate reached 0.5 per cent last year, according to the Labour Force Survey 2018 published by the Dubai Statistics Centre. Arif Al Mehairi, Executive Director of Dubai Statistics Centre, said
Donald Trump’s national security chief John Bolton is an equal opportunity warmonger. If he had his way, the US would be at war with North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran — all at once. He supports a policy of exerting “maximum pressure” against these countries with the aim of achieving regime change,
Parliament’s inability to agree a withdrawal deal meant the UK did not leave the EU on 29 March. Theresa May’s government confirmed a new target date of 31 October with Brussels. This gives fresh hope to those wanting Brexit softened, if not cancelled, as progress remains stalled.
I often hear people talk about their difficulties in finding a meaningful job or keeping up with increasing healthcare, housing and education costs. These concerns, along with rising income inequality and a shrinking middle class, are provoking anger. For many, trade and immigration have become convenient villains.