Barack Obama is leaving office after 8 years of his presidency. We can say openly now that this period is far from being the best in the American history. In just a few years US public debt doubled and the economy is beaten to a pulp. After adding trillions in debt we see the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East destabilised. What future policy of the superpower will be in the future? We may know more in November when Americans will vote. Most likely the White House will be presided by either Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton or Republican nominee Donal Trump.
The US is in a very particular point in history. For the first time, the middle class in this country is a minority. American’s society stratification is stretched every single year and growing inequalities are visible. Nearly 70% of citizens using some form of government assistance (welfare, subsidies etc.). This, in turn, creates a huge deficit in government’s budget and we are past the point it could be balanced. The result is a huge public debt.
Using real inflation rate we see that the US economy is shrinking. Countries trying to catch up with Washington (China, Turkey, India and others) aim to limit using of USD in their international trade. Same applies to Russia and the dollar’s international role diminishes.
As you can see from the chart above in the long-term trend for USD share in the global currency reserves is falling. Recently we saw dollar strengthening but with a bigger picture in mind (since the introduction of EUR) it dropped from 71.5% to 64%.
Economically, the US does not impress anyone anymore but militarily it is unparalleled. A wide stream of funds ends up in the purse of the military-industrial complex (MIC). This is why we see American troops simultaneously all over the world in multiple operations with the MIC’s aim to perpetuate existing crises and create new ones.
Russia is presented to be the biggest enemy of the US. Washington successfully destabilised Ukraine leading up to Russian annexation of Crimea. Consequently, Moscow and Washington (with the EU) introduced sanctions against each other. When we mention demonising Russia it is worth noting a peculiar contrast. Important officials like John Kerry, Victoria Nuland visit Moscow on a regular basis and no one insinuates any special connection but Donald Trump is called “friend of Putin” thanks to his business links to Russia.
Coming back to both presidential candidates – both of them are pushing record numbers in terms of dislike and distrust among voters. Clinton has a lot of scandals under her belt while Trump is bashed for his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Clinton, the candidate of the establishment
Hillary Rodham Clinton has been present in American politics for decades. Supported by establishment she enjoys immense media approbation. However, the email scandal and other during the period when Clinton was the Secretary of State, is very hard to be swept under the rug.
According to a State Department Inspector General report, between 2009 and 2013, Clinton used a private server in her home for work-related issues. Over 30 000 emails processed by this server were published by WikiLeaks. Among others, we read about the plans to remove the regime in Syria.
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,” Clinton wrote in one of her emails. From another one, we learn that she supported an idea of attacking Assad’s family.
Based on leaked material we know that Clinton actively opposed Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya by selling weapons to terrorists there. Some of those weapons were used against US soldiers and one of the victims is Chris Stevens – the US ambassador. Revealing former Secretary of State correspondence resulted in American agents working in the Middle East region losing their cover (some died because of this). Therefore, it is hard for Clinton to count on warm words from the intelligence community. James Comey, the FBI director cannot officially accuse Clinton of anything because it would lead to a constitutional crisis. During her FBI interrogation there was no recording device. There is no record nor transcript of this event - far from ordinary procedure. Judge Andrew Napolitano called that situation “unheard of”. This makes verification of Hillary’s public statements virtually impossible.
To finish this topic I will add one more thing. Julian Assange suggested recently (in his interview with Dutch television) that one of the WikiLeaks sources was Seth Rich. Rich, 27-year-old Democratic party member, was murdered in Washington in July. The official cause of death: robbery. The problem is that Rich was found dead with his wallet, watch and credit card untouched.
Another issue that seems to follow Hillary is the Clinton Foundation. Under a cover of helping those in need, Clintons made deals with governments and secured contracts for companies donating to the foundation. A lot of money was given to Bill as a fee for his speeches. One example is a 700 000 USD fee for his speech in Nigeria.
From Charles Ortel who analysed foundation’s books, we know that it has not been audited for years while billions of dollars flowed through this organisation. Official data tells us that Clinton’s foundation received 2 billion USD in total but this number pales in comparison with contributions declared by donors. The spokesperson admitted that some payments were not recorded. The Clinton Foundation received money from Lafarge, French company cooperating with ISIS to maintain their position in the region.
You can see that there is a number of questions left unanswered by Clinton. This, paradoxically, increases her chances of getting elected. A candidate with more ‘dirt’ is easier to control. Not to mention the fact that Clinton has very good relation with military industry and financial sector. The latter helped her campaign with 123 million USD. Trump received 19 000 USD from the same source. This explains why there is always enough money to buy positive media attention.
Democratic Party nominee can unapologetically prolong the period without press conference (over 270 days) during which she could be asked very hard questions. Ultimately, she will have to face Trump during debates. What will be her reaction when he points out some inconvenient truths in front of 70-100 million people? This is not going to be a hearing behind closed doors and every word will be analysed. This time, no network will stop transmission – unlike CNN that has done that few times.
“We couldn’t help her any more than we have. She’s got just a free ride so far from the media… we are the biggest ones promoting her campaign, so it better happen.” Words of Chris Cuomo from CNN make it pretty clear.
Trump – the hammer for political correctness
When a standard of living in a country does not advance while the only news media is serving is about record low unemployment rate and booming stock market, the anger is slowly building in the society. Circumstances like this emulate emergence of someone who ‘tells it like it is’. The Republican Party nomination given to Trump shows that he used this moment. The real estate mogul is far from being anonymous to the public. How exactly did he win the nomination? He used American pride. His slogan about restoring the former greatness of the US perfectly corresponds with how many people feel. It was aimed to those who do not participate in today’s system and are not going to profit off another military conflict the US might entangle itself.
Trump does not have the history in politics like Clinton and this is also why he will be harder to control. The establishment would rather put a Democrat in the presidential seat. To damage the challenger media choose to demonise him. Sometimes his business ties with Russia is enough or his stance about deporting illegal immigrants. The Republican candidate has a tendency to communicate in a way which is very easy for media to present in a negative light. We could say that Trump is one of his own biggest threats in this campaign. You can be sure that if Trump says something controversial, his words will be repeated hundred times by mainstream media.
On the other hand, you have to give it to Trump, many of his remarks hit the nail on the head. During his Detroit rally, Trump presented real data about the state of the American economy (some of you already knew them if you are our reader). He mentioned about 95 million people outside of labour force. Number which goes against the official story of 5% unemployment. Later, mentioned data about homeownership in the US – at a historical low. The Wall Street Journal confirmed his words. The mainstream admitted that official numbers have little to do with the reality around us. Therefore, Trump having media against him still can count on at least 40%. Additionally, Mike Pence the VP on Trump’s ticket is an asset to his campaign. In 2008 Pence was against bailing out banks and right now he is the Governor of Indiana where taxes are regularly cut.
Clinton vs Trump, a head to head comparison
Trade: both Trump and Clinton are critical about today’s trade deals. The Republican candidate wants to renegotiate them and is vociferous about American jobs being exported to other countries.
Taxes: Trump wants to cut taxes. The top bracket of income tax should be lowered to 25% from 39.6%, no real estate tax and cutting corporate tax from 35% to 15%. These changes definitely could help the US be more competitive as taxes today are paid mostly by the SME sector and the average rate paid by the biggest corporations equals 2.6%.
Clinton wants to add another 4% tax for everyone earning over 5 million USD. The effective tax base for households with income above 2 million USD should be at 30%. If rich are not paying their tax share today, Clinton’s plan is not going to improve that. Former Secretary of State suggests also another capital gains tax against those who hold their assets for less than 6 years. She claims this encourages long-term investing.
Social security and healthcare: neither candidate wants any revolution here. Clinton desires to strengthen social spending but she does not address potential effects for the budget. We should mention here Obamacare which decimates wallets of households. Government intervention in another sector led the society into the area of very expensive healthcare. This crucial part of American family’s spending is going to get even more expensive in the future if nothing changes.
Debt: Clinton and Trump want to balance the budget but that seems impossible. Today, spending is over 30% higher than what government squeezes out in taxes. A scale of the cuts would amount to closing at least 90 (out of 180) military bases around the world. On the table, we see two different ideas on how to find money. Trump seems to value unlocking economic potential and I believe this is a way better solution than one offered by Clinton. High taxes never work.
FED and monetary policy: Until inflation shows up, rates should stay at their levels. That is Trump's stance. He probably understands the cataclysmic effect of raising them and chooses to solve debt problem through inflation. Hillary Clinton wants to remove “bankers” from the decision circles in regional FEDs. Knowing her connections with banks it does not sound convincing.
Minimum wage: Trump - $10/hr but preferably States should be given autonomy here. Clinton offered $12/hr and allowing states only to raise this minimum. Worth noting is a fact that costs of living differ immensely across the states. Entertaining their plans about minimum wage we can also think about a $100/hr rate to make everyone a millionaire. Unfortunately, 90% of people would be unemployed then.
If Hillary Clinton wins:
a) the USA is going to continue pressure aimed at military conflict (military-industrial complex plays a huge role here),
b) the most important officials in the financial sector will enjoy continuous support,
c) American debt is going to grow,
d) government intervention will advance into other sectors (the USA, for decades land of the free market economics, under Obama, turned to Socialism. Hillary Clinton will continue this trend),
e) the USA itself is going to lose (people who identify with principles on which this country was built will either not vote at all or vote Trump as someone new. Clinton serves a very small group of people trying to hold onto power).
If Donald Trump wins:
a) relations between Washington and Moscow will normalise,
b) there will be a slight chance to slow down creeping socialism visible in the US,
c) American debt is going to grow,
d) the FBI will not be afraid of launching a full investigation of Hillary Clinton and her email scandal (this has a big chance in putting former Secretary of State in jail).
What we can see in the US now resembles the atmosphere felt during the Brexit referendum. An overwhelming narrative of continuing the old paradigm (in the US it seems even more biased) with vilification of Brexit even by celebrities, forecasting the end of the world. At the end, the UK decided to leave the EU and the world still exists. Why a potential victory of Trump should bring the Armageddon?
On the other hand, if Trump is a real threat to the system, as he claims to be, he would already be ignored with no chances to win the nomination in the first place. This is treatment Dr. Ron Paul was given. We cannot rule out the possibility of Trump buying himself media time to fight with establishment’s methods. There is also a possibility that beneficiaries of today’s system are starting to be afraid of him.
What we know for sure is that two strong groups of interest, the MIC and the financial sector, would do everything to ensure Clinton’s win. This way they can buy another 5 years of the reign of a very small circle. For average Joe, this time is going to be lost.
Independent Trader Team