Poor People, Don't You Know You Have Jobs?

It's not Trump you have to worry about. You're thinking short-term.

As people struggle to find third-parties to blame for Hillary Clinton's defeat (pick one or more: Putin, Bernie Bros, Comey, The Media, Electoral Collegians, the Racist/Misogynist Hordes), an amorphous group has emerged as a popular domestic target: poor white people who do not understand how much better they have had it over the last eight years.

These yokels just can't seem to grasp that they have great jobs in a growing economy. The numbers prove it: the U.S stock market is at record highs and unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession.

"Anyone claiming America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction," Obama said in his 2016 State of the Union address. He said his team has created a "more durable, growing economy" with "15 million new private-sector jobs since early 2010." Tim Kaine also used the 15 million jobs talking point in the vice presidential debate.

But the problem isn't jobs per se, it is income inequality.

This is the basis of the sense of economic disenfranchisement that drove many voters to seek change this past election, even if that change meant overlooking Candidate Trump's many shortcomings.

A big part of this inequality is while more Americans are working, more are working part time without benefits. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent.

Coupled with that is what many of those workers see as the failure of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; Obamacare) to live up to its promises. ACA was supposed to be the government supplying a key benefit employers refused to offer to part-timers. People may indeed now have access to insurance, but with high deductibles, they may not have access to healthcare. In addition, because larger employers have to start paying into the ACA fund for each employee who works more than 29 hours a week, employers who offer the most jobs, retail, hospitality, and fast food, have cut most part-timers to 29 hours a week, down from the once-standard 39 hours a week that kept them outside of overtime.

So higher costs and less money. And of course for part-timers, vacation days, sick leave, pensions, child care, and other benefits remain elusive at best. The result is a workforce making up the gaps with multiple jobs, food benefits, and opioids. And they voted against the candidate that made a talking point out of saying she would maintain the status quo that was killing them.

Trump, of course, is unlikely to change much, but he represents change and that apparently was enough for a very large number of voters who still believe government may yet help them.

Their inevitable disappointment is likely to lead one of two ways: a complete giving up, a sad resignation they should be happy they get anything at all, or a rage that will seek out a true demagogue.

For despite all of the apocalyptic prose spewing out of newly-minted Midwestern blue collar experts, Trump is not the antiChrist of American politics. He is a minor celebrity who stumbled into a stream of history, a classic case of being in the right place at the right time.

But keep an eye out in eight years for the next guy. That's the one to fear.