The statistics that show the bitter reality of inequality in the US – and why Donald Trump became president

Millions of Americans live in financial precarity. This goes a long way to explaining the country’s current political turmoil

Hamish McRae
Tuesday 28 May 2019 18:32 BST
The president has tapped into something that many of his opponents have yet to appreciate
The president has tapped into something that many of his opponents have yet to appreciate (AFP/Getty)

It always seems strange to anyone visiting Washington – particularly its prosperous, leafy Northwest quadrant – that so much of the rest of the country should support the economic policies of Donald Trump. He inherited a long expansion of the economy, this summer the longest ever, but his trade policies have had the effect of hitting farmers, and to some extent at least increasing prices for all.

All politics have a tribal element and in ultra-Democrat Washington almost anything that this president does is going to be derided. But that does not explain the sense of bewilderment here that anyone should support him. He does have a net negative rating in the polls, but according to Rasmussen 46 per cent of voters do approve of his performance.

Maybe the Federal Reserve gives some clues. Most of the news it generates is about monetary policy but it also does thorough and unbiased research. Earlier this month it produced its latest version of its annual study on wellbeing in the US. The message in a nutshell is while much of the country is doing well there are large areas that are not. And even in the places that are doing well, there are people doing badly.

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