Donald Trump and his administration have been at the receiving end of passionate denounciations and scorn from many opinion leaders in the media. At the same time Trump’s approval rating among American voters has ranged between 50% and 60%. Here’s a statistical sketch of this American riff-raff and why they may support Trump.
Fully 35% of Americans do not have enough money to live comfortably (english: they can’t make ends meet). That’s more than 110 million people. These Americans have to supplement their cost of living with credit card debt. The Urban Institute reports that this same proportion of Americans (35%) have debt in collections (180 or more days past due). On average, the households that carry credit card debt are over $16,000 in the hole, paying an average interest rate at 16.1% (that’s $2,600 per year just in interest).
95 million Americans aged 16 and older are not in the labor force and one in five households haven’t a single member earning an income. A recent Pew report showed that half of American families have virtually no savings and would have to borrow or sell items to meet a $400 emergency expense! At the same time, 43% of low income Americans went without medical care due to its high cost which has risen to a staggering $9,500 per person per year (on average).
The present system simply isn’t working for a very large segment of the American public. The assorted millionaires who have come out publicly against Trump and his government in the recent weeks may not see far enough past the walls of their estates to appreciate what it must be like to be so broke that you have to borrow at 16% interest to make ends meet, sinking deeper and deeper into debt, having trouble securing enough food for your family and having to forego health care.
When Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS boasts about the all the amazing things they do for refugees on ‘only’ $2,070 they get per refugee from the government (they house them in an appartment for 3 months, provide them with food, medical care, english language tuition and jobs), he fails to grasp that those $2,070 and all the wonderful things that are given freely to refugees represent an unattainable luxury for a very large proportion of ordinary Americans.
It’s easy for wealthy celebrities to profess their love for refugees and compete who hates Trump the most while they ignore the harsh realities of their unprivileged compatriots’ lives. If people like George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, Dan Rather, Peter Oliver, Madonna, George Clooney and other Holywood celebrities wish to practice what they preach, perhaps they ought to open their estates to the refugees, let their bodyguards go and immerse themselves fully in love, diversity and tolerance they advocate on behalf of everyone else.
Alex Krainer is an author and hedge fund manager based in Monaco. Recently he has published the book “Mastering Uncertainty in Commodities Trading“.