The rehabilitation of Trump – stepping up the economic offensive

Brass band greets Trump in Davos

By Bridget Anderson

Donald Trump used his speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos on 26 January to set the agenda for a new offensive against the working class and oppressed globally, by rallying the bourgeoisie to a virulent neo-liberal framework.

Having spent his first year as President attacking women, Black people and Muslims, and undermining international efforts to tackle climate change, Trump is now also turning to a generalised assault on the living standards of the overwhelmingly majority of the population – not just in the US but across the world.

Trump’s speech was a sales pitch for his huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich. He urged the CEOs in attendance at Davos to take full advantage of lowering of tax rates and invest their money in the US instead of elsewhere.

The majority of the US population will not benefit from Trump’s tax cuts. Contracting state expenditure will inevitably lead to cuts to social provision press down further on living standards.

Trump at Davos set this out as a new model to be advanced beyond the US, encouraging a global low tax offensive which threatens the working class and oppressed internationally.

The Davos elite duly and unsurprisingly rallied to Trump’s more aggressive neo-liberalism and a determined effort has commenced to rehabilitate him.

The tone was set with Trump’s dramatic entrance to the Davos Forum, arriving on stage accompanied by a marching band. It was a hero’s welcome – or as the CNN dubbed it, a ‘rock star reception.’

The founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab used his introduction ahead of Trump’s speech to suggest that the US President had been somewhat misrepresented over the course of the past year, stating ‘I’m aware that your strong leadership is open to misconceptions and biased interpretations.’ Schwab congratulated Trump on his ‘historic’ tax reforms. The message couldn’t be clearer: forget Trump’s sexism, racism, Islamophobia and climate change denial – he is cutting taxes for capitalists and for that he deserves nothing less than fullsome support.

In response to Trump’s speech there was a gush of warm words from Chief Executives, declaring their desire to expand their business in America and take full advantage of the ‘pro-business’ environment that the US government is creating.

Trump’s intervention at Davos this year was in part a riposte to the framework set out by China last year.

Trump’s global vision of an aggressive neo-liberalism starkly contrasts to the ‘win-win’ globalisation agenda being put forward by China. Last year at Davos Chinese President Xi Jingping promoted China’s vision of a new model of globalisation which focuses on mutual development across the world and stopping climate change. An important economic element of that agenda is China’s One Belt One Road initiative – which will see hundreds of billions of dollars invested by China in developments across Central Asia and extending into the Mideast, Europe and eastern African, which will assist economic growth and contribute to raising living standards in several continents.

Internationally the bourgeoisie are enthusiastically welcoming this new global offering from Trump. He is already getting a better press from the Western media.

As part of this rehabilitation of Trump, in Britain press coverage of his likely visit later this year is increasingly favourable – attempting to dampen down public opposition to his visit.

However, there is a steep hill to climb for those seeking to reverse Trump’s unpopularity across the world. After his first year in office the US’ international prestige has suffered. According to a new Gallup poll of worldwide approval rating – a survey of 134 countries – there has been a record collapse of approval for the US role in the world, from 48% under Obama to 30% with Trump this year.

Within the UK confidence in US leadership dropped sharply by 26% with 63% expressing disapproval.

Trump’s tax cuts were a gift to the Davos elite, but herald a global offensive against the majority of people.