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Sanders/Trump: The 2016 Anti-Establishment Ticket

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The front-running establishment candidates, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio, are both in favour of expanding the H1B-visa program. This is perhaps unsurprising considering Microsoft, who has been lobbying for this expansion, has given hundreds of thousands to Clinton and is Rubio's second-biggest donor.

On the topic of free trade and trade deals, there are also a lot of similarities between Sanders and Trump. They both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Sanders because he believes it benefits large corporations at the expense of workers and consumers while Trump argues it is just a bad deal and needs to be redone to benefit the US more. To her credit, Clinton has finally reversed her position on the deal now that it is clear the public doesn't much care for it. The other Republicans except Cruz are for it.

The offshoring of manufacturing jobs from the US has always been a troubling thing. As the world's richest market, they were letting companies access that market despite having moved all their jobs and associated tax revenue provided by these jobs overseas, along with the technological know-how that comes from having the companies operate in your country. The large transnational companies loved getting to benefit from what the US was while contributing nothing to it except cheap consumer goods. This, of course, has meant that most of the US political class has also always supported free trade regardless of what their constituents wanted.

Neither Trump nor Sanders like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or many of the other free-trade agreements the US has made and I personally agree. Free trade works between similar countries that have similar environmental and labour standards. This means fair competition which increases innovation and efficiency. All to the good.

The fact is, though, that no one can compete with workers in a country who are practically slave labour and where the environment is being rapidly sacrificed in order to gain short-term attractiveness to investment. It also doesn't work if countries engage in currency manipulation in order to reduce their imports and make their own exports more attractive. Engaging in trade without defending yourself from these variables means a race to the bottom with the suppression of our own wages and the destruction of our labour/environmental protections.

Despite all the theories stating that free trade between everyone is always good (theories that just always happen to benefit the largest owners of capital), in fighting for the TPP, Obama has specifically had to state that the TPP isn't NAFTA and won't be as bad for American workers. Considering NAFTA was passed under Bill Clinton, a president from his own party, the fact Obama was publicly forced to admit it failed the American people is a testament to its crappiness.

Transnational companies aren't loyal to the US in the same way national ones are. What is good for the US isn't necessarily good for them and vice versa. While their donations may be able to buy the support of the other candidates, Sanders and Trump are of the mind that you can't keep doing the same thing while expecting different results, economic theories be damned.

Both Sanders and Trump also want to take on Wall Street. Their populist rhetoric is strong and neither take any donations from them meaning their hands aren't tied. This is unlike Hillary Clinton who has big banks as four out of her top six donors or Marco Rubio who has Goldman Sachs as his top donor. Trump and Sanders both seem to agree with the quote at the top of this article. The system is rigged and those reaping most of the benefits aren't doing so because they are the hardest workers or the most innovative. They are doing so because they are the most politically connected or unethical.

This situation is frankly disgusting. There was only one arrest after the 2008 Financial Crisis almost destroyed the world economy and the Dodd-Frank bank reform was so watered down by Wall Street lobbyists that the "Too Big to Fail" banks are now larger than ever. This isn't even looking at the enormous derivatives house of cards, worth trillions of dollars, that could dump us into another crisis, possibly far worse than last time.

Sanders has been clear he would demand the break-up of the banks into small pieces which could then be allowed to fail according to the normal rules of capitalism without breaking the system. He would also put restrictions on banker bonuses, raise taxes on the rich and tax high-speed trading that is often argued to destabilize the financial system. Trump has also waxed angrily at Wall Street. He's said hedge-fund managers are getting away with murder and wants to close their tax loopholes in addition to raising taxes on the very rich.

Another point of agreement, both men desire campaign-finance reform. They are against the 2010 Citizens United court decision that allowed for the unlimited donating of money into US elections from super-PACs in the form of political advertising. Considering this amounts to legalized bribery, it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't find it an affront to democracy and want to get rid of it.

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Adam Smith Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

25 year-old Canadian student, currently attaining my masters in political science. Work with mentally disabled individuals for employment. Try to be politically involved. A card-carrying member of the provincial and federal green parties of Canada. (more...)
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