Pennsylvania middle class for Trump Mark Makela/Stringer

Donald Trump en het gevoel van macht

NEW HAVEN – De nieuwe Amerikaanse president Donald Trump heeft deels campagne gevoerd met een voorstel om de belastingen drastisch te verlagen voor mensen met hoge inkomens, een groep waarvan de leden dikwijls een elite-opleiding hebben genoten. En toch komt de meest enthousiaste steun voor hem doorgaans van mensen met gemiddelde en stagnerende inkomens, en een laag opleidingsniveau. Hoe zit dat?

De overwinning van Trump lijkt duidelijk het gevolg van een gevoel van economische machteloosheid, of de angst om macht te verliezen, onder zijn aanhangers. Voor hen klinkt zijn eenvoudige slogan “Make America great again” (“Maak Amerika weer groot”) als “Make YOU great again”: de economische macht zal aan de massa worden gegeven, zonder ook maar iets af te hoeven nemen van degenen die al succesvol zijn.

Degenen die zich aan de onderkant bevinden van de steeds breder wordende kloof van de economische ongelijkheid willen geen overheidsbeleid dat op hen overkomt als een aalmoes. Zij willen over het algemeen niet dat de regering het belastingstelsel progressiever maakt, en dat de rijken stevig worden belast om het geld aan de minder bedeelden ten goede te laten komen. Herverdeling voelt vernederend aan. Het voelt alsof je tot een mislukkeling wordt bestempeld. Het voelt instabiel. Het voelt alsof je vast komt te zitten in een afhankelijkheidsrelatie, die ieder moment kan instorten.

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