A friend of mine were out last night and might have found ourselves in a political discussion with two men at the bar. One was arguing pro Trump, the other was arguing pro Clinton. The pro Clinton person was telling the Pro Trump guy to give any example of her lying. So, my friend, being informed as he is, listed examples. The pro Trump guy began telling us that’s why we needed a businessman in the White House rather than a politician.
I asked was his (Trump’s) response to the Brexit was going to be, how he intended on handling that.
“That was the best thing that Britain could have done for their country,” said Trump guy.
“They needed their country back and so they took it back.”
Oh this poor guy had no idea what he was in for.
“Actually,” I began. “At a glimpse, that is absolutely as it seems. However, the problem was much more than that. What’s more, their reaction has a huge implication for the rest of the world that we all need to be aware of so that we can learn from it.”
I went on to say my spiel, which is what I bestow onto now, dear reader.
In 2009, the UK fell into a recession, which brought the US as well as various other countries into a recession. While most of the other countries figured out ways to recover, the UK didn’t, in full. While it’s better than it was, the unemployment rate is still below what is comfortable. What’s more, as a result of trying to compensate for unemployment programs, as well as greedy insurance companies, their universal healthcare system, the NHS, is being threatened.
Now, the whole time I was living there, from 2005-2009, people were complaining about Polish people coming over to work, much like many Americans complain about Mexicans coming and “taking jobs”. It’s the same deal: it’s a scapegoat which diverts from the real issue. Though, I suppose before I get into that, I should give some background as to what it means to be a part of the EU (for the UK).
The European Union was created just after the Cold War in an effort to bring up Europe’s countries’ economies. The UK annually spends about £5 billion after their various discounts (though the amount initially starts at £13 billion). What this means for the UK and those in the EU is the ability to freely trade with other countries in the EU. This is called the Common Wealth. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are also a part of the Common Wealth since they’re also under the British queen’s rule as well. Countries that are a part of this also allow their citizens to be able to live and work anywhere else in the Common Wealth. So, in my case, because I’m a dual citizen and hold a British passport, I can live and work in Canada, France, Germany, Australia, etc.
There were just as many people from the UK taking advantage of what the UK’s membership to the EU entailed as were EU citizens. There were just as many people leaving the UK to live and work and do business in other European countries as were people coming into the UK.
When the Brexit was first suggested, many people wanted it because of what the Trump supporter was saying, to take their country back. However, as I mentioned before, there was another aspect about it: the loss of healthcare. And those who voted to leave who were educated and not voting out of racism and hate, were voting out of fear of losing universal health care—which is a legitimate concern. A much smaller percentage, those who were doing business between various countries, were concerned about the regulations on trade that the EU had, stating that they were ridiculous and just didn’t want to deal with them (I won’t lie, I know little on that end).
There were two leaders that were rallying the leave of the EU: Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn was the loudest about the NHS, even going so far as to place large advertisements on the sides of double-decker buses stating that leaving the EU would save the NHS. As soon as the votes were in, he back-peddled, saying that the amount of money saved by staying out of the EU was not enough to save the NHS, and that it was likely to be privatized anyway.
Many people in the UK saw this as an opportunity to be as racist and spiteful to anyone they thought wasn’t of the United Kingdom, and bullying from strangers has risen.
The Brexit Effect
During the counting of the votes, I watched the worth of the pound drop $0.20 to the pound. This is a huge drop in currency for just one night. Since then, it’s crawled back up another five cents or so, but for the most part, it’s still far lower than it should be.
What does this have to do with the U.S.? What does this have to do with Trump or Clinton, or any other potential president elect?
The UK is heading into a recession as a result. With the drop of their pound, and the severing of trades, basic living costs will go up, such as imported foods that are common staples. Countries who have ties with the UK will also go into a recession due to lack of trade. But more than that, we, in the US, will go into a recession.
I’ve seen various numbers thrown around of how much debt the US is in. The last time I personally looked and didn’t rely on a politician’s quote was $17 billion, though Trump states that we’re coming up to being $21 billion in debt (not sure I should trust that number, but still, both numbers are staggering). We are in debt to many powerful countries as well.
To get back on our feet, we might borrow more money. Or, because we’re hitting a recession and have trading ties with so many other countries, those countries might go into a recession as well. And when countries that are lending out money go into a recession, they want their money back. So, when China demands back all the money that we’ve borrowed from them while we’re in a recession, it could sink us into a Depression.
That’s the bottom line of it. We are potentially facing a Depression as a result of the Brexit.
So we need to ask these people who are using every trick they can find to getting to be our leader, what it is they intend to do in response to the Brexit. In the outside, without ever hearing Trump speak, without ever knowing a damn thing about him other than he’s rich, he might be considered a good person for this task–after all, he’s got a very successful business and knows how to handle money.
Except for the part where he doesn’t, because he’s had to file for bankruptcy four times. That does not make for a good leader when our economy is facing a potentially huge drop.
So what about Clinton? She will certainly fight it, and I do mean fight. She’s war hungry, and if presidents of the past have taught us anything, there’s money to be found in war. After all, during the First and Second World Wars, the US did alright for themselves: it created jobs because we needed to manufacture our guns and uniforms and boots and vehicles. It did in fact generate US jobs, therefore, there’s money in war.
Except that there isn’t. That’s what got us into all this insane debt to other countries in the first place. Granted, Bill Clinton worked hard to get us for the most part out of debt, but after that, it was found by the Bush administration that in some logic that I don’t claim to understand, there is money in fighting for oil–or rather, there’s money in oil, and thus we need to fight for it. But somehow it was twisted in a way (and please please please feel free to correct me on this one) that there was money in the war itself, in sending and paying people to die, in buying weapons, in the fuel used for the machinery and so on. We aren’t necessarily creating the things we were create before here in the US. Some of it is manufactured here, but much of it isn’t, and is imported from everywhere including South Korea, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, and so on. It’s also raising the question of national security, but I’ll let you follow the link to delve into that one further.
However, it remains clear that the Brexit is not just some cute thing the UK did to get their country back; it’s something which affects the entire world, and that includes us. So we have to ask Clinton and Trump and anyone else running for the job position of POTUS: How do you respond to the Brexit?
After my spiel to this Trump supporter, who very patiently listened to me, he looked at me. He said, “When you and I go home and are getting ready for bed,” (I nearly threw my drink at him because I thought he was being crass, but then realized he wasn’t and I was just on guard), “and we look in the mirror, how do we know that we’re right?”
“Well, I consider my experience and research that I’ve done.”
“But I’m 62 years old, and I have a lot more experience than you. How do you know you’re right?”
“I don’t. I very well could be wrong. I can only go based off my experience.”
“That’s what I thought.”
And that was the end of that conversation. What he took away from that lecture I presented to him, I have no idea. He might have just thought I was some up-myself girl who wanted to prove she could talk with the big boys, and thought it to be cute. He might have just shrugged it off as too big of a picture to take in. Or maybe he’ll consider it, research what I have to say to determine that I’m wrong. I hope I am, but I don’t think that I am. Either way, these are the bigger questions we need to be considering and talking about.
Before I left, I shook his hand, and thanked him for the discussion, to show him I wasn’t attacking him, just trying to share ideas.