‘Trump political base hit hardest by coronavirus’


President Trump and Thomas J Philipson, chair of White House council of economic advisers (top right) with (bottom right) Vice-President Mike Pence and economic advisor Kevin Hassett, White House Rose Garden, 5 June 2020Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tomas Philipson (high proper) says low-wage earners have been hit the toughest by the coronavirus pandemic

The financial affect of the coronavirus has taken a heavier toll on low-wage earners in line with Tomas J Philipson, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

In an unique interview with the BBC earlier than his reported departure, he mentioned: “There’s a sort of unique impact of this shock in that its very regressive, hitting the low wage part of the economy. Low-wage workers take a bigger hit than higher wage”.

The virus has derailed any progress the US was making in elevating the living requirements of these on low pay, Prof Philipson mentioned in an interview for Coronavirus: The Economic Shock, through which among the world’s main economists and enterprise leaders take a look at how the gravest financial downturn in nearly 100 years could change the way in which we dwell and work.

“We had enormous success in growing lower wages before the pandemic struck, so this has taken a very regressive toll on the economy,” he argues.

This has political implications for the upcoming November election as President Trump enjoys far larger help amongst non-college educated voters – usually used as a proxy for low vs excessive wage earners – than amongst those that have school levels.

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Image caption President Trump enjoys excessive help amongst non-college educated voters

Prof Philipson additionally performs down the probabilities of a speedy financial restoration. “I’m not saying we are going to have a v-shaped recovery, in fact the data shows a sort of gradual response.”

However, he additionally defends the United States’ response to the pandemic and locations among the accountability Covid-19 within the US on the doorways of state governors.

“We were the first country to introduce travel bans from China and were criticised for that. Many state governments run by Democratic governors did not act before the federal government, even though they were free to do so.”

He disagrees {that a} rise in US financial nationalism has been dangerous to the world financial system. “I think China was justifiably demonised in the sense that we treated them a lot better selling stuff here than they treated us selling stuff there. I think the president has done a lot to balance that”.

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Image caption Prof Niall Ferguson says the US and China at the moment are in a chilly warfare

Niall Ferguson, professor of historical past at Stanford University says the virus has seen financial tensions between the world’s two greatest economies change into greater than a commerce dispute. “It appears to me fairly clear that we’re now in ‘Cold War Two’.

“It’s going to be completely different from ‘Cold War One’, not least as a result of the US and the Soviet Union had been by no means as economically interdependent because the US and China have change into over the past 20 years.

“It’s hard to think of a better illustration of the downsides of globalisation than the extreme vulnerability it exposed to a virus that originated in in China.”This has, he believes, enormous financial implications for the complete interconnectedness of the world financial system and subsequently the dimensions and the well being of the worldwide financial system.

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Image caption Ursula Burns: Business is an ally within the struggle in opposition to inequality

Globalisation has been credited with lifting a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of individuals out of poverty however has additionally been blamed for deepening inequality inside international locations. The virus has operated like an X-ray on the worldwide financial physique and its revealed weaknesses and imbalances alongside financial, gender and ethnic fault strains.

Ursula Burns was the primary African American lady to take a seat on the board of a Fortune 500 firm and he or she now sits on the boards of Nestle, Uber and ExxonMobil. She says enterprise is rising as an unlikely and welcome ally within the struggle in opposition to inequality that she says the pandemic has laid naked.

“Amazingly enough, business is starting to be at the centre of that conversation. At the centre because governments around the world are not articulate enough or sensitive enough or informed enough to contribute positively to this conversation. So out of nowhere, businesses start to change the discourse in the world.”

Will enterprise step up? Or will the struggle for survival imply savage cost-cutting and mass redundancies compounding the issues of inequality?

The International Labour Organization estimates that the equal of 305 million full-time jobs may very well be misplaced worldwide within the second three months of this 12 months. The ILO says 1.6 billion employees within the casual financial system -nearly half of the worldwide workforce – are in rapid hazard of dropping their livelihoods.

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Image caption Tony Elumelu: Many in Africa face a stark selection, of risking dying of starvation or from Covid-19

In growing international locations, the place authorities security nets are weak and the place economies are significantly susceptible, issues could also be significantly robust.

It is some extent made by Tony Elumelu, who’s one in every of Africa’s most influential businessmen. He is a billionaire banker and founding father of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which invests in start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) throughout the continent.

“We have endemic poverty in Africa. Over 80% of our population live from hand to mouth. They go out, they die of Covid. They sit at home, they die of hunger. Then what is better for them to do? It is a bad situation but it gives us all the opportunity to re-set.”

Big enterprise – world companies – appear able to reset too. The chairman of Tata Group, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, and Nissan’s chief working officer, Ashwani Gupta, each consider world enterprise is within the midst of a long-term rethink on how employers organise their workforce and the way provide chains and assets will function. They counsel sustainability could change into extra of a spotlight.

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Image caption Natarajan Chandrasekaran: Global enterprise is rethinking the way it operates

In a outstanding broadcasting second, Mr Chandrasekaran – a titan of worldwide enterprise – regarded out throughout Mumbai and mirrored on the change. “You can hear the birds. We can breathe fresh air… on a clear day we can see the stars.”

So will the world grasp this chance to alter how the world financial system works and deal with urgent challenges that embody world inequality and local weather change?

Or when the well being crises passes will issues return to method they had been? Will we miss a possibility to alter how the worldwide financial system capabilities for the welfare of us all?

Coronavirus: the Economic Shock is offered by Simon Jack and produced by Kirsty MacKenzie. It contains the ideas of Nissan’s COO Ashwani Gupta, Nobel prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Tata’s chairman Tata Natarajan Chandrasekaran; former UK prime minister Tony Blair, and Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the chief financial advisor to Indian PM Narendra Modi. It is broadcast on BBC Sounds and BBC World Service.