Trump, the raider of the lost nuke economy.
Trump, the raider of the lost nuke economy. overcrew/

I am not at all surprised that president-elect Donald Trump is talking about nuclear weapons. He has promised to grow the economy faster than Obama did, and that will not happen with this business of granting massive tax cuts. The fact of the matter is the kind of capitalism we have can not be sustained by the market or tax cuts. It needs huge fiscal support from the government. Without this support, it will revert to where it was in the 1930s, which is to say: the verge of democratic socialism.

So, Keynesianism (the government providing demand for markets—or the government sustaining capitalism) never died, as so many orthodox economists claimed in the 1990s. It is with us to this day. The government must spend money to keep things going, which is not really round and round (as in "let the dollars circulate," again a form of socialism), but going to the top, which is really all that's left of original capitalism (pre-World War 2, laissez faire), as its other defining aspects have been assumed by the state. (Read Mariana Mazzucato's Entrepreneurial State.)

Trump knows this. The system-sustaining spending can be directed at social services (Obamacare, for example—but this leads to democratic socialism), infrastructure (roads for the auto industry), or the military. Politically, the third option is the most realistic and palatable for the right. But we do not have any wars that can justify an aggressive expansion of the military budget, and Americans have not forgotten Iraq and are still dealing with Afghanistan (both wars being Bush's solution to the government/demand problem).

So, what to do? A little archaeology. Dig up nuclear weapons, which have now become ancient history (at least in the minds of most Americans—even Dan had to do counter digging to come up with a cultural answer to Trump's economic plan, The Day After), and reactivate them, and, as a consequence, reactivate a war that does not really happen (an arms race) but is still expensive. Trump's hope? A negative Keynesianism that buys capitalism in its current form more time for the next election.