The bad news about this budget (PDF), which basically attacks the poor, and gives money to the rich and the military (the latter being protection money) is not it's severity but its inevitability. Nothing could have stopped it from being presented to lawmakers, and nothing will stop it from becoming the law of the land. In this post, I'm going to say it like it is.

This is our future: a reversion to a 19th century class structure: the ten percent (which includes the one percent) and the rest (the working and not working poor). The structure would most likely have persisted uninterrupted from then to today had it not been for two massive wars and an economic crash in the first half of the 20th century. This is made clear in the pages of the most important economics book of our times, Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

The rise of the middle class in the West had nothing to do with progress—meaning, the surplus wealth in capitalist societies wasn't overflowing and swelling the lower class. Even by 1914, the ruling ideology maintained that the poor had to still wait for the rich to accumulate enough wealth. There wasn't enough even then, after 200 years of waiting.

What made the middle class possible was a direct and bitter transfer of wealth from the one percent to the 90 percent. This happened in Europe and the US. And what made the transfer possible was only this: the one percent was finally brought down to its knees and hands after the Second World War. It was wobbly after the crash of 1928 (as exampled by the strong resistance to the New Deal), but still on its feet. It was still standing but dusting off its coat after the First World War (as exampled by the quick restoration of the cross of gold—the gold standard). In 1947, the one percent had to submit to social democracy to avoid socialism. And social democracy is basically Keynesianism, an economic program that increases government spending and social services but preserves the market economy.

At first, the rich were happy with Keynesianism—big government and big middle class (which was mostly white). Both provided strong demand for the market economy. But eventually the social democratic system became saturated, and profits started to fall. What to do about this crisis for the rich? Live happily ever after (no to slow growth—1 percent per year—and inching profits), or attack labor and government and revive sprinting profits? The latter has been the program since the 1980s; and it has also meant a return to the class forms that prevailed in the US and Europe before the First World War.

So, the bad news that no leftist economist is willing to say because it is such a bummer: the period between 1945 and 1980 (the expansion of government and middle class) was an anomaly. And Piketty says this exactly. It is at the center of his book. But he doesn't explore or explain it's terrible significance. There is no real progress in capitalism. There is nothing in it that naturally diffuses. Without political intervention, it is a centripetal rather than centrifugal force. Capitalism is not anything like Bataille's sun. It's not a pure giver.

What's abnormal is a society that has a large section of its population receiving living wages. What's normal, according to the historical record, is found in Trump's budget.