US president Donald Trump: his economic policies are all about empowering ethically challenged businesses to cheat and exploit the little guy [Image: Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty].

People keep saying that Donald Trump is a populist. I do not think that word means what they think it means.

Okay, it’s true that the so-called president – hey, if he can say that about a judge who ruled against him, surely we can say that about him – is channelling the racism and bigotry of some ordinary Americans, and in so doing sticking it to squeamish elites that take the US constitution both seriously and literally. But so far his economic policies are all about empowering ethically challenged businesses to cheat and exploit the little guy.

In particular, he and his allies in Congress are making it a priority to unravel financial reform – and specifically the parts of financial reform that protect consumers against predators.

Last week, Trump released a memorandum calling on the department of labour to reconsider its new “fiduciary rule”, which requires financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests – as opposed to, say, steering them into investments on which the advisers get big commissions.

Source: Paul Krugman: Trump’s economic policy is about screwing the little guy

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