“But some of us are not content to have a gap in opportunity and income that drives a wedge between rich and poor, causing the rich to become ever more callous and complacent and the poor to become ever more wretched…” Alice Walker
With every Trump Cabinet or advisory appointment I become more convinced that we are in for an orgy of crony capitalism. As if the oligarchs needed more power than they have already, corporations, hedge fund managers, the finance, insurance and real estate industry, and resource extractors, will wade into the public sphere up to their chests, and squeeze even more private gain from public assets.
Trump is loading his Cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, characters like Trump himself, who believe the rich are better and more deserving that the rest of us. Because of this belief, the Trump Gang will hardly bother to disguise their intentions -- they will simply pillage our nation, impoverish our future, and exacerbate human caused climate disruption. Of this I have no doubt. We are in for at least two years of staggering rip-offs and ethical malfeasance.
Nomi Prins, a writer who knows a few things about Wall Street, calls Trump’s Cabinet picks one of the great bait-and-switch jobs in US history. Like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama -- and Hillary if she had prevailed in the undemocratic electoral college -- Trump says one thing and does the exact opposite. For instance, he talked a lot about bringing jobs back to America, and then nominates for Secretary of Labor a corporatist hostile to workers in general and what’s left of organized labor in particular. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were masters of this bait and switch, gifted orators who made you think they understood your problems, pain, anguish and hopes, so much so that you hardly felt it when they plunged the dagger in your back.
Trump is more direct, less polished and urbane. Trump embodies the worst traits of the capitalist system -- an insatiable hunger for money and power, a hunger that recognizes no boundaries or limits, a hunger incapable of regulating itself.
Someone, I think it was Chris Hedges, said that regardless of who sits in the Oval Office our corporate system functions quite independently, pursues similar neoliberal policies designed to either protect the wealthy from taxes and regulations or transfer money to the wealthy. The challenge for the rest of us -- if we are to mount a credible resistance -- is to critique the system of power and wealth concentration, not the personalities the system vomits up. This will not be easy because the corporate media rarely -- very rarely -- allows any critique of American-style capitalism. Instead, capitalism is deemed to be the only possible system, as sacrosanct and unassailable as the notion of American exceptionalism.
The concentration of wealth into few hands over the past 40 years has strangled our democracy and rendered millions of people disposable. The Trump Gang will deepen our class and racial problems and immiserate even more of our citizens in misery.
Hold on, it’s going to be ugly and mean.