Donald Trump, never lacking in self-esteem, bragged in 2016: “I know words — I have the best words.”
Well, sometimes he does put together a coherent sentence, using some very fine words that convey great promise, such as this one: “I’m going to fight for every person in this country who believes government should serve the people — not the donors and special interests.” And, if those words are too highbrow for you, Trump made the same promise with some punchier words, declaring he would “drain the swamp” to rid Washington of those creepy, crawly corporate lobbyists.
Excellent words! But words only matter if the speaker actually means them, backing their rhetorical promise with action. As we’ve seen though, far from draining the swamp, this president proceeded immediately to convert the White House itself into a fetid cesspool of self-serving corporate executives, lobbyists, and banksters.
His transition team was almost exclusively made up of those swamp critters. His $100-million, glitzy inaugural celebration was bankrolled by Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Pharma and other Bigs that attached their legislative and regulatory demands to the checks they donated. Most of his cabinet members, agency heads and top aides came straight out of Wall Street and corporate suites, turning Trump’s government into a gold-plated sump pump that’s routinely funneling trillions of our dollars and thousands of special favors to the moneyed elite.
Asked why he appointed only multimillionaire Wall Street hucksters to design and administer his economic policy, he offered this scramble of words that inadvertently revealed his true, plutocratic soul: “I love all people, rich or poor. But in these positions, I just don’t want a poor person.”
Really? Not even one official who understands poverty from firsthand experience, rather than from the bias of right-wing ideologues? And what about those hard-hit middle-class workers Trump always talks about? Nope. He’s not appointed even one to a top policy position. So, forget Trump’s words. If the poor and middle class aren’t in his government, they’re neither in his heart nor in his policies.
It’s odd that Washington Republicans are so publicly high-fiving each other and loudly crowing about their strictly partisan passage last December of the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax law. Odd, because the people outside of Washington hate that law.
Yes, hate. With a dismal public approval rating of only 30 percent, the GOP’s trillion dollar Christmas present to multinational corporations and multimillionaires has been tagged by a top surveyor of public opinion as Congress’ second-most disliked domestic bill in the past quarter-century. Second only to the Trump-McConnell-Ryan trio’s attempts last year to take away the healthcare coverage of 23 million Americans – a mingy move that only 23 percent of the public supports.
Why do these doofuses keep trying to shove such wildly unpopular measures down people’s throats? Because, as The Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky succinctly explained, “They are serving their mega-rich donors and the most extreme elements of their base.” In today’s rigged, convoluted political system, the special interests of the narrow minority trumps the will of the great majority.
That is where America’s fast-expanding, socially destructive inequality comes from. The tax giveaway to the corporations, for example, guts our public treasury, so the Republican Congress, White House, and army of corporate lobbyists are now demanding cuts in the Social Security, Medicare, and other essential programs the majority of us need.
To pretend that they give a damn, the plutocratic powers are presently pulling a trickle-down PR trick on us. The GOP’s bill drastically reduced their taxes and increases many of ours, so to dodge public fury, they’re making a show of awarding a tiny portion of their bonanza to workers — not as pay raises, but as one-time “bonus” payments. Bank of America, for example, is doling out about $130 million in worker bonuses, while keeping $2.6 billion it will get next year alone from Trump’s tax bill.
If the corporate-GOP syndicate wonders why they’re so despised, there it is.
Populist author, public speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.