All Things come to an end, but that doesn’t mean an end to All Things. There is a natural progression, where a fresh perspective is given its chance to shine. This is true of individuals, societies, and corporations. An interesting feature of Western Civilization, is the reluctance to Change, or natural transition. From the Greco-Roman Era to the present, we find examples of Social Decay brought on by prolonged decadence.
When a fresh perspective or alternative philosophy rises up to challenge “The Institution”, we find The Elders of those societies willing to risk the destruction of their Culture in an effort to maintain the status quo. What I find unique about The Industrial Age, is the phenomenon of ‘Money Men’ prolonging a long dead socioeconomic system through manipulation of The Masses by means of War and Depression. But in the end, Nature always prevails.
In other words, We are living in “interesting times”. The Trump Administration is already adopting a Culture of Distraction. The constant tweets, conflicts of interest, and controversial cabinet picks are exacerbated by the nagging possibility of a Russian connection. After 8 years of progressive minded politics, this has the real feel of a return to a Policy of Decay; Old School Energy, Economics, and Values. It’s like a Social regurgitation of The Obama Legacy.
From a historical perspective, The Trump Administration appears to be working from Woodrow Wilson’s old playbook:
- Fear Peddling- Thinly veiled excuses to exercise force under guise of Law and Order domestically, and Democracy globally. The goal is scaring The Masses into trading Freedom for Security.
- Pseudo Protectionism- America First, Buy American/ Hire American rhetoric backed by plutocratic actions like deregulation of Dodd- Frank, and ACA.
- Escalation of Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural bigotry, amid claims of Exceptional Tolerance
- The literal use of the ‘Bully Pulpit’ to chastise The Press, manipulate The Stock Market, and stir up Global Opinion.
*As The Trump Administration embodies the spirit of The Woodrow Wilson Era, Bernie Sanders embodies the spirit of Eugene V. Debs.
President Trump is still declaring that he will ‘drain the swamp’, but it looks like he’s adding more than subtracting. His Billionaire Dream Team has a collective net worth higher than the bottom 1/3 of the American Population. It’s still early, but ‘The Trump Agenda’ looks like Rich Old Men stealing the future health, wealth, and resources of The Young; using opportunistic Middle agers as lever pullers.
The President also declared that he would bring jobs home from Mexico and China, but chose to cut spending to Renewable Energy. China currently represents over 40% All Jobs in Renewables, while The U.S. is under 10%. Clearly a growth industry. While President Trump and Co. double down on 20th Century Energy, China believes their $360B investment in Renewables by 2020, will create 13 Million jobs.
The President paints the gloomy picture of a $19T deficit, highlighting $6T of wasteful spending in The Middle East. However, in the next breath, he announces his plan to give Businesses a “Huge” tax cut; plus massive tax relief for The Middle Class, and a $1T Infrastructure Project to create millions of jobs… How? The ‘Marketer In Chief’ is great with broad strokes, but is lacking on the details. Regarding his Address to Congress, did anyone doubt The President’s ability to give a good Sales Presentation?
The Real Danger of Donald Trump, is the fact that some of his outlandish comments are shrouded around nuggets of irrefutable truth.
In his Address to Congress, President Trump touched on the Legacy of Lincoln. He spotlights the 1876 American Centennial in Philadelphia as the culmination of that legacy. He goes on to tout the Inventors and inventions of the time. He waxes poetic about American individualism, and what America could look like for it’s 250th Anniversary. At the same time, he completely ignores The Crown Jewel of The Centennial – The American System of Economics. An economic system “not based on exploitation of resources to exhaustion”, rooted in the philosophy that All Wo/Men are created equal.
This is telling, because President Trump said that he supports “Free Trade but Fair Trade”. Ironically, President Lincoln and his Economic Advisor, Henry C. Carey were decidedly Anti Free Trade. In fact, American Economics was touted as an alternative to Adam Smith’s Free Trade.
This all points to a larger picture – the continued exploitation of the American People. MultiNational Corporations hoard the fruits of American Labor, denying Citizens the basic necessities that many grew up with. Recent examples of “Corporate bad behavior” include Wells Fargo fleecing depositors, again. Who remembers the Sub Prime Mortgage activities of Wells Fargo subsidiary, County Wide? Other culprits of bad behavior include Airline Carriers, that continue tacking on charges to Discount Fares. With recent increases in fuel cost, we can expect even more charges.
All of this ‘bad behavior’ has the effect of squeezing The Middle Class into exclusivity. You know it’s bad, when Diane Sawyer airs a TV Special asking if Americans deserve a Living Wage:
- Home Ownership at its lowest level in 50 years
- Wealth disparity at its greatest level
- The Dow Jones Index has tripled, but has not resulted in an improved Employee Quality of Life.
If history is indeed repeating itself, we can expect continued deregulation in favor of Corporate interest. Just as the policies of Woodrow Wilson led to further deregulation under Calvin Coolidge, and ultimately, The Great Depression under Herbert Hoover; President Trump’s policies follow a similar track that will also lead to another Economic Depression.
With cuts to the EPA, I foresee deregulation of Coal and Oil production on the horizon, followed by the necessary deregulation of Air and Water. The President says that he will protect air and water, but you can’t have it both ways. Net Neutrality will end sooner than later under FCC Chair, Ajit Pai; he is already taking steps behind the scenes.
Attention now shifts to The American Healthcare Act, as The GOP wrestles with Coverage versus Care. Deregulation of ACA has effectively removed the chain and wheels from the bike, giving Conservatives a stronger argument to repeal and replace. While The CBO crunches enrollment numbers (the estimate is 20 Million will lose coverage), I find it interesting that Speaker Paul Ryan, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, et all are asking for the time that wasn’t granted Dems regarding ACA.
The firing of 46 U.S. Attorneys, including “Sheriff of Wall Street”, Pete Bharara is raising eyebrows, despite the “business as usual’ attitude from The White House. Is this a retaliation for requesting an investigation of President Trump? Also curious, is the rumor of a combined $2B in cuts to the TSA and Coast Guard. How do you reconcile a $54B Increase in Defense Spending with this? The deception continues.
It looks like The Empire Strikes Back, but luckily, we are witnessing Activism on a level that rivals anti-Vietnam War sentiment. Not a moment too soon.