One has to wonder whether populism made any impact in the last election. Yes, populism seemed to have shown its ugly head. But while the Democratic Party made sure that their populist candidate was limited to playing a sheepdog role, the Republicans ran an establishment candidate in populist's clothing.
Trump won both his party's nomination and the general election under the guise that he was the anti-establishment candidate. And since the establishment refused to admit any guilt and failure for how it has betrayed the American people, people looking for real hope and change chose Trump because he promised to put America first.
But here is at least one of the problems: Trump is an establishment candidate. Proof of this can be seen in his appointments. No scientists have been picked but plenty of people who represent wealth have been. He was suppose to drain the swamp, but his cabinet picks contradict that expectation. Corporations and Wall Street are well represented in Trump's appointments. And political hacks who have been appointed, such as Rick Perry and Scott Pruitt, have shown nothing else but a desire to advance the interests of corporations.
So who in America is benefiting in Trump's America First agenda? We should note with the changes made at the EPA and Trump's attacks on regulations, that the America in Trump's America First does not include the land. Coal debris is now allowed to be dumped into streams. Fracking waste water can now be freely dumped into the Gulf of Mexico right off part of America's shoreline. The delusion of clean coal is now being resurrected. And the regulations designed to protect our water and air are being attacked.
So who benefits the most from Trump undoing environmental regulations? Is it the average American who benefits first? Is it those who live in the cities and who will breathe city air and drink tap water which are now both freed from the burden of environmental regulations? Or is the first beneficiary those with wealth whose corporations can now transfer funds designated to protect the environment over to profits for shareholders?
Or when Trump undoes regulations that prohibited labor-law violators from being eligible for federal contracts, which group of Americans benefited the most? Or which group of Americans would benefit the most from the health care plan that Trump supported? That plan was projected to cost an additional 24 million people their health insurance because of the projected insurance prices while insurance CEOs would receive tax breaks? If Trump is putting America First, which people are the real Americans by virtue of being put first?
Or when Trump undid Dodd-Frank, a law that contained rules that would prevent the over-leveraging by financial institutions which caused a world-wide economic collapse in 2008, who benefited the most? Or when Trump's State Department decided that human rights records will not disqualify nations from receiving foreign aid, who benefited the most? Or who is feeling the budget pinch so that Trump's Wall can be paid for? Isn't Trump cutting millions of dollars from medical research, infrastructure, and community grants to pay for his wall (click here for reference)? But more importantly, who is the primary beneficiary of building his wall in the first place?
Trump's America First pronouncements are simply a charade unless we redefine America to be that of its wealthiest citizens and corporations. That is because if Trump is putting America First, then it is because he is putting the interests of corporations and our largest financial institutions first, they are the ones who are receiving preferential treatment. Thus, they must be the real Americans Trump is putting first. But such leaves the general population out in the rain of despair and on the wrong side of disparity. For it seems that in Trump's America, our government well represents wealth and corporations so that they, out of the goodness of their hearts, can take care of the rest of us. And how is that working out?
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10