One of Donald Trump’s top economic advisers is apparently “not a big believer in democracy.” This sadly unsurprising detail came to light late last week when the GOP nominee announced his team of economic advisers, just ahead of a speech in Detroit on Monday that was supposed to lay out the candidate’s economic plans. The speech itself was predictably heavy on jingoistic platitudes and light on the truth and actual policy proposals. Indeed the composition of his economic team tells us more about the true intentions of his campaign than any of his speeches that have roughly the intellectual death of QVC infomercials.
While Trump’s tone on the campaign trail is often infused with populist denunciations of Wall Street and he feigns support for the “working man”, his thirteen-member economic team consists exclusively of big-time corporate executives and champions of the great myth of trickle-down economics. They all favor tax cuts for the 1% at the expense of the middle class and working Americans. Among these charlatans is Steven Moore, the top economic fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a co-founder of the neoconservative Super PAC Club for Growth.
Moore is particularly notable amongst the oligarchs Trump has surrounded himself with for the openness with which he disdains democracy. In the 2009 documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore said that “capitalism is a lot more important than democracy. I’m not even a big believer in democracy… democracy doesn’t always lead to a good economy or even a good political system.” Underlying this statement is the insidious belief, shared by all of these trickle-down hacks, that economic “growth” for the 1% is paramount and everything else, from middle class growth to rights and freedoms, will magically follow.
Certainly democracy doesn’t magically lead to a good economy, but what it unquestionably does lead to is greater rights and freedoms for everyone and a respect for all people that is notably lacking from both every dictatorship in the world and the minds of these neocons. The mass oppression and inequality of capitalist dictatorships is of course of no concern to Moore because it wouldn’t effect him. The fact that capitalist dictatorships inevitable evolve into a clique of corrupt ruling elites pilfering the nation’s riches while oppressing the impoverished majority is not an issue because he is one of the elites. By its very nature capitalism is self-interested, and the human selfishness is so instinctive that it takes democracy to keep the excesses and contradictions of capitalism in check.
Whether Moore is merely too ignorant to understand this basic truth or is bold enough to fight proudly for his own enrichment over the freedom and well-being of all Americans is unclear, but his past would lead us to believe it is the latter. Indeed Moore has proven himself just as eager a liar as Donald Trump himself. Thus in 2014 Moore wrote an op-ed for the Kansas City Star in response to an insult from Paul Krugman that contained glaringly false statistics about job growth in various states. The statistics were apparently totally made up, but they supported his trickle-down narrative, and for the new breed of Trumpet conservatives, supporting their own agenda is a greater good than being honest. As is always the case when such “experts” lie, Moore suffered no consequences for the deception even though he was writing from his position as the chief economic fellow at the Heritage Institute.
Trump himself has repeatedly demonstrated his own authoritarian leanings, showing contempt for freedom of speech, the press, the separation of powers, and the rule of law. Trump clearly fantasizes about the sort of oligarchic state that is apparently Mr. Moore’s vision, and has inevitably cozied up to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the epitome of the sort of corrupt oligarchic capitalist dictatorship that Moore advocates. Unless we want America to turn into Russia – where economic inequality is worse than anywhere else in the world, critical journalists are gunned down with impunity, and the government murders its own citizens to justify neo-imperialist wars – then we need to do everything we can to stop Trump from becoming president.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.