For anyone who had somehow managed to still doubt that Trump would be just another Republican stooge of the 1%, today’s news should be a jolt. The Donald announced this morning that he would appoint none other than Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, as head of the National Economic Council (NEC). The NEC serves as the president’s primary advisory board on economic policy; it is hard to imagine a more blatant conflict of interest than having the president of the country’s second-largest investment firm running it.
As all sensible observers have pointed out, Trump’s uninhibited embrace of the 1% represents a complete betrayal of one of his signature campaign promises to “drain the swamp” of Wall Street influence in Washington. Trump had even criticized Hillary Clinton – and Ted Cruz before that – relentlessly for her marginal ties to Goldman Sachs, but, as with everything that spews out of his mouth, those attacks have proven to be the height of hypocrisy. The heinous fraud Trump has pulled on the working class is summed up best by legendary economist Robert Reich, who characterized it this way:
At a time when wages are stagnant or falling for America’s working and middle class, the cost of living is soaring, and neoliberalism has proven unable to provide the working poor with an adequate response to globalization, reverting to the failed trickle-down policies of the Bush II years is not only stupid, it is incredibly dangerous. The interests of the 1% and the working class are fundamentally at odds, and there is no doubt that the American people will suffer tremendously under Trump as the ultra-rich continue to line their pockets. It is no coincidence that Trump’s cabinet is proposing the same neoliberal policies – corporate welfare, Wall Street deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy and hikes for the middle class – that have proven to be disastrous for all but the wealthy. If the Trump administration is able to implement its economic policies as it desires, the nation may very well be looking at a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
In fact, Cohn is the third prominent Goldman Sachs executive to be appointed to Trump’s cabinet. With Goldman partner Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury the Wall Street giant will have a near monopoly on formulating economic policy, and Steve Bannon, the white supremacist Trump selected as his chief strategist, is also a former partner at the group. And it’s not just Goldman Sachs. Trump’s cabinet consists almost exclusively of oligarchic economic elites who are totally divorced from the experiences of everyday Americans and do not represent their interests. The combined net worth of Trump’s cabinet, almost $15 billion and growing, is already significantly higher than any other in history.
It’s time for the working classes and all decent Americans to fight back against oligarchic control of our government and campaign for a democracy that is truly of and for the people.
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.