The biggest effect of the Trump tax cuts is obvious: People who own businesses and other sources of concentrated wealth will have a lot more money, and the federal budget will have less. But the advocates of the tax cuts insisted it wasn’t about letting the makers keep their hard-earned money rather than handing it over to the takers. It was about incentivizing business to repatriate funds and ramp up its investments, thereby increasing growth and wages.
If there’s anything Donald Trump hates more than globalist trade deals that restrict U.S. sovereignty, it’s the exorbitant cost of pharmaceuticals in this country. “The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs,” the president said in his most recent State of the Union Address. “It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.”
Early this year, Axios obtained a schedule of President Trump’s activities, revealing hour after hour of “Executive Time” — which means, mostly, binge-watching cable television news and tweeting. Politico has obtained another weekly Trump schedule, and if anything, it appears to contain even less actual work.
Last night, the Daily Mail reported a development in the Michael Cohen saga of seismic scale. In a December 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, the British tabloid reports, Cohen asked Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, who runs a $100 billion Qatari investment fund, to send him “millions” which, the story claims, would go “through him to Trump family members.”
A few months ago, Rex Tillerson was the chief executive of the world’s largest oil company — which is to say, he was the authoritarian ruler of a private empire powerful enough to bend nation-states to its will. Now, he finds himself widely derided as the least influential secretary of State in modern memory — one who appears to be a subordinate of a 36-year-old trust-fund dilettante who bought his way into Harvard, and married himself into power. Jared Kushner has (reportedly) undermined Tillerson’s attempts to shape foreign policy, while the White House won’t let him staff his department with anyone but pro-Trump sycophants.
Donald Trump has now spent enough time listening to Republican economic advisers that he can give an interview to The Economist in which he attempts to regurgitate the ideas that have been fed him. At various points in the interview, Trump tries and fails to think of the word “reciprocity.” (“We need reciprocality in terms of our trade deals,” he asserts.) Asked to flesh out his vision for a fair NAFTA in more detail, he can only come up with synonyms for “big”:
In the wake of Trump’s “locker-room talk” scandal — which feels like years ago, doesn’t it? — technology-and-media-marketing specialist Shannon Coulter created the hashtag #GrabYourWallet to encourage consumers to boycott businesses that carry Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories lines. And now that a Trump administration is imminent, Coulter and others are encouraging critics of the president-elect to put their money where their mouths are..
As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.”