FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

2018: When Greed Meets Need

Photo by Anirvan | CC BY 2.0

When Donald Trump won the presidency, pundits predicted he would “grow into the office.” The hope was that he would realize the enormous responsibilities that come with the leadership of a powerful and wealthy nation, put aside his overwhelming need for self-gratification, and exhibit the gravitas of a world leader. But that didn’t happen.

So in 2018, expect those who kindly cut him slack in 2017 to realize the only way to deal with Trump is to fight back hard in the New Year with teeth and claws bared.

The simple but sad truth is that President Trump has very little experience dealing with the wide spectrum of our population. Being a billionaire, when he needs something done, he hires people from the “working class” to do it — and sometimes he even pays them what he owes them. But as far as socializing with or understanding the travails of lower or middle-class citizens, that’s not part of his life.

As disgraced heiress Leona Helmsley once said before being prosecuted for not paying her contractors and federal taxes: “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” And sure enough, if you have the money to hire the best accountants and lawyers in the nation, they will pry the tax loopholes open big enough to drive trucks full of money through without paying a dime to the government.

Being so vastly displaced from the plight of the “common man” makes it difficult to identify with the realities those “little people” face on a daily basis. Thus, if you think you have to defund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so you can give enormous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, you can do it without experiencing the impacts of your actions.

But as Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, found out when told the common people couldn’t afford bread — and supposedly haughtily replied, “Let them eat cake” — there can be real consequences for ignoring the needs of the many for the greed of the few. In her case, the lesson ended with her head in a bucket on the wrong side of a guillotine blade during the French Revolution. She is not alone in this regard and history is replete with examples of kings, queens and czars who faced the wrath of a populace preyed upon by unscrupulous leaders.

It’s not likely that 2018 will see any guillotines; there is little doubt that the majority of the population that currently disapprove of Trump will remain peaceful while their environment is destroyed, their public lands handed over to extractive industries, the social safety net is shredded, and the nation’s Treasury is looted to benefit corporations and the already wealthy.

For one thing, it’s a mid-term election year, which is when political parties that hold the presidency and majorities in Congress traditionally suffer their greatest losses. That bodes ill for Republicans and Trump in the political arena. Is it possible the Republicans could lose their majorities in Congress? Absolutely. And if they do, Trump’s destructive “agenda” will grind to a halt.

The political arena is not the only place for a disgruntled populace to rise up, however. Expect the protests that already plague Trump to intensify and broaden. With the very pillars of our democracy at stake, Trump will find out that endless cruel attacks on individuals, the media and social civility have consequences. 2018 is likely to be the year when “greed meets need” and our narcissistic president finally faces the realities of his misplaced priorities and policies.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 18, 2019
Gerald Sussman
Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!
Lance Olsen
Perverse Housing Policy Perverts Forest Policy
Richard Ward
All Will be Punished
Jonathan Cook
Annexation of West Bank May Provide Key to Unlocking Netanyahu’s Legal Troubles
Judith Deutsch
People Music: Malignant Phallic Narcissism v. Being Ordinary
Jan Oberg
The Iran Floods and US Sanctions: 10 Million at Risk, But Who Cares?
Manuel E. Yepe
Assange: Between Gratitude and Betrayal
Ralph Nader
Children’s Moral Power Can Challenge Corporate Power on Climate Crisis
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Your Check is in the Mail
Binoy Kampmark
The European Union and Refugees in the Mediterranean
Arnold R. Isaacs
Looking Back at 1919: Immigration, Race, and Women’s Rights, Then and Now
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Shock Doctrine
Michael Howard
Assange and the Cowardice of Power
Jesse Jackson
Making Wall Street Pay for the Financial Crisis
Mel Gurtov
At Risk—the Idea of America
April 17, 2019
James Bovard
Washington’s Biggest Fairy Tale: “Truth Will Out”
Yoav Litvin
The Ilhan Omar Gambit: Anti-Semitism as a Reactionary Political Tool
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Hawai’i in Trouble
Vijay Prashad
To Ola Bini, a Political Prisoner Caught Up in the Assange Debacle
Hans Muilerman and Jonathan Latham
EU Threatens to Legalize Human Harm From Pesticides
Binoy Kampmark
Delegitimising Journalism: The Effort to Relabel Julian Assange
Jack Rasmus
Trump Whacks the Middle Class
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Burning Cathedral and the Dead Turtle
Kenneth Surin
Insurgencies in Malaysia and Vietnam: Boyhood Reflections
Rev. William Alberts
Opening Tombs and Resurrecting Lives
Tom Engelhardt
How the U.S. Military Feeds at the Terror Trough
Norman Solomon
The Toxic Lure of “Guns and Butter”
George Wuerthner
How to Stop Grazing on Public Lands: Buy Out the Permits
George Ochenski
Vote-Trading for Big Coal
John Stanton
The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self
April 16, 2019
Richard Rubenstein
Julian and Martin: Reflections on the Arrest of Assange
Geoff Dutton
Talking Trash: Unfortunate Truths About Recycling
Kenn Orphan
A Land Uncharted: the Persecution of Julian Assange
Patrick Cockburn
Netanyahu’s Victory in Israel Tells Us About the Balance of Power in the Middle East
Robert Fisk
No More Excuses: Israeli Voters Have Chosen a Country that Will Mirror the Brutal Regimes of its Arab Neighbours
Jonah Raskin
The French (Bread) Connection in a Bourgeois California Town
Denis Rogatyuk
The Ordeal of Julian Assange
David Swanson
Exporting Dictators
Ted Rall
Self-Censorship is Credibility Suicide
Robert Koehler
War Crimes and National Security
Lee Ballinger
None Dare Call It Fascism
April 15, 2019
Bruce Neuburger
The Border, Trumpian Madness and the Clash of Demographics
Patrick Cockburn
Calling Assange a Narcissist Misses the Point
Conn Hallinan
Diego Garcia: The “Unsinkable Carrier” Springs a Leak
Dan Corjescu
State of Apocalyptic Nature: A Contract with Gaia
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail