FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail