To understand what’s going on in the USA now it’s helpful to go back a little way. We could go back to Reagan and Clinton but his successor, G. W. Bush, offers the clearest illustration.
Nobody imagines President G. W. Bush was setting policy. He was simply the lead spokesman for an agenda set by others. That’s the important point
We do imagine President Obama set his policies, but let’s consider a few examples.
Obama inherited an economic collapse whose origin was financial deregulation introduced in Clinton’s time. What was done by the Obama administration? The collapsing financial institutions were bailed out. Not one of the people who acted criminally was punished.
Obama also went along with the Fed’s ultra-low rate interest policy that destroyed the value of pension funds along with individuals’ savings. That triggered new speculation, again favoring the financial institutions. Meanwhile, pension funds that are now paying out more than they earn will fail.
At the start of Obama’s first term Democrats could have established lower cost single payer health care for all Americans. Instead, we got the highly complex ACA which preserves the central role of insurance companies and perpetuates all other aspects of a system whose primary aim is profit.
Obama was enticed into ruinous and utterly unproductive war in Afghanistan as well as the destruction of Libya. He avoided overt war against Syria only at the last moment.
Obama genuinely wanted to make a better future for all. So why did he lead us into all those disasters? Because, like his predecessor, his advisers were from the institutions that are in fact in control.
Now we can see why the situation under the Trump administration seems so confusing. Two things are going on in parallel, one masking the other.
Trump is motivated solely by self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. He is a bully and a liar. He appears also to be to some degree mentally ill but we don’t know about that for sure.
The result of Trump’s personality is what we see, a constant flurry of inflammatory tweets, intemperate remarks and outright threats.
And the appearance that our President is deranged is alarming. I’ve written elsewhere about the risk his threats may lead to nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
But, preoccupied by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, we pay little attention to what’s going on in parallel, what the ever-present advisers to our Presidents and Congressmen are doing in the meantime.
We notice only fleetingly what is actually being done:
- further weakening of banking regulations
- destruction of environmental protections
- astronomical increases to our already overwhelming military
- additional tax cuts for the wealthy to be offset by cutting Medicare and further expanding Federal debt
- and so on and so on
These changes are part of an orchestrated program that benefits only those who are in fact in control of our government.
President Obama naively went along with the advice he was given, imagining it was given in good faith. President Trump has no principals of his own and seems easily manipulated.
But the different character of these men makes no difference to what is being done to we the easily bamboozled– except that Trump’s thoughtless belligerence may blunder us into WW3.
Our Presidents are now simply figureheads of an oligarchy.
I expect in a future post or two to elaborate a bit on changes by the oligarchy that we should be resisting and I would be delighted to get help with that in any form; guest posts, comments, or emails.
I will also continue thinking if there’s anything we can do short of revolution, which I am not in favor of because, like the French Revolution, it could lead to even greater disaster.
Martin, I don’t think Obama could have gotten single through because he had a difficult time with the blue-dog Democrats.