Trump assembles a Strategic and Policy Forum to better hear the 1%

Summary: Trump appoints an all-plutocrat “Strategic and Policy Forum”. No need to guess what comes next. Congratulate Trump for running as a populist, the most effective political con in US history. It is the inevitable next step as our elites explore and exploit our gullibility. This can inspire us to push for reform of American politics, while we still can.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher), Letter #76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres Et Opuscules Inédits.

Project New America

In 2008 the world saw the strange spectacle of the Left fantasizing about the coming era of Obama. Elected despite his minimal experience in office, they saw him as The One bringing hope and change, to “begin the process of changing our politics and our civic life“. This culminated in the mad award of the Nobel Peace Prize to him in October 2009. In 8 years he broadened our wars, beginning unprecedented programs of surveillance, assassination, and suppression of whistle-blowers — plus the giving the health care industry the unaffordable cornucopia of ObamaCare (covering more people, but with health care spending projected to grow at over 2x faster than GDP).

Now the Right does the same. Elected as a populist, he prepares to rule as a ring-wing plutocrat, assisted by solid conservative majorities in both Houses of Congress — one of the largest political cons in US history. We need not guess what comes next. His executive appointees for domestic policy are mostly billionaires and far-right activists. In Washington people are policy.

Plutocrat

Trump listens to the voice of America’s rulers

To make this even clearer, Trump created the Strategic and Policy Forum to advise him. Its 16 members include 9 corporate CEOs (active or retired, including GM, IBM, Disney, Boeing, JP Morgan, and Wal-Mart), 6 financiers, and one brilliant analyst.

Two on the panel are unlike the rest. Dr. Toby Cosgrove is CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, and has a stellar profile as a doctor and health care innovator, combining brilliance plus long and broad experience. One dark detail: in 2014 Obama planned to appoint him as head of the VA. Cosgrove withdrew his nomination after Modern Healthcare wrote about the Cleveland Clinic’s record of safety problems (like this $600,000 fine), stone-walling investigations, leading to repeated threats by regulators to end its eligibility for Medicare funding.

The other star on the panel is Daniel Yergin. He has a Ph.D. in international relations and one of the world’s best records as an analyst of oil industry (debunking the 2003-2010 peak oil fears). His books are top-quality models of scholarship written for a general audience, including Shattered peace: The origins of the cold war and the national security state, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy.

The panel lacks a single representative of America’s workers, but many favoring expansion of the H-1b program that imports people to depress wages of America’s most talented people. The panel will be a strong voice on Team Trump for corporate America and the interests of the 1%.

Conclusions

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

People who saw Trump as a populist gave him the edge to win. They were gullible. America’s future depends on the lessons these voters learn from this experience. Will they react with disillusionment and apathy, withdrawing from politics so that the 1% rule unopposed? The Republic will have become a plutocracy when these people become a majority, no matter what the outward forms of our system.

Or we can get angry and act as previous generations did when the Republic was threatened. We have seldom faced a greater threat. It’s time to move from surfing the internet to action.

We should all wear these all the time. We need reminding.

Responsibility

Why we should act rather than complain

The voices I found most discouraging during Campaign 2016 were those of the discouraged, whining that the service of the American government was not what they deserved — and they would no longer give their patronage to the US political system. They see themselves as passengers on cruise ship America, not its crew. They complain about America rather than assume responsibility to make it work. These are the voices of peons, not citizens. Voices that make the 1% happy. Voices that the Founders feared.

What can you do? For ideas see Reforming America: steps to new politics.

Aristotle

” Virtues are formed in man by his actions.”

— Aristotle in his The Nicomachean Ethics.

Apostle James the Lesser
Unknown painter, late 17thC.

 

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? …faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. …Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

— James 2:14-18.

Bat signal

 

“It’s what you do that defines you.”
— Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins.

 

For More Information

For more about this Team Trump — Here’s the news about Team Trump. See the promises fade away. Also see “Trump’s wealthy cabinet choices hark back to Gilded Age”  by Shawn Donnan in the Financial Times — “Few precedents for collection of billionaires and their lack of government experience.” Andrew Orlowski at The Register makes an interesting observation: “Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs” — “Economic forum shuns Zuck, Google, but finds seat for IBM.”

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about populism, about Trump’s campaign, about anger, and especially these about the first step…

 

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15 thoughts on “Trump assembles a Strategic and Policy Forum to better hear the 1%

  1. I’d like to share this piece Larry, but it seems the link you included to a Fortune article does not support your assertion that the cost of ACA has (or will?) grow more than two times faster than GDP growth. I found nothing in that article that makes that claim. In fact, the point of the entire article seems to be how much LESS Obamacare has cost than was projected. So what gives?Thanks :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thomas

      (1) I referred to “health care spending projected to grow at over 2x faster than GDP)”. Not ObamaCare spending.

      (2) The title of the article was “U.S. Will Spend $2.6 Trillion Less on Health Care Than Previously Estimated”. The graph showed cumulative 2014-2019 spending is now predicted to be $21.1 trillion vs. $23.2 trillion in the pre-ACA forecast.

      (3) The graph showed 2014 spending of $3080T and projected 2019 spending of $4,020T That’s a growth rate of 5.5%. The Fed’s most recent estimate of long-term US GDP growth is 1.8%.

      Fed estimate for 2016 GDP was 1.8%. GDP grew 2.4% in 2014 and 2.6% in 2015.

      So the graph shown of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts that US healthcare spending will increase at over twice that of GDP over the 2014-2019 period.

      Like

    1. I KNEW there was something wrong with the name but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. That’s what I get for reading FM before 6:00 AM.

      Like

  2. Thanks for adding the links to the Fed’s GDP estimates and the more recent AP story on the uptick in health care spending last year. I took another look at the graph in the older Fortune story included in your article–BEFORE I took my sleeping pill tonight:)–and still could not find any comparison of health care spending projections to GDP projections. So the additional links were illuminating.

    My understanding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)–aka Obamacare–is based primarily on the work of Stephen Brill, including his book “Bitter Pill.” His basic argument is that Obama wanted caps on health care “industry” profits in exchange for the “guaranteed” increase in health care customers that ACA would create for the health care industry.

    But at the end of the day, the industry’s high-priced lobbyists–and the politicians in Congress they own–made sure that the final version of ACA did NOT include any caps on profits for health insurers, Big Pharma, medical supply and equipment mfgs, and hospitals (including so-called “non-profit” hospitals). So Obama basically had to choose between passing something or nothing.

    Instead, all cost control efforts have focused on service providers–i.e. primarily doctors–as if they are primarily to blame for health care spending growing faster than GDP. And now Paul Ryan has indicated Congress still intends to repeal ACA early next year, but will delay the effective date by three years–until AFTER the 2018 mid-term election to minimize the loss of Republicans in Congress.

    Brill said today that is because both Trump and the Congressional Republicans still do not have any concrete idea of what they will replace ACA with–even after 5+ years of supposedly “trying” to repeal it, and knowing full well these efforts were just for show, and part of their stated objective to not allow Obama to accomplish anything, while also blaming him for anything and everything they don’t like.

    Brill also repeated today that Obamacare was just a slightly more CONSERVATIVE version of Romneycare, passed when Mitt was Gov of MA, which was a slightly more conservative version of the model proposed by Richard Nixon.

    So unless and until this is more widely understood–and more widely discussed, by both mainstream and social media–I would be inclined to agree that nothing will improve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thomas,

      “and still could not find any comparison of health care spending projections to GDP projections.”

      I made the comparison. I did not say it was in the article.

      The health care projections were in the article. In the post I didn’t state the source of the GDP projections for 2016-19. They’re as common as dirt, and as easily found. My reply to you gave one widely used source.

      Like

  3. It is not where people come from that counts, it is not their history, either. What counts is what they do when given they opportunity to follow their heart.

    Trump is appointing people who have a background of making things happen. Right or wrong, making the plan an actuality. There will be huge pushback. Is he the type to roll over, or the type to say, “I know the sea is rough. Your job is to get this ship safely to its destination in a timely manner.:”

    The revolution in American history will be if results, not optics or sensitivities, determine his actions.

    Like

    1. Douglas,

      I disagree with most of that.

      “It is not where people come from that counts, it is not their history, either.”

      People do not awake each morning as a tabula rasa, but to a large extent act as a result of their history.

      “Trump is appointing people who have a background of making things happen.”

      That’s simplistic. People’s ability to accomplish things is not a universal quality. As the managers of the 1960s conglomerates found, it doesn’t even carry well from industry to industry. History shows it carries ven less well from business to government.

      “Right or wrong, making the plan an actuality.”

      Government officials in the US have limited powers, and operate in large complex systems. America is not an Ayn Rand novel.

      “Is he the type to roll over, or the type to say”

      This is the “Green Lantern theory of politics”. But in the real world the President does not have a magic ring that translates will into deeds. The more relevant question concerns Trump’s political and organizational skills. Can he influence the complex systems of Washington.

      Like

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