By S. I. Wells
Senior Columnist

From pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to ending the United States participation in the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) to threatening to pull out of the nuclear INF, Donald Trump has begun a process of terminating the United States hegemony in the post- World War II era. By withdrawing from multi-state, arms-length, negotiated agreements and partnerships, Trump’s “America First” policy is reshaping the global diplomatic landscape by ceding the playing field to the Europeans, Russians and Chinese.

Trump would have everyone believe that the United States previously entered into deals that are fundamentally unfair to America and that allowed other countries to take advantage of Americans. His worldview is simply that the United States has become weak and that it is time to flex America’s military and economic muscles in order to bully everyone else into submission. Or, if no one wants to play ball Trump’s way, he will just walk off the field and take the bat and ball with him.

If you give Trump the benefit of the doubt, maybe his aggressive, “do it my way or I’ll walk” approach could restore America to Trump’s alpha dog image. Continuing the seven-decade long, post-war global peace is clearly not a status quo that Trump thinks benefits the US and, actually, provides few opportunities for him to benefit. Reshuffling the deck, the players and the relationships, economically and militarily, and creating chaos and instability are circumstances that Trump relishes; a global drama where he can play the role of master manipulator.

All of these changes are being done in the name of furthering Trump’s MAGA (Make America Great Again). After all, he gave Americans a big tax cut, ordered the abolition of untold Federal administrative rules and regulations, appointed two conservative Supreme Court justices, plus tons of lower court judges with conservative ideologies. Of course, abolition of Obamacare has not been successful (yet) nor has the implementation of rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure. Adding import tariffs, however, gave Trump extraordinary leverage and power to help industries he favors vs. those he doesn’t particularly like.

However, what if none of the foregoing motives is true? What if the real, sub-rosa motivations for Trump had nothing to do with MAGA at all? What if everything that Trump did was in the nature of a con artist distracting the public with “shiny objects” to keep attention away from his real goals?

And that’s what I think is going on. If you change your perspective and don’t look through the lens of evaluating the impact of each thing Trump is doing as he rips apart the foreign policy of the United States, hollows out the State Department, runs the White House more like a one-man dictatorship based on whim, bile and greed, and instead look at Trump as just a bullying, unscrupulous, ruthless robber baron, the world suddenly becomes crystal clear.

S.I. Wells

Let’s go through just a few of Trump’s actions and analyze them according to the robber baron theory:

1.    The Paris Agreement – leaving it helps US corporations save money because they won’t have to spend untold sums on pollution controls – think about the auto and fossil fuel-related industries, like coal for example;

2.    The Trans-Pacific Partnership – leaving it frees US corporations from international agreed-upon pollution constraints and leaves Trump in charge of reshaping corporate America and the global economies via import duties as he sees fit;

3.    The Iran Nuclear Deal – leaving it allows Trump to impose sanctions on Iranian oil, thereby cause the price of oil to rise, which will help the profitability of the US oil industry, and will also help the economy of Russia (often referred to as a gas station masquerading as a country);

4.    The tax reform bill makes massive tax cuts for corporations permanent (Trump’s buddies), but sunsets individual tax cuts by 2027 that will eventually hit ordinary Americans with an involuntary tax increase at the same time the estates of the ultra-wealthy go basically untaxed;

5.    Cutting administrative rules and regulations – helps companies to trim their expenses of complying with regulations in areas energy, food and drug, environmental protection, FCC, and many more;

6.    Spending more to “rebuild” the US military – helps the bottom line of the defense contractors and makes America more warlike, but does not make America any safer…just poorer;

7.    Changing the laws that protect endangered species in favor of economic gains for oil and lumber companies;

8.    Increasing the deficit and the national debt to near crisis levels – helps those with the resources prepare to “steal” assets from Mr. and Mrs. America who get into trouble from higher interest rates as the economy suddenly reverses.

So if we look at Trump’s policies through the lens of a robber baron, you can see that everything he is doing with the United State is clearly aimed at enriching the few at the expense of the many. By blowing up the national debt by over $2 trillion from the tax cuts, by permanently shifting the cash flow to the big corporations through those tax breaks, by permanently cutting corporate expenses through the elimination of regulations that have brought America cleaner air and water, by riding roughshod over the poor and the disadvantaged in reducing their health care and food stamps, Trump is working to displace robber barons of old, like Morgan, Carnegie, Mellon and Rockefeller, and to become the most successful robber baron in US history.

The power of the Presidency is extraordinary and can be used for good or for evil. What America has not witnessed in modern times is someone using it for his own personal gain (much like a banana republic dictator or Vladimir Putin) and that of his cronies, allies and supplicants. And, let us not forget his family. What good fortune Ivanka Trump must have to obtain sixteen key trademarks in China. And, one has to wonder if the Trump Organization will somehow secure the exclusive hotel and golf club rights to prime locations in North Korea.

The fact that Republican members of the House and Senate are standing by with their hands in their pockets while this charlatan’s con goes on means they are complicit in all that is happening and will ultimate bear the burden for the damage Trump is doing to America both at home and across the world.

Trump knows how to appeal to people who are looking for a way to improve their lives and knows that they are vulnerable to believe his razzle-dazzle. The truth, however, is that Trump ran for President as a populist, governs as an elitist/robber baron and is on the way to doing to the American economy exactly what he did to Atlantic City. The post-Trump era to follow will shatter dreams and lives and leave America so much in debt that it will take a generation to dig its way out.


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.