The new Golden Rule favors those with gold


By Hezekiah Brown
Guest Columnist

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I have observed American politics for good part of my life, but never have I experienced the unashamed, wholesale attack on the working, middle and poor classes that is taking place under the Trump presidency.

More than ever I am reminded that there are two “Golden Rules.” Most of us are familiar with the first “do unto others, etc.” However, it appears the one followed by the Trump administration is “those who have the gold make the rules.” And they make them for their own benefit. This is not new but one would be hard-pressed find anywhere in American history a more blatant transfer of wealth to the top 1 percent.

Make no mistake, the recent tax cut bill supported and signed by President Trump is one of the most devastating pieces of legislation ever perpetrated on American taxpayers. It is clearly a “Robin Hood in reverse” piece of legislation, taking from the poor to give to the rich. The multimillionaires and billionaires in the top 10 percent now have a huge permanent tax reduction. The other 90 percent of us will see our few dollars of tax benefit expire in a few short years. Then we or our children will have to pick up the cost.

But Trump insists that this was a great deal for working- and middle-class Americans. Trump even went so far as to claim this was “not a plan for the rich,” that he personally wouldn’t benefit from the legislation. There is no other way to say it: He flat out lied. It is been credibly estimated that he and his family will save approximately $25 million per year and as much as $1 billion over his lifetime. He who has the gold makes the rules.

This philosophy of robbing the poor to benefit the rich is further demonstrated through reducing regulations that protect all Americans. President Trump signed an executive order requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for every new regulation they adopt. He brags that this initiative has exceeded his expectations with 67 regulations rescinded so far and just three adopted a ratio of 22 to 1. He further boasts that repealing those old regulations has saved $8.1 billion in regulatory costs for big business.

Trump appointed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The mandate of the EPA is to protect human health and enforce environmental regulations. Yet since he was confirmed last February, Pruitt has worked to stall or rollback this core function of his agency. He has rolled back regulations on carbon emissions, clean water, and the use of chemicals. He has significantly reduced the agency’s manpower thereby limiting the amount of staff inspections available to check pollutants and food, water, animal feed and chemicals used in agriculture. Trump’s dismantling of the EPA puts every American at risk. It’s not necessary to swim in clean water, but we certainly need to drink clean water. We need to breathe clean air. We need to eat uncontaminated meat and vegetables.

As if the wealthy hadn’t prospered enough under the tax reform bill and deregulation, the recent “budget deal” dedicated billions more dollars to the top 1 percent. Yes, it included money for disaster relief, opioid addiction and veterans; extends the government’s health insurance program for lower-income children; and increases domestic spending that Trump called a “waste.”

Trump said it was a deal he had to make in order to get Democratic votes to take care of our military. But hidden in the folds of the budget deal are billions of dollars in tax breaks and bailouts for industry and business.

All across this country there are thousands of adults buying the wares of the greatest snake oil salesman ever elected president of these United States. It shows also they buy into he who has the gold makes the rules.

Hezekiah Brown is a retired former federal arbitrator and a resident of Elizabeth City.