Trump’s view of the world is Darwinian. There are winners and losers. As he sees it, he is the ultimate winner. Politics and government is a struggle over spoils. He is the top dog. It is logical in his view that he is on top and takes the spoils. Why would a top dog pay taxes?
That thinking has been increasingly dominant in US politics since Reagan was elected under his “trickle down” theory, the idea that if we let the rich get richer we will get our share too. The theory doesn’t work but a large portion of the general public in the US has yet to figure that out.
Ever since Reagan was elected, the rich have gotten richer, the middle class has shrunk, and the poor have been further marginalized. The system, as Bernie Sanders keeps telling us, is rigged against us. That is why our tax system is regressive – why Warren Buffet pays a lower percentage of taxes than his secretary and why Trump – with his phalanx of lawyers – can pay nothing. It’s why, under Citizen’s United, the global corporations and ultra-rich can spend unlimited money to manipulate the media, finance candidates, and effectively buy elections and politicians. It’s why the poor, in the richest country in the world, still lack access to health care or necessary prescription drugs and why our elderly are systematically stripped of their last assets by a parasitic nursing home industry before they die. It’s why, despite the reform efforts of the 60s and 70s, our government increasingly lacks transparency. And it’s why the corporate lobbyists sit in the back rooms with the pols divvying up the spoils. The rest of us? Don’t be naive. That’s how it works. Get over it. You lose.
European governments, much closer to being democratic than ours, show it doesn’t have to be this way. Those countries have vigorous, confrontational media. Their politicians are more accountable. The major European countries take the right to health care seriously, they take action to protect the environment, they guarantee basic worker rights to sick leave, family leave, vacations, work hours. Look into it. Take action. Resist. It doesn’t have to be survival of the strongest. We are being played, conned. Losers?