Well, we have made it 52 weeks of This Week in the Narrative (*cue confetti*) and the battle is the same as it was in Week 1 — a tug of war between ‘Trump’s America’ and ‘The Gift of Trump.’
This week, Republicans released their tax plan, officially called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” and not the “Cut, Cut, Cut Act,” as President Trump had proposed. Its details were predictable and its timing, perfect.
The release was perfectly timed in that it coincides with Trump’s trip to Asia, where he can certainly be counted on to provide grandiose threats and other statements of warmongering towards North Korea. There is nothing like the threat of nuclear holocaust to knock even the most diabolical of tax plans off the top of the news cycle.
The details, predictable as ever, feature a cavalcade of giveaways to the uber-rich. The plan reduces the corporate tax from 35% to 20%, repeals the estate tax (something which will save Trump’s heirs something like $600 million), and so on, while eliminating middle-class tax deductions and adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt. All of this barely a week after House Republicans passed a budget which cut $6 trillion from education, Medicare and Medicaid, environmental programs, and other public services.
The response of most of the mainstream media can be summed up by Fortune Magazine, which called the plan “the biggest wealth grab in modern history.”
This also perfectly sums up the ideology of ‘Trump’s America’ — that the President is not only uniquely belligerent, but unique in policy and governance, uniquely bad in “modern history.”
The ideology of ‘ The Gift of Trump,’ conversely, would argue that Trump’s unique belligerence serves to expose systems of governance and policy which exist regardless of the President.
Consider: President Obama renewed then codified President W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich which so appalled Democrats when they were introduced. After W. Bush deregulated Wall Street, Obama bailed out the gamblers and criminals who failed. President Clinton lowered the top capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%, signed the corporate giveaway known as NAFTA, dismantled welfare, and repealed Glass-Steagall.
Further back and more of the same. #Reaganomics
A day before the release of Trump’s tax plan, CBS released a poll reflecting public opinion on “Which groups should have taxes increased, decreased … ?”
The results of the poll are notable in that they express widespread desires directly opposite to the tax plan unveiled a day later — desires corroborated by years of polling by Pew Research.
The mainstream media have acted shocked that the government would introduce something so antagonistic to the desires of their constituents.
As if they don’t know …
60% of Americans say the federal government is “responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans.” 62% say immigration should be increased or kept at current levels. 59% believe “the environment should be prioritized over energy production.” 63% feel money and wealth in the US “should be more evenly distributed.” 61% say “marijuana use should be legal.”
Please don’t make me bring up the study which concluded that the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
It is interesting to apply the question of ‘Trump’s America’ or the ‘Gift of Trump’ to other mainstream storylines this week.
Take the ongoing Russian espionage storyline, and its impacts on the “rigging” of the last election. With prolific disenfranchisement and gerrymandering, voting systems which can be hacked in seconds, and, as Donna Brazile further confirmed this week, predetermined primary processes, American elections seem plenty rigged with or without Russian interference.
Take the uproar over racist ad campaigns (on both sides) in the Virginia Gubernatorial race. Mainstream media sources are proclaiming that this shows Trump has triggered a “wave” of candidates “using racial bullhorns instead of dog whistles to win political office,” and suggesting the ads call to mind the infamous ‘Willie Horton’ ad from 1988.
For me, they also call to mind the Hillary Clinton campaign releasing pictures during the 2008 campaign of then-Senator Obama wearing traditional African dress; they call to mind W. Bush’s “clash of civilizations,” and Hillary’s “superpredators,” and Reagan’s “Welfare queens.” They call to mind Bill Clinton executing a mentally ill African-American man on his first quest for the White House.
The point is, after 52 weeks of This Week in the Narrative, the question remains the same: Are we living in ‘Trump’s America,’ a nation led by an evil Hitler-like figure for the benefit of the uber-elite and multinational corporations …
… or is the ‘Gift of Trump’ exposing that ‘Trump’s America’ is just America?