Continued from last week
Many economic analysts strongly criticized the leadership of President Donald Trump as reckless. Richard Phillips, a New York-based international Financial Analyst is bold enough to say that for all of his bombast, under the leadership of President Donald Trump the United States has actually grown more and more to resemble a developing nation. To assert his claim, Richard Phillips outlined six epic failures. Lase week we have discussed the first three failures which indicated the decline of the United States in the last four years under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
The fourth failure in which Richard Phillips outlined is the extraction economy of the United States. The United States’ National Weather Service is currently predicting the possibility of approximately 20 named storms coming ashore in the United States this hurricane season. Such a violent hurricane season does not come as a surprise to anyone who closely follows the impact of global warming on the United States ecosystem. Devastation from climate events, whether brush fires in California, heat waves in the Southwest, inundations in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and tornadoes sweeping through the Southeast, has become a staple of United States news reports.
Death and physical deprivation have become commonplace, with victims of climate change largely left to fend for themselves. So far, 2020 is on track to become the hottest year on record in the United States, with dozens of United States cities setting all-time records for high temperatures. But then, nine of the 10 hottest years on record globally have occurred in the past ten years.
Richard Phillips stressed that there is no longer much ambiguity in these weather patterns. Nor is there any ambiguity in the statistics that measure them. They dovetail precisely with the direst of climate predictions. And yet, President Donald Trump with the full backing of the Republican Party, denies climate change and presses forward in promoting the unrestricted extraction and use of fossil fuels. Within the Trump Administration, environmental problems are not confined to climate change. Since taking office, the Administration has orchestrated a systematic gutting of environmental regulation overall.
Richard Phillips further noted that favoring extraction industries every step of the way, President Trump, again with the full backing of the Republican Party, has placed the country’s water systems, wetlands and wilderness areas at extreme risk. It puts in place an environmental infrastructure common to developing rather than developed nations. This pattern of denial and deceit puts the United States on track to increase rather than reduce its dependence upon natural resource development, making the United States a target for all the corruption that extraction industries bring with them. The United States aside, environmental degradation at the hands of extraction industries is a characteristic common in many developing nations, which base their ongoing development on the exploitation of their natural resources.
The fifth failure is rumble in the infrastructure jumble. Extraction is one side of the coin. The other side is the state of the United States’ infrastructure. As is the case in so many developing nations, United States infrastructure has been widely neglected, despite President Trump’s extravagant campaign promises in the last election. The lack of adequate infrastructure became most evident with recent storms – Hurricane Isaias in the northeast and the derechos in the Midwest – when above-ground power grids were devastated along with crops.
George Tyler, an economist and the author of “What Went Wrong” and “Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System” stressed that few if any developed nations maintain above-ground power grids as the United States still does. And the decrepit state of the United States electrical grid does not even address the jumble of problems with crumbling roads, bridges, rail lines and waterways. Maintaining a sound infrastructure is a collective national endeavor. It is therefore especially telling, and tragic, that any sense of nationhood has been totally abandoned by President Trump and his Republican cohort in the United States Congress in favor of prosperity for the privileged few. Instead of pouring precious federal resources into national restoration, money in the form of tax cuts is channeled to a new made-by-Trump kleptocracy overseen by legions of lobbyists.
Corruption in Washington is another important point of consideration. Frank Vogl, Co-founder of Transparency International and author of “Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power” stated that corruption in Washington, D.C. is akin to the kinds of corruption one finds in places like Lagos or Kabul, albeit on a more sophisticated level. Instead of foreign entities bribing local officials as happens in developing nations, United States companies bribe United States officials in the United States federal capital city, as well as state capitals. In the meantime, the United States’ crumbling infrastructure looks more and more like what one would find in other developing countries.
The five epic failures of the contemporary United States under the President Trump regime are: Out-of-control United States fiscal and monetary policies; the rise of the police state; an inadequate and ineffective health care system; a rapidly degrading environment and a deteriorating infrastructure. These failures are also among the classic characteristics of a developing nation. It cannot satisfy any American, regardless of partisan stripe, that they constitute five epic failures for the Trump Administration.
The sixth failure in which Richard Phillips enumerated is the shredding democracy in the United States. The aforementioned five epic failures are bad enough. But they would exclude one more characteristic of developing countries that actually represents the Trump Administration’s biggest failure or rather deliberate act of brazenness. According to Richard Phillips, it is President Donald Trump’s assault on democracy itself. The fact is that the President seeks to put in place a form of government that is no longer anchored in the basic principles of democracy. It has become detached from the tenets that shape duly elected governments in other developed nations.
George Tyler argued that like despots in so many developing countries, President Trump governs more and more by decree in the form of executive orders. In so doing, he bypasses almost entirely the people’s elected representatives in the Congress, which itself has grown increasingly dysfunctional. And as the next presidential election approaches, President Trump busies himself casting doubt on its legitimacy and throws up impediments within the United States Postal Service that are aimed at suppressing the vote, a tactic common in the most corrupt developing nations.
And yet, a large cross-section of the United States electorate seems content to tag along for this ride in reverse toward a Great Leader, the very notion the founding father of the United States wanted to avoid. Most astonishingly, like pre-pubescent children sitting in the back seat of the car during a long ride, they happily ask one question over and over: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”