THE LEVERAGED BUYOUT OF AMERICA
“Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies.” – Cardinal Wolsey from Shakespeare’s, Henry VIII, Act III
The most repugnant aspect of House and Senate Republicans continues to be their support of a ferociously criminal President of the United States, Donald Trump. They aren’t blind to his racketeering – his deliberate efforts to nullify American democracy and install his own paranoid style of dictatorship in its place. In fact, with their obstruction, and by their silence, Republicans have become American democracy’s enemy within. Their unwavering support of Donald Trump is the lynchpin that keeps the wheels from falling off his administration. Lindsey Graham’s Trump-groveling while ensconced on his fainting couch is a one man show of political satire. Mitch McConnell’s chronic dyspepsia and Mitt Romney’s milk-warm denunciation of Trump’s naked self-dealing, both fail to say “Enough!” – and instead say what they really believe: Donald Trump represents the sunk costs of the GOP’s effort to win in 2020, to retain control of the nation’s purse strings, and to stay in power. Without them, Trumpism is defeated across the country; with them he succeeds in executing a leveraged buyout of America.
A leveraged buyout is defined as the acquisition of a controlling interest in an entity, by using that entity’s own assets to effectuate the acquisition. When Donald Trump told the President of Ukraine that he would hold up the receipt of the $400 million in military aid authorized by Congress until the government of Ukraine provided him with false propaganda that would help him get reelected in 2020 and stay in control of the United States – he was leveraging American assets in order to retain control of America.
Trump, with his usual swaggering bravado, warned us of his intentions when he announced: “It’s called OPM. I do that all the time in business. It’s called other people’s money. There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money… Because it takes the risk – you get a good chunk of it, and it takes the risk.” – Donald Trump, 2016
OPM is Donald Trump’s only tactic – his only art of the deal.
Donald Trump loves debt, but so do the Republicans. The $1.5 trillion Republican tax cut of 2018 has resulted in America’s highest national debt as a percentage of GDP since WWII. It’s now at 79% but is forecast to increase to 95% by 2029.
But OPM makes Republicans rich too. Tax breaks for corporations and the 1%, are to be paid for by eliminating entitlements like Medicaid for the losers: the remaining 99% of America.
The question Democrats ask is, why are Republicans willing to obstruct justice and propagate lies and misinformation to keep this predator in office? They are willing to sell their souls to Donald Trump at the price of their own integrity, and in some cases, at their own risk of imprisonment. They see the same things we see, the same things the world sees: children abused and put in cages on orders of the American government; a gun culture that has spawned domestic terrorism; a foreign policy that sells aid and comfort to our enemies. Surely, they talk.
What if the answer lies in the history of philosophy, the literature of Shakespeare, and the stories of power gone awry, like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings?
Plato told the story of The Ring of Gyges – a story of justice and political corruption – in his Republic (2:359a–2:360d). The ring grants its owner the power to become invisible at will. In the Republic, Socrates was presented with this thought experiment: “If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.” In other words, everybody does it, and people who get away with it do so by being invisible to justice. Trump’s six bankruptcies are nothing, if not proof of concept.
Socrates responded to that thought experiment by saying that “Justice does not derive from this social construct: the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges [or Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings] has in fact enslaved himself to his appetites, while the man who chose not to use it remains rationally in control of himself and is therefore happy.” (Plato’s Republic 10:612b).
America has been put up for sale by Donald Trump and by the Republican Party. They use pious fictions and noble lies to further their policies. There can be no debate as to whether Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, or Lindsey Graham are enslaved to their appetites. They have the rings to prove it; each has his own “precious”.
The question is whether the Democrats will call them out on their thievery, reveal their identities, and make them visible to justice at last by taking their rings from them.
Let’s not debate healthcare for the 5th time at the November 20, 2019 Democratic Debate. We all know that any of the candidates will improve healthcare for all Americans and will lead legislation to protect it as an entitlement. Instead, let’s make OPM – other people’s money – the topic of debate. Let the Democrats explain how Donald Trump is at it again: his last bankruptcy will be America, and he and the Republican Party are pulling off a leveraged buyout of our country.
Deborah Long is a Principal at Development Management Group, Inc. and founder of several non-profit charitable organizations. If you find her perspectives interesting, provocative, or controversial, follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/debby.long.98499?ref=br_rs