Scores of editorial pages, cable news channels, and other celebrated members of the punditry try to decipher what this mercurial President represents in our history. He seems to find Andrew Jackson his alter-ego; but if so he would be wrong. The president Donald Trump best mirrors is Calvin Coolidge.
Whereas Jackson was a raw-hide military mind, Trump knows nothing about the military but claims to know everything about business. Which is why he ought to replace that painting of Jackson with one of Coolidge who famously said: “The business of America is business.”
Putting aside his reality-rallies where he talks like a populist fighting for the little man, in the Oval Office he is a capitalist fighting for other capitalists. Virtually every action he has supported from halting immigration, lowering corporate taxes, limiting government regulations, to slapping on new tariffs represents his version of a big-business agenda.
But lets take a look at that. Throughout our history, big-business has inevitably allowed deal-makers to exploit the system. As in the predictable cycle of booms-and-busts starting with the post-Civil War industrial age. And yet by the 1920s, Coolidge could still utter those words without apology, because being successful in business was pretty much the American Dream.
A year into his presidency, Mr Trump confirmed his deal-making faith at the Davos Economic Summit with fellow capitalists from around the world. They seem to like what they heard. And why not? This President speaks their vocabulary. The language of titans unfettered to take advantage of land, sea, resources, and labor all in the cause of bigger and better business.
Oh those populist rallies? Well, the coal miners in West Virginia, the steel workers in Pittsburgh, and the ranchers in Montana should hang on just a little longer for that celebrated Trickle to reach them. The Republicans hope by this year’s elections. In the meantime, Mr President, consider switching those paintings.
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