Happy Sunday to everyone, especially all of you hard-working blue-collar and low-level white-collar workers who voted for Donald J. Trump for president, putting him into office in an agonizingly-close Electoral College victory and a 2.5 million vote popular vote loss, which Trump of course repeatedly calls a “landslide” victory for him. To paraphrase Inigo Mentoya: “Mr. Trump, you keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
But you small-town Americans, the wage workers and salary workers, the men and women who build cars and repair HVAC units and wait tables and enter data into spreadsheets, you kind-hearted folks are about to find out that Trump is a scam artist, a con man whose business career has focused on promoting himself and his brand and talking people into investing their money into schemes with “Trump” emblazoned everywhere in ten-foot-tall gilt letters. Then he runs the business into the ground, everyone loses their investments (except Trump, who only invests other people’s money), contractors and workers go unpaid, and Trump walks away with a hefty “consulting fee” muttering to himself “got the suckers again.”
It may already be slowly dawning on you. After all, your parents taught you that when something seems too good to be true, it likely isn’t.
It’s the “art of the deal” Trump-style. Everyone loses, except Donald J. Trump.
You nice people, who are afraid of brown people with foreign accents but who would likely stop by the side of the road to fix a stranger’s broken-down car, are nothing more than Trump’s latest group of marks. You are suckers. You swallowed the lies; you think Trump is going to raise your pay, lower your taxes, and give you healthcare that is so bountiful and cheap it will make that black president’s healthcare statute look pathetic and small.
You think “Make America Great Again” means that happy days are here again.
You have been duped. Not that you are blameless, because you believed the constant lies. You didn’t check the facts. You don’t even care about the facts, come to think of it. You believe what you want to believe, and are certain that media fact-checkers are biased against Trump because they call him a liar so much. It never occurred to you that the reason PolitiFact found more lies in Trump’s statements than any other politician in history is that Trump lies more than any other politician in history.
But Trump made mistakes in his con game. He made specific promises to you. You may have spent the last 18 months with your head in the sand (or your attention glued to Fox News, which amounts to the same thing), but you will probably remember when Trump fails to deliver on his promises.
Trump promised to scrap Obamacare. But after a 90-minute meeting with President Obama, Trump conceded that maybe he’ll keep popular parts of the healthcare law, like getting affordable coverage despite preexisting conditions and keeping kids on parents’ health plans until they turn 26. Of course, health insurers can only afford to keep those benefits as long as healthy young people join the ranks of the insured, which was the whole point of the healthcare exchanges that the wingnuts want to shut down.
Trump promised to have Hillary Clinton prosecuted for all her imaginary crimes. “Lock her up” was a chant the crowds loved to roar at Trump’s scary campaign rallies. But shortly after Clinton conceded defeat, Trump said she’d been through enough and backed off his attempt to go after Hillary with criminal charges.
Trump’s first and most-repeated promise was to build a big huge beautiful wall on the Mexican border, to be paid for by Mexico. Right after the election Trump went on 60 Minutes and said he’d be satisfied with a fence.
Trump said he’d appoint as a Supreme Court justice someone who would overturn this year’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage. After the election, Trump, a life-long social liberal, said he was fine with same-sex marriage and that it was a settled issue.
Trump swore up and down that the scammy Trump University was legit and he’d never settle the lawsuits that ripped-off students filed against him. The minute the election was over he paid those irate students $25 million to settle.
Trump said climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese in order to destroy the American energy industry. This line of anti-science ignorance appealed to your belief that science is a liberal conspiracy foisted on the nation by pointy-headed elites in ivory-tower universities. But after the election Trump said he would keep an open mind about climate change.
Feeling scammed yet? Having buyer’s remorse?
If not, you hard-working folks who thought billionaire (or is he?) Donald Trump was going to fix America so that an honest day’s work was rewarded with a living wage really need to take a hard look at who Trump has appointed to handle America’s economic policies. Remember how Trump was going to #DrainTheSwamp of the elite corporations who screwed over the common man? Remember how Trump fancies himself a political outsider and only he can repair all the things the entrenched elites have messed up? You probably lifted a beer with one of your pals after work and reassured each other that this Trump guy was going to change everything and finally the little man would get his due.
Not so much, suckers. Trump last week appointed as treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, a career financier who started at Goldman Sachs before moving to Hollywood to finance movies. Do any of you poor saps remember that Trump ad about the current chairman of Goldman Sachs? He portrayed him as part of the “global elite” who has systematically “robbed our working class.” I bet you cheered.
Now the Treasury Department will be headed up by a Goldman Sachs millionaire. That guy is going to be devoted to the interests of union members in the Rust Belt, ayup, you betcha.
Bless your heart. Are you starting to understand yet?
Many of you remember the horrors of the mortgage-foreclosure factories that sprang up after the real estate market crash at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. The lingering aftereffects of all the job losses and the loss of homes fed the irrational anti-Obama sentiment that is largely responsible for Trump’s election. I’m sure you believed Trump when he said he would make sure nothing like that happened again. No longer will good honest Americans be duped into signing mortgages they cannot afford, or evicted from their homes when they lose their jobs.
Trump’s new treasury secretary saw the collapse as just another business opportunity. In the worst of the recession, he and some of his billionaire pals bought one of the worst of the mortgage companies that helped tank the economy by making bad loan decisions. NPR describes how Mnuchin and company turned the failed bank into a foreclosure factory backed by federal money from the FDIC, and made a fortune doing it:
During the depths of the financial crisis, Mnuchin was looking to make profits from the ruins of the housing bust. In 2009, he put together a group of billionaire investors and bought a failed California-based bank, IndyMac. It had been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after its sketchy mortgage loans went bad.
Mnuchin and his partners bought IndyMac on the condition that the FDIC agree to pay future losses above a certain threshold. They renamed the bank OneWest Bank and, after running it for six years, they sold it last year for a profit, estimated at close to $1.5 billion.
Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition, a housing advocacy group, says that profit was made on the backs of suffering California homeowners. “In essence what they did is they bought a foreclosure machine,” he says.
According to the coalition, OneWest foreclosed on more than 36,000 homeowners under Mnuchin. During that time, the FDIC made payments to OneWest totaling more $1 billion. Those payments went to the “billionaire investors of OneWest Bank,” says Stein, “to cover the cost of foreclosing on working-class, everyday, American folks,” many of whom lived in California.
So this is the billionaire who is going to help Trump look out after the common folks: a vulture capitalist who sees nothing about turning people out of their homes in order to make a quick buck.
Too bad the presidential election isn’t like Amazon. Aren’t you about ready to ship this one back for a refund?