By Dean Baker
That’s right, he also will be telling us which drugs we can use, which planes are safe, and what chemicals in drinking water are harmful to our children. This is not a joke or an exaggeration. Trump and his advisors are quite openly talking about potentially removing 50,000 high and mid-level civil servants if he comes back into power.
These are the career people at places like the National Weather Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Aviation Authority, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump and his clique refer to them as the “deep state.”
Trump has openly complained about how these career people thwarted him in his first term. They didn’t prosecute Hillary Clinton for whatever he wanted her prosecuted for. The same with former Secretary of State John Kerry, who he also wanted to be prosecuted. The Federal Reserve Board, another outpost of Trump’s deep state, refused to follow Trump’s instructions on interest rate policy. And the National Weather Bureau even had the gall to dispute Trump’s forecast on a hurricane’s path.
Trump has been saying as loudly as he can that this will not happen in a second Trump administration. He will fill the Justice Department and FBI with political loyalists, whose job will be to harass and imprison Trump’s political opponents. We can expect the same with the I.R.S.
He will also replace all the people with decades of experience and expertise in places like the National Weather Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Administration. Instead of people making assessments based on scientific evidence, we will have decisions made based on political convenience.
This will mean, for example, that drugs will get approved or rejected, not based on their safety and effectiveness, but rather based on whether the company submitting the application is allied with Donald Trump. A generous political contribution will count for much more than solid results in a clinical trial.
The same will be true with monitoring chemicals for the hazards they pose, as well as the safety of the trucks and trains that transport them. Whether we see another accident like the train derailment in East Palatine, Ohio earlier this year will depend on how much the freight company gives to the Trump campaign.
There will be similar stories across all agencies. If a company wants a merger approved, throw a few million dollars at Trump and the Federal Trade Commission will give a green light. If a new FTX-type crypto company wants permission to rip off Blacks and other minorities, a healthy campaign contribution will buy them the opportunity.
Trump will undoubtedly also use his crusade against the deep state to improve the economic picture. We have benefitted enormously from having honest professionals at places like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, we can expect Trump’s new heads of these agencies to report record-low unemployment and record-high economic growth. Trump’s Treasury appointees will surely tell us that he has cut the national debt in half in his first year in office. The career people who object to inventing numbers will be fired.
The list can go on at considerable length, but anyone who thinks this is just fanciful is not paying attention to what Trump and his top associates are saying and what the people around him do. They literally do not care about anything other than enhancing their wealth and power, as we see again and again. Reality is not a factor in their lives.
This is most obvious with the whole story about a stolen election. They have literally produced nothing in the way of real evidence in almost three years of trying. However, this does not stop Trump and large segments of the Republican Party from yelling about a stolen election.
The same applies to their insistence that global warming is fake, as we see record temperatures, wildfires, and hurricanes hitting large parts of the country and world. Trump and his allies could not care less about the real world, they want to trash the woke Democrats and put more money in their pockets from the fossil fuel industry.
As far as the personal corruption aspect, Trump took obvious pride in having foreign governments hand him millions of dollars by booking rooms in his hotels. He said to the rest of us “What are you going to do about?” His Republican allies all thought this was really cool.
If anyone doubts that Trump can find people who will just blatantly lie to fill top positions in the government, look at Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, and Nancy Mace. There is no shortage of people in the Republican Party who will literally say “night is day,” “up is down” or whatever else is needed to advance their careers.
If the media have any commitment to reporting on politics, they would be reporting on Trump and the Republican Party’s plans and what they mean for the country every day of the week. Again, this is not a question of impugning evil motives to Donald Trump and his followers. This is a question of reporting on what they say they will do. We should take them seriously.
This first appeared on Dean Baker’s Beat the Press blog.