Monday, January 2, 2017
In the United States, many believe that our President-elect will not be tempted to use his office to further enrich himself because "he's already rich." Well, he was born rich, and had more money, decades ago, than you and I could spend in a lifetime — but somehow that didn't slow his pursuit of lots more. Becoming President is not likely to change his behavior.
A little thing like the Emoluments Clause won't stand in his way. A Republican Congress is not about to impeach and convict a Republican president for a little bit of self-dealing — nor, for that matter, a lot of self-dealing. We can expect revisions to the tax code to make the party's benevolent billionaires even richer, at the expense of the rest of us. We can expect windfalls for military contractors, the banking industry, any company that takes advantage of "public-private partnership" opportunities and, of course, property developers.
Deficit hawks will insist such expenditures be "paid for" with spending cuts in other areas. The most "obvious" places for cuts already are being eyed hungrily by GOP ideologues: environmental protection, health care (including Medicare and Medicaid), Social Security, the tattered remains of the rest of the social safety net, and regulatory enforcement.
Anybody who expects our President-elect to start behaving like a "normal" president when he takes office is even more delusional than he is.