Jan 28, 2018
After a 3-day government “shutdown,” the two parties agreed to put off any real decision on the budget until February 8, when the drama and chaos will start all over again. The fact is that this new Congress has repeatedly been unable to pass the fiscal year 2018 budget—which should have been passed by April 15, 2017!
The January shutdown was the result of unsuccessful negotiations between Democrats and Republicans to simply extend the 2017 budget once again through February 16.
Two weeks before, Trump had staged a press event to say he would sign a bi-partisan bill with no protest. In an abrupt turn, just days later, he reversed himself. His so-called “Bill of Love” evaporated, and he replaced it with a barrage of racial attacks on would-be immigrants that directly denigrated almost a quarter of the world population. With a racist shot heard around the world, he said, “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”—disparaging the whole continent of Africa plus Haiti and El Salvador. He recommended, instead, increasing immigration from “countries like Norway.”
Trump’s behavior provoked protests from around the world. Many Norwegians said they don’t want to come here. (Why would they? They have a higher standard of living than we do, better public schools, socialized medicine covering everyone, shorter hours of work, longer vacations—and a higher percentage of immigrants.)
Not at all dissuaded by the outcry, Trump moved from one attack to another, on immigrants, on the poor, on Medicaid, even on Republican senators who were trying to pass the budget bill.
Trump was just doing what Trump always does, when he’s in a corner—lash out to draw attention away from his problems. And in recent weeks, his accumulating problems have put him in a big corner. Steve Bannon, Trump’s previous right-hand man let it be known he would cooperate with the investigation into Trump and his campaign. Recent reports make it clear that the investigation is looking at money laundering by Trump and his Russian cronies.
The higher powers seem to be keeping all of their options open for dealing with Trump. On the one hand, he did step aside and let the Congress quickly pass the tax cut bill, which enormously benefits the wealthiest people in the country, along with the banks and corporations they own. On the other hand, Trump is such an ego-centered wild card, who confuses government needs with those of his own financial empire. Even those wealthy bank owners, speculators and companies who benefit from his tax cuts and deregulation proclamations worry about the results his instability brings. The shutdown of the government, while always amendable, has its costs and consequences.
But whether Trump stays or is forced out what does this mean for working people?
The Democrats would like us to believe that they are a solution, but what are they offering? Throughout this whole miserable year, the Democrats have waited in the wings, trying to focus us on replacing the Republicans, encouraging us to wait for the 2018 and 2020 elections to vote the Republicans out.
Who has the time to wait for these Democratic millionaires to come forward one more time to explain away why they can’t fix “the mess the Republicans left behind”?
They left behind their own messes when they were in control. No matter which party has been in power, working people have been under attack, losing on every front. Trump will go at some point, but the problems will remain for us.
Removing Trump, changing parties through elections won’t take the working class out of the crisis we are in. A real fight to replace this rotten system can take down in its wake the petty tyrants like Trump and the pretenders in the Democratic party, and replace them all with a power that the working class sets up and runs itself.