Planet Ravagers: How Trump & GOP are like Aliens in “Independence Day”

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

“They’re like locusts. They’re moving from planet to planet, their entire civilization. Once they consume every natural resource, they move on.”
— President Thomas Whitmore, “Independence Day”

You expect the Republican Party, when it wins a national election, to pass some laws benefiting the business classes. The GOP mainly stands for the interests of the 0.1% who are typically involved in business. It manages to get working people and the middle class to vote for it every other year, too, mainly by race-baiting, hypocritical Bible-thumping, and fear-mongering.

But the Trump administration isn’t even representing the interests of the business classes, which presumably include staying alive and having their money be worth something.

Trump and his cohort are Planet Ravagers. (This is a common Hollywood trope, but they are the real thing). They just want to suck the earth dry, and apparently they don’t in the slightest care what happens to people or even businesses after they go out of office. Their quest is for short term megaprofits.

So Trump said that he is going to cut corporate taxes to 15% from 35%. The US has a big problem with increasing economic inequality, and Reagan and subsequent tax policy is in large part to blame. Trump’s tax cuts will throw even more of the nation’s wealth to the super-rich. Think about tax policy as a snow blower that you angle so that all of the snow it spews out goes in one pile. After a while you have a little snow mountain in your yard, but your driveway has no snow at all. That’s what Trump is planning to do with our money.

Tax cuts do not create economic growth. That is a myth that Republicans keep pushing in the face of all the studies by economists. They actually advocated tax cuts in the 1930s to address the Great Depression, which their policies had created. It is just snake oil. Reagan cut taxes, and all it did was balloon out the government budget deficit.

The seriousness of the US debt should not be exaggerated. Spending a bit over budget often helps the economy grow, and governments are not like households that they go bankrupt. But the fact is that US debt is unhealthily high, basically equal to gross domestic product, and Trump’s tax cut will cause it to skyrocket. The world carries the US in the face of this weakness, but at some point they are going to prefer not to have an unstable reserve currency.

How can it be good for US business to have the US credit rating fall and have the dollar lose its reputation? I don’t understand.

Then Trump announced a study toward lifting the ban on drilling for hydrocarbons on Federal land.

It might be nice for some oil firms, but it risks blighting the landscape for the rest of us.

Then there is the gutting of environmental law. They increase the risk of algae blooms in places like Lake Erie, which can be deadly to human beings if they affect drinking water. He doesn’t care.

But really? Who profits from algal blooms?

They’re being self destructive in this White House, just as W. Bush was. And when the next economic crash comes, it won’t be the CEOs who most feel the pain.

Planet ravagers.

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12 Responses

  1. The plundering and laying waste to other nations by large nations is nothing new. The Romans, the crusades etc. I suppose we just have to except that man is a truly nasty beast and as the bible tells us, man will eventually destroy himself and the meek shall inherit the earth. The meek in this case is probably something like the common woodlouse which has been around since before the dinosaurs, lives underground and can live on dead and decaying matter. When man has finished with his wars there will be plenty of dead and decaying matter to go round.

    • I read some years back that The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells was actually a metaphor about western countries colonizing poor countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many people have argued that naked imperialism was just replaced by more subtle economic imperialism.With the election of Trump, scientists have moved the Doomsday Clock forward so that it is now the closest to midnight it has been since 1953.

  2. I’ve been trying to say this in the last couple of articles at my site and in recent comments here, I’ll try it one more time. As an student of economic history it is absolutely true, IMHO, that throughout the history of human beings on earth, up through about 50 years ago, just about about all human economic enterprises depended on the unlimited dumping of their waste products into the air, waters and lands of our Mother Earth. Major cities and other over-crowded environments began to nitice some harms and pass local regulations, very few worried abut the carrying capacity of our earth and air for total waste products.

    Finally its occurring to us that our wasteful habits are simply unsustainable — and the big question is whether we’ve already passed “the point of no return” on our way to a climate change, and major human systems failure. On our current track, this would include just what we’re seeing now of active reactionary measures by the reactionary forces, leading to the major failure of kleptocratic/anti-democratic governments (of all types), and short-sighted corporations, and ending in “say good-bye to your grandkids” major-civilization-level failure.

    Perhaps the only question left to us, is if there is just barely time to turn things around.

    Can anyone really see us ending the fossil fuel industries by citizen power over governments, in the next. say 7 to 11 years? Who has a better idea of the transformation we have to make and how to get there?

    • I’m afraid we have passed the point of no return on climate change and Trump’s policies are rapidly hastening the Day of Reckoning. Things will get bad; the only question is how bad and how soon.

    • You read it all the time in environmental scientific reports. “Faster than previously predicted or previously thought possible” or words to that affect. We simply don’t begin to understand the damage we have wrought and what lies ahead. There’s your answer. We’re already a half century behind the curve. And now we have a reactionary Neanderthal as president.

  3. No, no, no! It’s not Independence Day, it’s The Arrival! In this 20 year old prophetic film, aliens disguise themselves as humans (including fake hair) and buy up failing power plants around the globe. They transform the plants into earth warmers and atmosphere transformers to make the environment more suitable for the colonizing life form. Washington power players have been co-opted. No one believes the scientists who figure it out.

  4. To a capitalist polluting the water only means better bottled water sales. Who cares about ocean water when beach front development is a boom. Drilling for natural resources on National Land is necessary, I mean how else you going to drive that car to the game? When it comes to clean air, why worry about something you can’t see. Plus, those tree hungers are just shaggy haired liberals with an axe to grind since their grandpa lost the farm…who cares this is America where when the time comes to get real worried there will be a new invention to improve what needs improved. Gee, just writing this sarcasm is making me ill.

  5. The thought had occurred that these forest/jungle decimating, ocean garbage dumping, fossil fuel demons are terraforming Earth for someone else. Certainly not their descendents?

  6. As soon as the Reagan tax cuts were enacted in 1981, the economy went into a recession, because the tax cuts were excessive and unsustainable. The Democrats made gains in the 1982 midterm elections.

    The Trump tax plan, which is Reagan’s tax cuts on steriods, will result in a more massive recession, which will probably result in large Democratic gains in the 2018 midterm elections.

    David Stockman’s comment on the 1981 Reagan tax cuts, “the pigs got greedy at the trough.”

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