Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman nailed President Donald Trump and his allies for profiting off the atrocities he has allowed to take place or has manufactured himself.
Ever since Trump took office he has been profiting off the presidency, mostly by forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for his Secret Service protection at his golf resorts, trips that have now surpassed $100 million in two and a half years.
Trump has also helped his family profit by creating stronger business ties everywhere from Japan to China and the Middle East by naming his family members to positions of influence within the administration.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Krugman particularly highlights Trump’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“Why is the administration providing cover for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, who almost surely ordered the murder of The Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi?” he asked. “Part of the answer, probably, is that Donald Trump basically approves of the idea of killing critical journalists. But the money the Saudi monarchy spends at Trump properties is relevant, too.”
Indeed, Trump even approved an arms sale to Saudi Arabia that has drawn strong condemnation, and you can bet that Trump is stuffing his pockets because of it.
This is a president who can be bought, and dictators around the world know it and are benefiting from it at a cost to our own reputation and leadership.
But Trump also profits from crises that he manufactures here at home like the border crisis.
“A majority of detained migrants are being held in camps run by corporations with close ties to the Republican Party,” Krugman pointed out. “And when I say close ties, we’re talking about personal rewards as well as campaign contributions. A couple of months ago John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, joined the board of Caliburn International, which runs the infamous Homestead detention center for migrant children.”
“There’s no reason to presume that private firms will do a better job when there isn’t any competition, because the government itself is the sole customer,” Krugman continued. “In fact, studies of privatization often find that it ends up costing more than having government employees do the work. Between campaign contributions and the revolving door, plus more outright bribery than we’d like to think, private contractors can engineer overpayment on a scale beyond the wildest dreams of public-sector unions.”
Indeed, a military contractor recently found himself being grilled in Congress few selling a small part for a jacked up price way bigger than what the part is actually worth.
And then there’s Trump’s ties to Erik Prince, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“Many people have, I think, forgotten about the disastrous Bush administration occupation of Iraq, but the incompetence and abuses of politically connected private contractors, like Erik Prince’s security company Blackwater, played a major role in the debacle,” Krugman continued. “Did I mention that Betsy DeVos, Trump’s secretary of education and a key defender of for-profit education, is Prince’s sister?”
Trump is not only profiting from the office, but his officials are also getting their own piece of the pie as well all while people suffer.
In the end, Krugman condemned this kind of corruption and blatant ethics violations.
“It would, I think, be going too far to claim that the private-prison industry — merchants of detention? — has been a driving force behind the viciousness of Trump’s border policy,” he concluded. “But the fact that crony capitalists close to the administration profit from the viciousness surely greases the path. As I suggested at the beginning, cruelty and corruption are intertwined in Trump administration policy. Every betrayal of American principles also seems, somehow, to produce financial benefits for Trump and his friends.”
Trump is directly profiting from the presidency, which is a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. It makes Trump vulnerable to being used by our enemies, which makes him a threat to our national security. He is taking pay for play to a whole new corrupt level and he must be impeached if we are to save what’s left of America’s soul. That is, unless Trump has already sold it to the highest bidder.
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