Steven Mnuchin and Mike Meyers at a meeting of the Integrity Club
The 2016 election was about resentment toward economic and political elites. That’s why voters (nearly) picked the billionaire TV personality instead of the hundred-millionaire president’s wife. Now that the electorate has demanded Washington stop rigging the system in favor of rich people and their execrable children, Donald Trump is here to clean things up, along with his children. But he’s also got a posse of rich men. Here’s notorious bro Bernie Sanders with a fun fact:
If you really wanted to make America great again, you could nominate these 17 people to give up their fortunes and double the assets of the working class. How many people would not give one rat’s ass what Rex Tillerson did after he did that? You could give him room and board in the White House and let him live on his salary as Secretary of State. But that would be crazy—better to let him keep his money and also give him global power. Today is Friday, and the CEO of ExxonMobil is going to help a TV billionaire make things right for the little guy. Won’t you strike up The Internationale with me?
The 2016 presidential candidates and their spouses at a wedding in 2005.
Who says Hillary Clinton isn’t the best candidate to address wealth inequality? Racists and bros, mostly—the rest of us know better. Here’s the presumptive Democratic nominee telling the New York Times that she’s open to considering Mark Cuban or another successful businessperson as her vice president:
“Businesspeople, especially successful businesspeople, who are really successful — as opposed to pretend successful — I think, have a lot to offer,” said Mrs. Clinton, whose campaign has begun taunting Mr. Trump with a #PoorDonald hashtag on Twitter, suggesting that he is not nearly as wealthy as he claims. Mr. Trump has cited an audit by the Internal Revenue Service as his reason for keeping his tax returns private.
Clinton supporters on Twitter have begun circulating the claim that Donald Trump is not a multi-billionaire, as he says, and that his net worth is actually less than $100 million. That would put him below the Clintons’ estimated worth of $110 million, nearly all of which they made after Bill became president. Surely, voters will flock to Hillary once they start thinking of her as the richer candidate.
Donald and Ivana Trump on their honeymoon
Two fun things happened last weekend. On Saturday, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia awarded me first place in its Political Column category for my work at the Missoula Independent. That’s extremely nice of them and probably better than I deserve. In case you needed another reminder that the race is not to the swift, a Fox News poll released Friday had Donald Trump running first among Republican candidates for president, with support from 18% of likely primary voters. Before you stockpile canned beans, let us remember that Trump is one of 16 candidates for the Republican nomination, and his status as front-runner may testify less to his viability and more to how thoroughly that field has split the vote of people who try to supply the funniest answer to polls. Also, right after that one came out, Trump criticized Senator John McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War.
Riot police/gas-induced Mickey Mouse hallucination in Tbilisi
All the best imaginary worlds are ruled by despotic governments. Your 1984, your Stainless Steel Rat galaxy, and my beloved Aeon Flux all invite the reader to indulge the fantasy of organized repression. And those are mostly just books—you can also find plenty of despotism in other media of fantasy, such as cable news or American political discourse. If you like to pretend that titanic forces are arrayed against you—and really, don’t we all?—now is an exciting time to be alive. Today is Friday, and probably we are not poised on the brink of a new world order. It would be kind of awesome if we were, though, provided the actual despotism never, ever actually happened. Won’t you exercise the imagination/wallow in the disastrous ignorance with me?
Hint: It’s not the baby boomers
Because I know you like it, let me lay some demographics on you. We are looking at two groups of Americans: one has lost 13% of its net worth since 2005; the other lost 37% over the same period. Since 1984, the median household worth of one has increased by 42%, while the worth of the other has declined by 68%. One has seen its share of the workforce increase since 2008. The other suffers unemployment at a rate 50% higher than the national average. And one of these groups claims to have invented rock and roll—no, not white people. We are talking about the differences between people over 65 and people under 35. All these fun statistics come from this article by Joel Kotkin, cheerfully titled “Are Millennials the Screwed Generation?”