Destroying Government

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair – Photograph by Martin Falbisoner

Donald Trump opened the new year with belligerence. He authored the shutdown of the United States federal government. For a country where everything seems to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is bizarre to have government offices closed for weeks. In a meeting with congressional leaders in early January, Trump threatened that unless he got the money to build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, he would keep the government shut down for a year. It is likely that the new Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives will come to an accommodation with Trump. Democrats do not have the appetite for a long-drawn-out battle with a man who relishes the opportunity to undermine the government and the idea of the government. That is, after all, the agenda of people like Trump—to destroy government and allow big business to set the rules.

Evidence of Trump’s attitude came quickly as he appointed various former corporate men to high positions in his Cabinet. Four departments in particular are to be headed by men whose former employers had been regulated by their new offices: the Defence Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Health and Human Services Department and the Interior Department. Alex Azar, for instance, is a former president of Eli Lilly, a global pharmaceutical company. He is now Trump’s acting Secretary of Health and Human Services. Eli Lilly is one…

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