Trump administration continues reactionary offensive

woman anti trump protest san francisco
Millions of women throughout the US marched on 21 January in opposition to Trump

Donald Trump’s presidency continued along its eventful and regressive path in the two months covering the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, starting with the progression of the Republican tax cut bill into law and ending with the Democrats caving in on immigration issues. Steve Palmer reports.

Let’s review events. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act was passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump on 20 December 2017. The Act cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. It includes special concessions for ‘pass-through businesses’, which include many property companies, such as those owned by Trump, who is likely to benefit personally by hundreds of millions of dollars. The tax cut generally redistributes income from the poor to the rich – and will increase the federal deficit, which currently stands at about $20 trillion, by some $1.5 trillion.

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The US opioid epidemic

Opioid Map

The United States is in the midst of an escalating epidemic of opioid-related drug addiction and overdose-related deaths. Between 2000-2015, more than 500,000 mostly white working-class people, in small towns and rural communities, died prematurely from both illegal and legal opioid drug use. But legal prescription opioids now kill more people than both heroin and cocaine combined. The responsibility for this lies with criminal pharmaceutical companies which manufactured the opioids, bribed doctors to prescribe them, and, playing down the risks, pushed them onto the public in the pursuit of profit. There is no end of the epidemic in sight, and it is having devastating consequences.

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Immigrants attacked again in the US

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President Trump’s recent abusive remarks about El Salvador, Haiti and African states sharply brings home again the relation between nominally independent states and the imperialist powers in this neo-colonial ‘globalised’ world. On 8 January Trump announced the decision to end ‘temporary protected status’ (TPS) from July 2019 for 260,500 Salvadorans and 46,000 Haitians legally working in the US, so cutting off the flow of their remittances to El Salvador and Haiti, removing the central purpose for these workers’ migration to the US, and, ironically for US banks, the dollars that allow the countries to pay their international debts.

These moves ignore objections from the US Chamber of Commerce, representing companies who profit from this highly exploited labour. The Salvadorian labour force participation rate is 88%, 25 percentage points above the US average, and their unemployment rate is 5%. Salvadoran TPS holders have 45,000 mortgages.

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Trump and US Capitalism - Beyond the clowning

trump clowning

Clowns distract us and amuse us, whether in the circus, or in the White House. The liberal media are preoccupied with Trump’s tweets: whether stupid, ignorant, fascistic, they’re always unpredictable and good for gossip. But they cloud what is really going on. Behind the apparent chaos, discord, investigations and lies, a coherent plan is unfolding. Beyond the clowning and beyond the tweets, the US ruling class is undertaking a comprehensive remodelling of US capitalism, making it even more exploitative, aggressive and anti-people. Steve Palmer reports.

Trump has demanded that regulatory agencies delete two rules for every new one introduced. Incinerating protections for workers and consumers, the Trump administration is transferring even more power to finance capital, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and fossil fuel companies by weakening regulation, changing legislation and modifying tax policy. A Regulatory Accountability Act is in process which will make it immeasurably easier for capitalists to gut, challenge and delay consumer and worker protections. Class action law suits against banks will be forced into arbitration – a much more favourable arena for the banks, since many of the arbitrators come from the industry. Agencies are increasingly populated by ex-lobbyists as ‘advisors’, who ensure that it is corporations, not working people who gain under Trump.

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US and North Korea: nuclear threat returns

North Korea nuclear missile threat Trump

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – North Korea) is demonised and its leader, Kim Jong-un, is abused by mainstream media around the world. People are being prepared to accept the possibility of all-out war against the DPRK. Given its relative economic decline, US imperialism intends to use its unrivalled military superiority to maintain its global hegemony. DPRK defiance cannot be tolerated. Its refusal to submit to the US results in its portrayal as dangerous. Since its formation in 1948 the DPRK has been under threat of annihilation. Historically and strategically, US confrontation with the DPRK leads to confrontation with China and Russia, with which DPRK shares borders. Trevor Rayne reports.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September, US President Trump threatened to ‘totally destroy’ the DPRK and then condemned Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba. He brought Russia and China into target saying, ‘We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.’ This caricature of a cartoon villain was putting the world on notice.

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