Trump meeting with cabinet at tower Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump’s Extreme Oligarchy

US President-elect Donald Trump is stuffing his cabinet with rich people. And the essentials of the incoming administration's economic-policy agenda are straightforward: lower taxes for the oligarchs and people like them, and higher taxes – not to mention significant job losses – for almost everyone else.

WASHINGTON, DC – US President-elect Donald Trump is filling his cabinet with rich people. According to the latest count, his nominees include five billionaires and six multimillionaires. This is what is known as oligarchy: direct control of the state by people with substantial private economic power. Given that the Republicans also control both houses of Congress – and will soon make many judicial appointments – there is virtually no effective constraint on the executive branch.

In many instances – including the United States today – the initial reaction to such a government includes the hope that perhaps rich people will be good at creating jobs. They made themselves rich, goes the logic, so maybe they can do the same for the rest of us.

Hope usually dies last, but the incoming administration’s proposed economic policies are not encouraging. The organizing principle seems to be to discard pragmatism entirely and advance an extreme and discredited ideology.

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