New Orleans President Trump has taught us many, many things. One of them is that being rich or, in his case, claiming to be rich, is not a qualification for the presidency. There can’t be many people out there in America who don’t realize that the old line about “needing a businessman to run the government like a business” is totally and wholly discredited.
Running the government, as the recent shutdown and the continued hot mess at the White House repeatedly has proven, needs people who not only understand governing but also believe in government as a way to listen and respond to people and meet their needs. Say what you may about politicians and office holders, at least, unlike President Trump, they know that they must gain and then keep a majority constituency behind them in order to effectively govern. Superrich business folks get used to people kowtowing to them and thinking they spit gold out in every sentence. Given the limited and passive role of stockholders, any claims that stockholders might be the same as the electorate are specious and ridiculous. By attacking professional politicians, in a perverse way President Trump has taught us basic civics lessons about their value.
Yet, now we have the more billionaires lining up in the parade of candidates claiming that because of their wealth and business experience, they know what’s best for the rest of us, and they should be president. Harold Schultz of Starbucks and Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg are claiming they should be considered on the list. Lord save us!
Bloomberg at least has experience in politics in addition to his billions, since he served a bunch of terms as Mayor of New York City. So far though he has doubled down on some of his worst policies as mayor including stop-and-frisk. Furthermore, he – and Schultz for that matter – are claiming that one of their chief qualifications are that they are “men of the middle.” We already have a bunch of politicians of the middle presenting themselves so how could that be a qualification?
Mr. Starbucks is scarier. He doesn’t want to hear about this national health insurance problem and in fact seems to think we need to reduce entitlements like social security. He’s talking about national debt as a huge issue as if he is a born-again Republican from the Bushs’ era. While cutting benefits, he wants to make sure we don’t go and do anything crazy like raising or, I should say, restoring some taxes on the rich, because he’s, well, how can I say this, rich. He’s even threatening to run as an independent, which some pundits believe would be a boon for Trump and could be enough to get him re-elected. I get the feeling he’s only threatening to run as a Democrat, because he doesn’t think he can beat Trump in the Republican primary.
We have some good, experienced politicians lining up to run. These real-billionaires should learn something from the fake billionaire, and stick to their philanthropy, op-ed pieces, and company picnics. They could also take a lesson from another real-billionaire, Tom Steyer, the former hedge funder, and understand that maybe their contributions go farther if they decide to pick an issue, like climate change in his case, and realize it’s about getting it done, not just seeing their name in the papers and their ego salved.