The Council To Reopen America: A Reality

In the ensuing wake of a pandemic the current administration has sought to implement countermeasures to regain societal normalcy. On April 14th, the Trump administration announced that it will be launching “The Council to Re-Open America”. Officials also released the names of seven potential members, each unique in their skill set and ability to deal with the crisis ahead. The sentiment is very endearing but Americans should be extremely cautious of the proposed individuals and their elite status. 

More and more as of late we are being represented by millionaires, even billionaires, rather than individuals that are members of the working class. Americans need to seek representation that can be empathetic towards daily struggles that the majority of our representation have never felt. Extreme wealth should not gate keep high political positions and there is a pattern in America that shows otherwise. The members suggested for the council below are a credible argument to the disappearance of the working class from politics and decisions of it’s own well being. 

  1. Mark Meadows

Serving as the White House Chief of Staff, Meadows is a prominent member of the political and business community. Before his illustrious career as a civil servant he worked in the real estate industry and owns Highland Construction. 

An article by Business Insider claims he is worth between $1.6 and $12 million. According to other sources his net worth has fluctuated throughout the past decade. In 2011 he was worth $7 million while the average net worth for representatives of the house was under $1.5 million. Again in 2014 he was worth a staggering $4.2 million while the average net worth still crept under $1.5 million. His wealth in comparison to that of the other members, while still outrageous, shows that the wealthiest individuals move to prominent positions easily. 

  1. Ivanka Trump & Jared Jared Kushner

While their exact net worth is unknown, a Forbes probe into court documents and property records indicate that the couple is worth roughly $375 million combined. This wealth can be connected to Kushner’s previous career in real estate and Trump’s handsomely paid position as an executive within her father’s business. 

It also can’t go without mentioning Trump created a fashion line that made appearances in designer boutiques around the world. She even wrote a book titled “Women Who Work” where she speaks volumes about how she aims to improve the lives of women and girls around the world. So it’s odd that an AP News article detailed the arrest of three men in conjunction with the investigation of human rights abuse in a Chinese factory producing her shoes. These three men had compiled compelling evidence against the factory, detailing forced overtime, managers beating workers, and pay as low as $1 per hour. As a result they were arrested and jailed for thirty days. So far there has been no comment from Trump. Can we trust these individuals, who take the abuse of workers lightly, to re-open America with the well being of the citizens in mind or the corporations?

  1. Steven Mnuchin

Acting as the 77th Secretary of the Treasury, Mnuchin has a net worth of approximately $450 million. Before working for the government he was an employee of Goldman Sachs for seventeen years. He served his tenure as a hedge fund manager, often setting up hedge funds in the Cayman islands and other tax havens where he could take advantage of the zero percent tax rate. Mnuchin claims that he was only acting to satisfy the needs of his investors. He has aided countless individuals in amassing unobtainable amounts that can slip through the taxable cracks. In general U.S corporations avoid about $90 billion every year because of tax havens. 

Taxes are paid year over year by the working class, but we’ve allowed this man to take such a strong public position. A man who has no empathy for the citizens who suffer when the elite, that generate and horde most of the nation’s wealth, pay nothing towards the social structure they take advantage of. 

  1. Robert  Lighthizer

United States Trade Representative, Lighthizer, has a comfortable net worth of $25 million. He favors using executive orders, legal measures, and diplomatic pressure to garner trade advantages over other countries. Lighthizer is quoted saying we need to “make sure that market forces determine who survives and who doesn’t survive”. He is referring to foreign economies, but his lack of empathy is apparent. It’s concerning that he has been appointed to a council that holds the fate of the working class. If “market forces” dictate that the corporate cabal send workers back into the throws of a spreading pandemic then so be it. As long as the current economic structure stays intact, they’ll be sure to thank the survivors with a commercial on national television. 

  1. Wilbur Ross

Ross is the United States Secretary of Commerce. Before public service he nested away a net worth of $600 million. He’s also failed to report all of his assets, so he could likely be worth more. 

  1. Larry Kudlow

While he isn’t as wealthy as the former members mentioned Kudlow is worth $25 million. He’s made the majority of his fortune working as a correspondent for CNBC.  

These seven examples represent a minority of the council proposed to reopen America. It will consist of roughly one hundred business executives, along with other (wealthy) members of Donald Trump’s cabinet. 

The members above have an approximate combined net worth of $1.4 billion. Less than one-seventh of the council are worth over a billion dollars. Keep in mind that the average American earns $44,720 a year and forty percent of Americans can’t afford an $400 emergency. Yet our fate is cast into the hands of a council that knows absolutely nothing about the day to day livelihood of the working class. If that doesn’t cast light into the plight of the working class and it’s inability to transcend to top political positions then I’m not sure what will. And it’s no secret that these individuals amass this wealth with the help of Wall Street. So who does the government bail out first? Wall Street. 

As citizens we’ve allowed this to happen for decades. With stride millionaires take positions in public office with little opposition from the masses. It’s become routine to let “businessmen” control the government, because they’ve shown such proficiency in the private sector that it would make sense that they run the country. It’s become easy for Americans to forget that corporations in the country are for profit, not people. And this routine has aided in the disintegration of true democracy while high level political positions are guarded off by agents of capitalism. 

An average American (making $44,720 per year) will find it increasingly difficult to combat the wealthy competing in government. They don’t have the same funds to propagate themselves. Councils, like this one in particular, show that working class Americans do not have realistic representation in government. The choices are made by extremely wealthy members of society that will often act in the vested interests of big business. It’s time to create a united base of citizens that will fight to garner suitable working class representation in this government.



Patrick O’Connor

current events economics politics progressive

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