New York Times: Trump’s Crony Capitalism Will Have “Devastating Consequences”

The New York Times Editorial Board had some sharp criticism for both Donald Trump and the corporations that are enabling his blatant dishonesty:

President-elect Donald Trump would like everybody to believe that his election is energizing the economy by forcing businesses to create thousands of jobs in the United States. And companies like Sprint seem perfectly happy to go along with this fiction because they know they can profit handsomely by cozying up to Mr. Trump.

And Trump knows it. At some point, we’re almost certainly going to find out through leaked emails (from Wikileaks? Not a chance) that Trump’s goons have been coordinating with corporations to mislead the public about Trump’s “job creation” claims. And they’ll do it because it will give them a leg up on the competition to be in bed with Trump. As Matt Yglesias at Vox explained, this becomes a self-reinforcing cycle where corporations will become both reliant on, and a booster of, the Trump administration:

This is how Vladimir Putin governs Russia, and how the Mubarak/Sisi regime rules Egypt. To be a successful businessman in a systemically corrupt regime and to be a close supporter of the regime are one and the same thing.

Those who support the regime will receive favorable treatment from regulators, and those who oppose it will not.

A favorite war cry from both the left and the right against both party establishments has been “Crony Capitalism!” And to a certain degree, they aren’t wrong. Both parties are beholden to corporate money to varying degrees (one far more than the other, obviously). But there’s a qualitative difference between a corporation influencing politics and a merging of the two. 

The NYT Editorial Board doesn’t go that far in its criticism, likely to keep people from rolling their eyes and tuning out, but they do describe how cozying up to Trump will be great for businesses but terrible for everyone else:

This is crony capitalism, with potentially devastating consequences. If Mr. Trump appoints people to the antitrust division and the F.C.C. who are willing to wave through a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, he will do lasting damage to the economy that far outweighs any benefit from 5,000 jobs, jobs that might have been created even without the merger. Individuals and businesses will find wireless service costs a lot more when they have only Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint to choose from.

And as long as those corporations looking for favors are willing to offer up, as the Times puts it, “shiny objects” for Trump to wow the peasants with, they’ll get whatever they want. It’s a win-win for the rich and powerful and an unmitigated disaster for the country and the economy.

The only way to fight this is for the press to stop breathlessly repeating Trump’s claims verbatim under the guise of “journalism.” Actual journalism is not reporting “Trump declares victory: Sprint will create 5,000 U.S. jobs.” as CNN did but instead to inform the public that “Trump seeks credit for 5,000 Sprint jobs already touted.” as Bloomberg did.

If we can’t stem the flood of lies and misinformation coming from Trump, or in the case of the Wall Street Journal, can’t be bothered to even try, we’re going to be seduced by bread and circuses as Rome burns to the ground. 

– This article kills fascists

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