Naomi Klein, No is Not Enough: defeating the new shock politics, Allen Lane, £12.99, pp288, 0241320887
Naomi Klein has produced a useful analysis of Donald Trump’s domestic shock doctrine – where the goal is an all-out war on the public interest and the transfer of even more power to the super rich 1% and their corporations. Within hours of taking office, Trump announced his intention to slash corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% and corporate regulations by 75%.
The Donald became a national figure in the 1980s when he followed his father into real estate development. He splashed the Trump name across casinos, hotels, and office blocks. His big break came when he was asked to host The Apprentice which featured his own developments all bearing the Trump brand name. This exposure attracted a number of licensing agreements to use the Trump logo on leisurewear, perfumes and furniture. The Trump brand quickly became a super-brand thanks to this exposure. Trump realised he could make more money from licensing the Trump super-brand name to other developers than he could from owning the real estate himself. For example he received over $50m for licensing the Trump name for an hotel project in Panama for no outlay. Every single minute he is President, his super-brand value increases with over 150 trademark applications pending in 36 countries. His daughter, Ivanka, who has brand interests in clothing and jewellery, gets a boost as well.
Trump realised that election campaigns were a form of reality television where the best contestant (not necessarily the best candidate) would win. The Trump Show is now broadcasting live from the Oval Office. His blueprint is the battle plan of Paul Bremer appointed by George W Bush to lead the Coalition Provisional Authority following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. From within the highly protected Green Zone, Bremer issued decree after decree transforming Iraq into a free market economy with a 15% tax rate. State owned assets were sold off to US corporations and billions of dollars disappeared into offshore bank accounts.
To achieve his goals, Trump has surrounded himself with fellow members of the 1% club. His Cabinet has a cumulative net worth of over $14bn. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the former Exxon Mobil chief executive. It made a fortune exploiting Iraqi oil. Despite having internal data on the catastrophic effects of climate change, it ran a disinformation campaign claiming it was all junk science. Patrick Shanahan, a top Boeing executive, was appointed as Deputy Defence Secretary. At least 15 officials with financial ties to the defence industry are on the Trump team just as the homeland security budget is being boosted. Five former Goldman Sachs executives have important roles in the Trump administration. Steve Munchin is Treasury Secretary and James Donovan is his deputy. Gary Cohn is Director of the White House Economic Council, Dina Powell is White House senior counselor for economic initiatives, and Jay Clayton heads the Securities and Exchange Commission. These appointments were all made after the Justice Department fined Goldman Sachs $5bn for malpractices in the sub-prime mortgage scandal. Vice President Mike Pence was Chairman of the Republican Study Committee tasked to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It designated the whole area as a tax free enterprise zone and $40bn was cut from the federal food stamp, medicaid, and student loan budget to pay the private contractors carrying out reinstatement work. Now Trump, Pence, and their pals can apply their shock doctrine throughout the USA.
Klein maintains that it is not enough to just say No to Trump and she is a signatory to the Leap Manifesto which can be downloaded from:
Colin Darroch is a former Glasgow District councilor