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The Cabinet that Made a Fortune On Workers’ Backs

Donald Trump cabinet picks and cabinet-level appointees (AFP Photo/Laurence SAUBADU, Jonathan STOREY, Gillian HANDYSIDE)
Setting aside Trump’s playing around with “alternative truths” and things of the kind used to distract workers, something is objectively and empirically very clear: Trump has constituted the wealthiest cabinet ever to run the United States. His cabinet’s worth is estimated around $4.5 billion (at the top are Ross Wilbur and Betsy DeVoss) a sum which “is 60% higher than the aggregate wealth of Barack Obama’s (...) Cabinet, which Forbes estimates to be $2.75 billion” This is without taking into account Trump’s own personal wealth: $3.7 billion. This government is in fact a pure expression of the American corporate power, which is not afraid to hide its obscene wealth anymore. Obama was the austerity president: austerity for workers and encouraged public restraint for bosses while profits were being recovered on the backs of working people. Trump is the braggy billionaires’ president, where, in his view, workers are supposed to admire and love those who got richer in the aftermath of a traumatic crisis while they got poorer. “I want people that made a fortune!” Trump stated during his campaign. The billionaire campaigned on the very “simple” idea that making money means being “successful”, capable, smart, etc. Yet, beneath the apparently simple formula of Trump lies hidden the universal mechanism of exploitation of millions of workers. In fact, our society is based on the concealment of the origin of value: money does not come from great minds, actions or decisions. It comes from profits created by the appropriation of a significant portion of the labor of millions of workers, what Marx called surplus-value. For us workers, who do not belong to the “owning” class, our destiny in this system is to work for wagers to make ends meet. Yet at the same time, if we do not work, they do not get rich. So the problem is that as long as the corporate powers rule, even if we work harder than ever, we never make enough to have a decent life. To celebrate the millionaires and billionaires as national heroes, as Trump pretends, is to celebrate the wheel of capitalist production and exploitation that keeps us chained to our current social condition - it is to toast to our own enslavement.

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La Voz De Los Trabajadores/Workers Voice is a revolutionary socialist organization. We are the sympathizing organization of the International Workers League (LIT-CI) in the United States. We formed in California in 2008 around the struggles of the immigrant working class & the fight for militant, democratic trade unions and other workers’ and people’s organizations that defend the principle of class independence.

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