Midway into the third year of his presidency, Donald Trump is still able to find less competent clowns and more brutal thugs than their clownish, brutish predecessors to execute his policies (or, more accurately, his impulses). His nominations of Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve would place political hacks with proven records of economic idiocy in key policy-making slots. At one time or another, each advocated a reversion to the gold standard—the one policy guaranteed to turn a recession into a depression—and both warned repeatedly that the low interest rates and federal spending of the Obama era, which were key to the post-2008 economic recovery, would surely lead to ruinous inflation. Now that unemployment is at record lows, however, they have shifted their stance to supporting lowering interest rates to boost the economy—compliantly echoing the position of a desperate Trump hoping that good economic news will boost his re-election prospects.
Over at the Department of Homeland Security, Trump is cleaning house (or more precisely, making it even filthier) with the goal of rendering the very idea of coming to America so life-threatening that no one—even families compelled to flee for their lives from Central America—would consider it. According to reports in The New York Times and other publications, he’s considering restarting the program of taking children from their parents and signing an executive order to end birthright citizenship. Neither of these policies would likely survive a court test, but that would only encourage Trump to rail more loudly against the judiciary and dredge up even more authoritarian nominees to the federal bench.
By the way, if we’re going to eliminate birthright citizenship—de-naturalizing children for the crime of having immigrant parents—might I suggest that we strip citizenship from the descendants of the most serious crime ever committed against the United States: the treason of having fought for the Confederacy. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution reads: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Seems to me that the founders thought this a more serious offense than immigrating here. I would exclude, of course, the African American descendants of Confederates, who may well be descendants only because white Confederate males, or their offspring, had forcible, non-consensual sexual relations with black women.
And speaking of the Confederacy, the racist and xenophobic policies of the administration are increasingly coming to resemble those of antebellum (or just plain bellum) Dixie—in particular, taking children from their parents, or parents from their children, a commonplace before slavery was abolished, now poised to make a grim return. Cycling through ever-denser dunces and relentlessly more thuggish racists, the Trump administration grinds barbarically on.