Trump’s corporate servility

President Trump is basically a ready-for-hire hatchet man for business interests. For the latest piece of evidence, witness the trade fight America nearly got in with Ecuador over breastfeeding.

Earlier this year, Ecuador had planned to introduce a measure encouraging breastfeeding as the healthiest source of food for infants at a meeting of the World Health Organization. It was one of those noncontroversial things that everyone expected to pass with widespread ease, since the medical community has long clearly recognized that breastfeeding is indeed the healthiest option for babies.

But then the White House stepped in, insisting the resolution be watered down, and then that it be scrapped. “The Americans were blunt,” The New York Times reported. “If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid.” Ecuador caved, and a host of other countries refused to take the measure up, citing fears of U.S. retaliation. Ironically, it was Russia that ultimately stepped in to rebuff the U.S. demands and carry the measure through.

As it happens, the Trump administration’s stance aligns very neatly with the preferences of the $70 billion formula industry. What a coincidence!

For its part, the White House claims that it’s just sticking up for women. “Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. These women should not be stigmatized,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley. And this from the president:

The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018

Oakley is absolutely right that many women need formula as a necessary alternative to breastfeeding. But it’s a little hard to take the administration’s position seriously as a stand on principle, as the U.S. also scrapped support of soda taxes from a statement on obesity, and tried to scuttle a roadmap for giving poor countries cheaper access to otherwise-expensive medicines.

It’s also hard to take seriously given the entire sweep of Trump’s pro-business policy. He always sides with business interests over regular people.

First off, there were the tax cuts. They were presented as a high-minded reform, aimed at simplifying the tax code and boosting job and wage growth. In fact, Republican lawmakers may well have made the tax code more byzantine, and more vulnerable to games by the wealthy, while evidence of any positive effect on jobs and wages is pretty much nonexistent. The only thing the GOP tax overhaul definitely delivered was a massive giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

Then there’s deregulation. As far as I can tell, the way this works is businesspeople come to the president and complain about some government rule they find costly or inconvenient. And Trump’s inevitable reaction is to breezily scrap it, or at least …read more

Source:: The Week – Business


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