Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
"I hear America singing," Walt Whitman wrote, "the varied carols I hear." Donald Trump hears America singing, too. But where Whitman heard men and women, masons and carpenters, Trump hears only the unvarying monotone of rich white males like himself.
Trump's tone-deafness was in full effect last week, when he announced his team of economic advisers in advance of what is being billed as "a major economic address" in Detroit on Monday.
Trump's team isn't just monochromatic and male. At least four, and perhaps as many six, of the men are billionaires. They range in age from 50 to 74 -- or, from "younger old white guy" to "older old white guy."
Five team members are named Steve -- which means that eight of them are not. For diversity, that will have to do.
There are only two economists on the team -- and one of them believes in the flat tax.
But hedge funds are represented. So is fracking. And tobacco. And guns. And banking. And steel. And there's the guy who mismanaged Chrysler before it was rescued by a government intervention.
Trump's advisory team is a "suicide squad" for the American economy -- which seems fitting, since a funder of the new "Suicide Squad" movie is on it, too.
Three team members -- economist Peter Navarro, steel magnate Dan DiMicco and real estate investor Thomas Barrack Jr. -- have criticized the bad "trade" deals supported by both major parties over the last 25 years. That's a start, I suppose. But it's not enough, not by a long shot.
(As for Barrack, he says he raised $32 million for a Trump super PAC from only four donors. He also hosted a Trump fundraiser for $25,000 a ticket -- or $100,000 per couple. So much for "the candidate who can't be bought because he doesn't need the money.")
Who's not represented on Trump's economic team? Working people. Women. Minorities. The middle class.
There are no union leaders or labor economists to explain why higher wages and a more unionized workforce leads to broader growth prosperity. There's nobody who's fighting to close the gender pay gap, or to resist the economic predation that has decimated minority communities. There's no one who understands the devastating impact that environmental destruction is having on our economy, as well as on our planet and on our bodies.
So who are these men? Old caper movies introduce their players with a montage of them living their daily lives. Here, then, is the Trump Team montage:
Andrew Beal, banker: Beal made his billions buying up distressed properties, sometimes from government agencies. He reportedly plays rough at collection time. "Mr. Beal acknowledges that some debt collectors engaged by his banks may have pushed too hard," the Wall Street Journal wrote.
Beal likes to play high-stakes poker. He is known for offering risky loans -- and because he owns a bank, the US government insures them.