From The Intercept
(Image by Photo by Suomi NPP, a weather satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.) Details DMCA
AS ONE OF the most powerful storms ever recorded bore down on the continental United States, with much of Florida under evacuation order, President Donald Trump was focused on a matter of grave urgency.
He gathered his cabinet at Camp David and said there was no time to waste. With Hurricane Irma set to potentially devastate huge swaths of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, now was the time, he said, to rush through massive ... tax cuts.
Yes, that's right. He wasn't focused on getting massive aid to those most affected. He wasn't focused on massive change to our energy and transit systems to lower greenhouse gas emissions so that Irma-like storms do not become a thrice-annual occurrence. His mind was on massive changes to the tax code -- which, despite Trump's claims that he is driven by a desire to give the middle class relief, would in fact hand corporations the biggest tax cut in decades and the very wealthy a sizable break as well.
Some have speculated that seeing the reality of climate change hit so close to home this summer -- Houston underwater, Los Angeles licked by flames, and now southern states getting battered by Irma -- might be some kind of wake-up call for climate change-denying Republicans.
As Trump's address to his cabinet makes clear, however, Irma only makes him want to double down on his reckless economic agenda. Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he explained that they were going to discuss "dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now with what's happened with the hurricane, I'm gonna ask for a speed up."
Some have pointed out that this is a classic example of what I have called the "shock doctrine" -- using disasters as cover to push through radical, pro-corporate policies. And it is a textbook case to be sure, especially because when Trump made his remarks, Irma was at the very height of its potential threat.