We are witnessing history in the making, but what will this history be? Are we reliving the fall of Rome, headed toward a world war, or is a new financial crisis in the works?
We have an unstable leader whose crimes are closing in on him, so it might be war. Nevertheless, I recently heard the following statement, you may have also— “Republicans have controlled all 3 branches of government only twice in history before now, the first resulted in the Great Depression of 1929, and the second in the Recession of 2008.”
This claim caught my eye, and impelled me to take a few minutes to research it. I found the following graph, showing that while Republicans did have control of all three branches during both economic free falls, there were other times in history, when all three branches were red yet we survived unscathed.
Additionally, both financial crises were more complex than the statement implies. Banks and wars and other extenuating circumstances played a part in both.
What alarms me is the truth in the statement. During both the Depression and the Recession, like today, the wealth gap was wider than ever before, and the wealthiest Americans paid taxes at historically low rates, and the presidents, then as now, (Herbert Hoover, George W Bush, and now Donald Trump) did not believe the government should regulate buying or selling of stocks and bonds or the banking industry.
Donald Trump and his GOP Congress seem determined to trigger another financial crises. I say this because they have the luxury of history to learn from, yet they are repeating failed financial policies, the consequences of which had global impact. Trump isn’t only going to hurt the U.S., he will bring down economies around the world.
Donald Trump’s first action when he took office was to end bank regulations which had been put in place to protect the economy from another recession. He can only have done this out of greed, and agreements made with his wealthiest supporters, because there is potential to make more money if the government isn’t watching.
The U.S. under Trump and the fall of Rome comparison is based on a few striking similarities as well.
“If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.” ~Julius Caesar
The Roman Empire and the United States experienced the demise of the middle class. Optimates dominated over Populares then, as now the wealthy elite control the middle class. Various methodologies used then and now in order to diminish any power of the average citizen. Today we have the likes of gerrymandering and election tampering to keep the wealthy minority in control.
Romans were resistant to change. Trump has been selling a promise to take us back to a fictitious time when America was “great.”
There were no checks and balances in Rome, and although we are promised them in the constitution, the GOP majority congress, have chosen not to question Trump’s legitimacy.
The GOP is pillaging those who voted them in, and we sit back watching wheels set into motion that will be more difficult to stop with each passing day. If special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation proves Trump did not win the election legally, how can any changes he or his congress enacted be legal?
However this history ends, depression, recession, or extinction, our own complacency is our biggest enemy.