In reality, Cohn, Powell, and other Wall Streeters in the Trump White House are pushing Trump closer to the views of Wall Street and big business – views that are reflected in the views of “mainstream” Republicans and Democrats only to the extent the “mainstream” is dependent on the Street and big corporations for campaign money. -- Robert Reich, Truthdig, April 26, 2017
During the George W. Bush administration, when the Great Lie about weapons of mass destruction was being told, the myth of the moment was the Emperor's New Clothes. In those relatively timid times, Wall Street just wanted to privative the Social Security System and own all our mortgages.
Today, Wall Street is even greedier and the myth du jour has changed.
Myth of King Midas and the Gold
King Midas is one of the most known and controversial personas in the Greek Mythology. King of Phrygia, Midas, was known for his wisdom but also his greed. Although one of the most known kings of his time, a fanatic lover of the Arts and Culture, creator of a gorgeous rose garden, Midas was known to be extremely greedy, trying to accumulate the largest amount of money and wealth in the known world.
Myth of Midas’ Gold
According to the Greek myth, God Dionysus found himself in Phrygia once, followed by a group of Satyrs and other creatures that were always celebrating and feasting with him. Silenus, one of the Satyrs, entered the sacred Rose garden of Midas and the guards brought the intruder to the King.
Midas recognized the follower of Dionysus and decided not to punish him, especially since Silenus decided to stay at the court entertaining Midas with frantic stories about the pleasures of life. God Dionysus was pleased with Midas and his decision not to punish Silenus, thus asked Midas what he wanted the most from his life – in order to return the favor.
Midas said that he wished everything he touched could turn to gold. Although Dionysus warned Midas about the potential dangers of such a wish, Midas insisted on it and Dionysus granted him with the infamous Midas Touch.
The curse of Midas’ touch
Midas was thrilled with the gift because he could turn everything to gold, soon though, he realized that he was unable to eat, drink or do anything normally, since everything he touched would turn to Gold. Midas started understanding the warnings of Dionysus and the depth of his mistake and greed.
Midas went to Dionysus, desperate, and begged him to free him from this “curse”. Dionysus told Midas that he had to go and bathe in the River Paktolos (Pactolus) in order to wash away this ability.
Midas indeed went to Paktolos river and washed himself; according to the myth the gold settled in the sand of the river and was carried to another country of the East, Lydia, that became one of the richest countries of the antiquity.
Meaning of Midas’ myth
This myth gives an explanation why River Pactolus is rich with gold, but mostly refers to one of the most known beliefs of the Greeks, the short-sighted wish, and the punishment for greed.
The phrase Midas Touch is used till today to describe the ability of a person to make lots of money or create successful events, build a career and wealth. It has lost its negative meaning, although it is still associated with greed.
Midas is used as a personification of greed, which is considered one of the seven deadly sins.
Wall Street and Corporate America Don’t Seem to Have Learned a Thing From the Past Year
By Robert Reich / RobertReich.org
With Steve Bannon on the way out, official Washington is jumping for joy that Gary Cohn – the former president of Goldman Sachs who’s now running Trump’s National Economic Council, along with Dina Powell, another influential Goldman Sachs alumnus – seems to be taking over Trump’s brain.
As CNBC puts it, Cohn will push “more moderate, business-friendly economic policies.” The Washington Post says Cohn is advocating “a centrist vision.” The Post goes on to describe “The growing strength of Cohn and like-minded moderates” as revealed in Trump’s endorsement of government subsidies for exports, and of corporate tax cuts. Says the Post: “The president’s new positions move him much closer to the views of … mainstream Republicans and Democrats.”
In reality, Cohn, Powell, and other Wall Streeters in the Trump White House are pushing Trump closer to the views of Wall Street and big business – views that are reflected in the views of “mainstream” Republicans and Democrats only to the extent the “mainstream” is dependent on the Street and big corporations for campaign money.
These views aren’t “centrist,” and they’re not sustainable. More tax breaks for the rich and more subsidies for big corporations aren’t much better for America than xenophobia.
Wall Street and corporate America seem not to have learned a thing from what’s happened over the past year. Do they really believe the anger, rage, hate, racism, and nationalism that welled up during the 2016 election was a random, passing phenomenon, like a particularly bad hurricane?
If so, they’re wrong. These sentiments came from a shrinking and ever more anxious working class. From millions of people so convinced the game is rigged against them they were prepared to overthrow the established order in order to get fundamental change. From voters whipped up into a fury over tax breaks and subsidies and bailouts for those at the top – socialism for the rich – but who for years have been getting the harsh losing end of the capitalist stick: declining wages, mass firings, less job security, emptying towns and cities, and their children with even lower and fewer prospects.
They came from people who during the Great Recession lost their jobs, homes, and savings, as Wall Street got bailed out for its wanton greed, and not a single top Wall Street executive went to jail.
The so-called “centrist” policies that Wall Street and big corporations are now happily promoting via Gary Cohn and Dina Powell won’t reverse these sentiments. They’ll add to them, because these were same sort of the policies that got us to this point.
There’s a better alternative. It’s to make it easy for people who lose their jobs to get new ones that pay at least as well, through wage insurance; expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and raise the minimum wage so every job pays a living wage; invest in great teachers and great schools, along with a system of lifelong learning, and high-quality early childhood education; and provide Medicare for all.
And pay for all of this with a 2 percent tax on wealth over $1 million and a carbon tax. While we’re at it, get big money out of politics.
Here’s a “centrist” agenda that big business, Wall Street, and the rest of America should agree on because it (or something very much like it) is the only way to move forward without inviting even more inequalities of income, wealth, and political power – and ever more vicious backlashes against such inequities.
If Wall Street and big business used the 2016 election as a teachable moment, they would realize this.