“One newspaper criticized me: ‘Why can’t they have people of modest means?’ Because I want people that made a fortune! Because now they’re negotiating with you, okay?”
~ Donald Trump in Des Moines, Iowa — December 8th, 2016
First of all, what does that even mean? How will Trump’s appointees be negotiating with us? And if so, why would that be a good thing? Trump has thus far tapped three billionaires for his cabinet which has resulted in the above question being asked by many. What’s wrong with appointing non-billionaires and folks of even more modest means?
In Trumpworld, money is everything. To him and his fellow oligarchs-in-waiting, the very definition of the word success isn’t whether you’re a miserable wretch or satisfied with what you’ve got; it’s how much you’re worth. The bottom line is the bottom line. So it’s inconceivable to him that a mere millionaire (or perish the thought: a commoner!) might have skills that someone from the billionaire class doesn’t.
I did a little research. There are approximately 322,500,000 people living in this country right now, and of those, 540 of them are billionaires. That’s one billionaire per every 597,222 of us poor, unqualified serfs.
So the answer to the question; “What’s wrong with hiring billionaires,” is pretty simple. On its face, nothing. There’s nothing wrong with it. Well… Except by focusing exclusively on the über-wealthy, he’s dismissing a vast pool of talent that outnumbers them by nearly 600,000:1. And unless Trump actually believes the wealthiest Americans are by their nature the smartest, most talented Americans, then he’s limiting his cabinet—and We the People—to an incredibly thin sliver of potential leadership.
Another thing that might be “wrong” with it, is that by tapping people who’ve been enmeshed their entire careers in the business world, it might not be easy for them to restrain their natural instincts: i.e., to put profits before people. We’ve already seen how well that worked out on Wall Street over the past decade, and how We the People paid the price for such greed. That isn’t to say all billionaires are bloodthirsty wolves, but if you’re a bloodthirsty wolf in America today, you’re in the glide path to billionairedom.
So don’t be such a snob Donald. Cast your gaze down here in the trenches. True, we didn’t all use our smarts to create fortunes as Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross and Linda McMahon have. Nor were we all born into wealth as you were. But I guarantee you, there’s a vast trove of highly competent, extremely intelligent and perfectly qualified Americans who’d be willing to serve their nation. Give Bill Nye a call. Or maybe interview a few $75k per year economists, physicists, college math professors, etc. And hey, just for fun, how about a climatologist or two? Just be a big man about it, and try to forgive them their sin of having never turned their talents into a pile of gold. Not everyone defines “success” as you do.