But there were times when President Obama and I parted company, and one of them was in the summer of 2016. He gave a commencement speech in which he talked about the influence of the rich and powerful over government. “Big money in politics is a huge problem,” he admitted. And then he put a happy face on it: “But the system isn’t as rigged as you think.” No, President Obama, the system is as rigged as we think. In fact, it’s worse than most Americans realize. Here’s the truth: we can’t keep gazing happily at the face of cheery economic reports; we’ve got to dive into the reality of what’s happening underneath the surface. Tens of millions of people across the United States understand that this country no longer works for them, and they are angry about it. And unless our government provides real solutions to their problems, their anger will only increase. Donald Trump understood their anger. He connected with people when he channeled that anger during his campaign, but his plans will make the problems faced by working families worse. I am absolutely certain that even his most die-hard supporters will be deeply unhappy with a lot of what President Trump actually does. He likes to talk about forgotten working people, but he opposes raising the minimum wage, plans to propose the largest tax cut in history for the rich, and promises to get rid of the rules that hold Wall Street accountable. That is not populism. That is trickle-down economics on steroids. After vowing to “drain the swamp” and fight for the little guy, Trump turned the keys to our government over to a group of Wall Street insiders, billionaires, and CEOs who have a long history of looking out only for themselves and others just like them. This isn’t the way to strengthen opportunity in America—it’s the way to help the rich to get richer and shove everyone else out of the way.
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