Friday, December 16, 2016
"I'm Here to Help"
You can look at the so-called Tech Summit any number of ways. Most of those who attended have cast the meeting with the President-Elect in a positive light, saying that Trump was willing to listen to their ideas and voiced no notable exceptions to what they had to say. However, his cabinet picks tell a different story.
Probably the cabinet pick they were most concerned with was Energy, as many of these tech gurus are involved in sustainable energy in one way or another. Elon Musk has invested heavily in electric cars and his Tesla has become the standard by which all electric cars are measured. So, you would think that if Trump was genuinely concerned about our sustainable energy future he would pick an advocate. Instead, he picked Rick Perry.
Former Governor Rick is neck deep in the oil industry. In fact, he currently sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, which is behind the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline. Some are noting that Perry voiced no objection to wind energy in his state as a good sign, but this guy clearly doesn't have much interest in sustainable energy. If it wasn't oil he was promoting, it was coal, ushering in 11 new coal plants during his 14-year tenure in Texas. Between Perry, Tillerson and Trump's pick for Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, it is safe to say that the prime focus of his administration is going to be on fossil fuels.
So, why are these Tech CEOs so excited? I suppose they are just looking for Trump not to get in their way. The President-Elect indicated he wouldn't. Mostly what Trump wants from them is more investment in American infrastructure, which he has made his signature issue. He's hoping this will boost the GDP and create jobs. Not that there is much he needs to worry about as the US saw a boost of 3.2% in GDP last year and more jobs added to the payroll than at any time in the last decade.
This meeting was mostly a great photo-op for Trump. It helped create the impression that Trump is more than just a real estate developer. He has his hand literally on the pulse of the nation, even if all he knows about the hi-tech industry is what he learned on Twitter.
The worrisome thing is how easily all these guys played into Trump's hand. I understand they don't want to get on his bad side, but why all the plaudits? Trump doesn't give a rat's ass what they do as long as it fuels the economy. You aren't going to see Trump drive a Tesla. He's not all that interested in the space programs Musk and Bezos are heading. Probably his biggest interest is getting Tim Cook to manufacture more i-phones in the US, hoping to score another Carrier-like victory.
Even Bill Gates, who did not attend the meeting, likened Trump to JFK in encouraging greater innovation. Isn't that what President Obama has done the last eight years? In fact, guys like Elon Musk would probably be out of business if it wasn't for Obama. His administration helped keep Tesla afloat by offering a great deal of subsidies. Obama also helped underwrite solar and wind energy initiatives, which no president had done before. We saw a boom in sustainable energy largely thanks to the tireless effort to sneak these incentives under Congress's nose, as they refused to sign off on an energy bill throughout his tenure. So, why the fuck is Bill Gates praising Trump, who hasn't done a damn thing yet?
Basically, these guys are all trying to cover their asses, lending the impression they will work with Trump anyway they can and Trump has responded in turn. What this guy covets are persons like this paying deference to him, as if he were royalty. They all seem much too happy to oblige. If any of them had any influence they would have pressed Trump to at least pick a competent person to head the Department of Energy, not some asswipe who couldn't even recall the "agency" when pressed to name the cabinets he wanted to shut down during a 2012 debate.