Mr. Trump, don’t just address the symptoms. Cure the ‘swamp disease’

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That HHS Secretary Tom Price has resigned over his abuse of flights as well as the taxpayers who funded them, it is helpful to view this and to have a perspective.

While it is really hard to fathom what Cost, a wise man and successful physician, was believing in charging taxpayers over $1 million on flights because May alone, let’s be fair: His behavior was just the latest instance of the longstanding D.C. convention of taxpayer dollars being mistreated by “public servants.” These abuses are perpetrated by both Republican and Democrat administrations and members of Congress (Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s ongoing federal corruption trial is evidence of this).

What’s more painful is that the blatant hypocrisy of Price’s actions. Not too long ago, then-Congressman Cost was calling out Democrats for their usage of personal jets, calling it yet “another case of fiscal irresponsibility run amok in Congress at the moment.”

Price’s apparent   laissez-faire attitude in the taxpayers’ trough is the reason why the American working class has lost faith in and despises Washington, D.C., and that’s why many Americans no longer trust their associations. This is why 2016 happened. This is the reason why people rallied around the idea of “draining the swamp.”

But I would place it a little differently: 2016 was really about the American working class waking up to how our system of government — supposedly of those people, by the public and for its people — isn’t working to benefit them, but rather a small ruling class made up of Republicans, Democrats, and their special interest cronies and corrupt consultants.

The outcome will be despotism — grinning statism or velvet despotism, but despotism nonetheless. A lot people pay taxes at a speed exceeding 50 percent when local, state, federal, food and gasoline taxes are combined. Yet many in Washington, D.C. have a mindset of “different but equal,” where they feel more entitled and more educated than the great unwashed masses from the hinterlands who finance their cover and improper behavior.

Several years back, I wrote about the ruling class as “American Royalty,” and it still holds true now. The behavior of Cost and others adds insult to injury by making use of the working class’ hard-earned cash to live a lifestyle many of these may never manage. We understand that in just associations, in society, there are taxes to be paid for other government agencies that are limited and infrastructure and security. But our government is funded by us and protect the people’s rights, not to advance their own interests. Government work is assumed to be about support, not living the lifestyle of famous and the rich on taxpayer dollars.

Donald Trump conducted on draining the swamp, on rejecting the status quo and business as usual. While I presume Price has been given the decision to either resign or be fired, I’d tell the president this: Tom Price’s (presumably forced) resignation doesn’t guarantee future change. Price’s behavior is just a symptom of “Swamp Disease.”

What Trump must immediately do is lay down stronger practices, criteria and guidelines concerning how his Executive Branch and Cabinet members pay government funds and taxpayer dollars. This will not set the tone for this administration, but can help alter the behavior of administrations. There’ll be hell to pay for any president that might undo that order.

Ultimately, we need public servants, not elected officials, and a gap is between the two. So Mr. President, don’t just address the symptoms of “Swamp Disease.” Cure the disease.

Ned Ryun is the Founder and CEO of American Majority, a grassroots organization that is national. Learn more in AmericanMajority.org.

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