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Reader's View: Plutocracy is replacing our democracy

After the tax bill passage, Republicans took a "victory lap" at the White House that was nauseating and shameful. Legislators seemed ecstatic about exploding the deficit, enabling a lavish giveaway to the rich, and the prospect of millions no longer having health coverage.

They seemed to be competing to see who could pay the most fulsome and rapturous tribute to President Donald Trump. Dignity and self respect were trampled. Only in North Korea do we see such craven toadying toward the "dear leader."

Vice President Mike Pence seems to me to be the sycophant-in-chief. He raised the bar at a recent cabinet meeting, praising Trump every 12 seconds or so for three minutes straight. But other legislators have been up to the challenge. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised "a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration." House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed admiration for Trump's "exquisite presidential leadership." Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., outdid them both, though. She said, "Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our president and to make America great again."

Did you get that? We should all be grateful to Trump for allowing us the privilege of enjoying his leadership.

But the ultimate award for bootlicking must go to Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. He humbly suggested the Trump presidency might go down as the greatest ever, apparently eclipsing losers like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Such distasteful and embarrassing groveling is clear evidence the foundations of our democracy are being degraded.

The recent tax bill was formulated secretly and will benefit billionaires like Trump himself.

Democracy's disappearing in favor of plutocracy, which is the rule of, by, and for the wealthy. America's rapidly becoming the world's biggest banana republic, where upper classes plunder wealth and others fight over the scraps.

James J. Amato