Bloomberg Businessweek

The Tarnished Age

For years, Donald Trump saw running for president as a moneymaking opportunity. And then he won

Mark Twain published The Gilded Age, his tour of unbridled avarice and unchecked political corruption, 145 years ago. A central character in the novel is a young woman who fashions herself as a Washington lobbyist to promote her family’s financial interests. Her efforts anchor a satirical, caustic work that defined an era and was laced with pointed warnings that are still relevant today. “No country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law, and that the law officers are only machinery for its execution, nothing more,” Twain wrote.

In other words, what really matters is whether the government works for the people or for those running it. Amid the fervor of daily scandal seeping from the White House—Bob Woodward’s Fear and an anonymous New York Times op-ed being the latest catalysts—it’s easy to overlook how President Trump and his team make for an unusually conflicted bunch. They successfully campaigned for the highest office in the land while happily maintaining business ties and

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