Remember Trump the Candidate? Back in early 2016, he bragged about how he bought influence on Capitol Hill. Instead of being outraged, sites like Infowars (I will not link to them) suggested in March 2016 that Trump was best suited to eliminating that sort of influence-peddling since he knew how it was done.
At the tail end of the campaign, Trump said he wanted to “drain the swap” that was Washington of the moneyed influence. In December, it appeared that he might have been dropping the idea. As soon as that report came out, Trump insisted he still wanted to drain it.
Then his cabinet picks started to happen. The man who jumped all over Clinton’s ties to Goldman-Sachs during the campaign then opened the doors to the White House to members of that club:
- Steve Bannon – Ignore for a moment the fact that he headed up the flagship site of the ‘alt-right’, Breitbart. He also had a job at Goldman-Sachs and started his own investment banking firm afterwards. Now he’s the White House Chief Strategist and is attending National Security Council meetings.
- Steve Mnuchin – Picked to head the Treasury Department. He spent 17 years at Goldman-Sachs. But that’s just the start. This is the guy who helped the misery of the Great Recession get even worse when he bought IndyMac and renamed it. They were more in the process of stealing people’s homes as opposed to dealing with their mortgages. In one case, he foreclosed on a 90-year-old-woman’s home over 27 cents. That may be why Trump picked him since Trump himself tried to get the state of New Jersey to bulldoze the home of a 90-year-old widow to put in a parking lot for limousines. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Mnuchin is registered to vote in two states and failed to disclose $100 million in real estate and his directorship of a Cayman Islands holding corporation as a tax haven.
- Gary Cohn – appointee to the National Economic Council. He’s a 25-year employee of Goldman-Sachs and got a $123 million payout from them. Unsurprisingly, he’s calling for lower corporate taxes. Think about the effects of that when the corporate share of federal tax has gone down by 2/3 in 60 years. He also wants to gut Dodd-Frank’s bank regulations and get rid of a Department of Labor regulation requiring financial advisers to act in the best interest of their clients.
- Jay Clayton – appointee for the Chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Comission. He’s a Wall Street lawyer. Not so bad but his firm was registered as a lobbyist for Goldman-Sachs since 2005.
- Anthony Scaramucci – Senior White House adviser. Trump’s top donor and close adviser. He’s a hedge fund manager and Goldman-Sachs alumni who was supposed to serve as a senior White House adviser. He’s quoted as saying he is “an unapologetic defender of Wall Street”. This may not happen due to ethics conflicts. He sold his hedge fund, SkyBridge Capital to an opaque Chinese firm looking for influence in the White House.
- Dina Habib Powell, another Goldman-Sachs alumni, will be an assistant to the President and “senior counselor for economic initiatives.” For what it’s worth, she doesn’t seem half bad. This article points out that she’s worked for GS’s philanthropic initiatives, worked for George W. Bush (so there’s SOME experience there), was born in Egypt and appears to be well liked by Republicans and Democrats.
So once the swamp was re-stocked with the people who brought us The Great Recession of 2008, what did Trump do?
- He cancelled a planned mortgage insurance rate cut. That’ll affect over 750,000 mortgage payers and disqualify an estimated 30,000 form qualifying for a mortgage.
- He signed an order eliminating the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule. This means that someone managing your money no longer has to work in YOUR best interest.
- He signed an order to review financial regulation and gut “Dodd-Frank”. I actually heard Trump talking about his friends who have businesses who can’t get loans. Well, I might not be an expert, but, if you can’t get a loan, maybe you shouldn’t have one.
Trump didn’t drain the swamp. He loaded it up with more mosquito larvae and we’re going to have a hell of a time when they hatch.