[Marxism] Trump may hire from big business despite his attacks on Wall Street
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 9 08:12:40 MST 2016
FT, Nov. 9 2016
Who are the team Trump players heading for Washington?
Republican may hire from big business despite his attacks on Wall Street
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump regularly railed against Wall
Street and attacked big business, but he is likely to draw heavily on
conservative finance and business figures as he prepares to assemble a
White House team.
Among those touted for top economic positions are Steve Mnuchin, a
former Goldman Sachs executive frequently mentioned as a possible
Treasury secretary, and Wilbur Ross, a distressed asset investor.
The conservative columnist Lawrence Kudlow, a former official in the
Reagan White House who once worked as chief economist at Bear Stearns,
is another senior member of the campaign team, as is Steve Moore, an
economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation who helped draw up Mr
Trump’s tax plans.
Mr Trump has also hailed his connections to Wall Street, despite his
campaign invective against the country’s business and political elite.
“I know the smartest guys on Wall Street. I know our best negotiators. I
know the overrated guys, the underrated guys, the guys that nobody ever
heard of that are killers, that are great,” he said in a speech in June.
“We gotta use those people. Guys like [former General Electric chief
executive] Jack Welch. I like guys like Henry Kravis [the co-founder of
KKR, the private equity group]. I’d love to bring my friend [billionaire
investor] Carl Icahn. I mean, we have people that are great.”
Dan Dimicco, former chief executive of steelmaker Nucor and one of Mr
Trump’s senior advisers on economics and trade policy, says he expects
the property magnate to staff a Trump administration with many business
figures. But he also thinks Mr Trump will bring in establishment
Republicans he attacked throughout his 18-month campaign for the White
“I think Mr Trump’s going to be open to anybody who is open to him,” Mr
Dimicco said. “People are going to want to go back to getting things
done for the country.”
Such a move would help appease Republicans anxious to see experienced
policymakers from the Washington establishment in Mr Trump’s team.
A conciliatory approach could be particularly important for foreign
policy and defence, areas in which during the campaign Mr Trump has
sometimes relied on advisers who, at best, are on the fringe of the US
On national security, he has turned to Michael Flynn, a former head of
the Defence Intelligence Agency, who has been a regular analyst on
Russia Today, the Russian-backed television network, as well as Keith
Kellogg, who has worked in the private sector since helping run the
Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Among his other advisers are Walid Phares, a Middle East analyst who has
come in for criticism for his ties to a Christian armed faction in
Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s.
One frequently mentioned possibility for attorney-general is Rudy
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been a vocal backer and
close Trump adviser since the summer.
The deeper question is what such personnel choices will say about the
policies he is likely to embrace — and the extent to which they will
represent a break with a traditional Republican approach.
Despite his gains across the electoral map, Mr Trump’s agenda risks
being particularly contentious in Congress.
Some of the policies he announced on the campaign trail delight
traditional conservatives — in particular, full-blooded personal and
business tax cuts and deregulation. But other positions have triggered
deep concern — notably his anti-free-trade agenda, which includes
potential tariffs on China and Mexico and runs counter to traditional
free-market Republican thinking, and fiscal plans analysts say would
lead to a multi-trillion budget blowout.
A central question is whether Mr Trump pares back some of the more
radical elements of his plan in a bid to unite Republicans after such a
divisive election. The priorities highlighted by some of his advisers
suggest he will want to prove his ability to forge deals early in his
Mr Moore said slashing regulation and pushing through a tax bill would
be among the administration’s early priorities. He predicted that
business tax reform, which include proposed cuts to the headline rate to
make the US more competitive internationally, would be easier to achieve
in Congress than planned income tax cuts. Mr Trump’s tax proposals would
lower rates for a range of income groups including the wealthy, with the
top earners set to rank among the chief beneficiaries.
“The tax plan is the heart of the economic recovery agenda for Donald
Trump,” Mr Moore said.
Mr Trump drew on a wide-ranging array of conservative figures to pull
together his economic platform. Among the other important players has
been Peter Navarro of the University of California’s Paul Merage School
of Business, an economist who produced the film Death by China, a
documentary featuring animated Chinese aircraft bombing the US.
Mr Navarro argued in a September analysis with Mr Ross that Mr Trump’s
trade, regulatory and energy reforms would be so positive for growth
that his tax-cutting plans would be fiscally neutral.
This assertion, disputed by other economists, is likely to provoke
unease among Republican fiscal conservatives. An analysis by the
independent Tax Policy Center recently estimated Mr Trump’s tax cuts
would drive a $7.2tn increase in the federal debt over a decade.
Additional reporting by Geoff Dyer in Washington
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