[Marxism] Trump may hire from big business despite his attacks on Wall Street

Louis Proyect 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 
House.

“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 
policy establishment.

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 
administration.

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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