Thursday, February 2, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He Won't Be Draining the Swamp, Quite the CONtrary

UPDATE IX:  More evidence that 'Draining the Swamp' is a CON job.

Read the Washington Post, Trump transition email shows initial effort to oust all inspectors general.

And don't forget "Trump had gone from bashing bankers before Nov. 8 to turning his cabinet into a Goldman Sachs reunion after it."

UPDATE VIII:  "While campaign donors often are tapped to fill comfy diplomatic posts across the globe, the extent to which donors are stocking Trump’s administration is unparalleled in modern presidential history, due in part to the Supreme Court decisions that loosened restrictions on campaign contributions, according to three longtime campaign experts.

The access and appointments are especially striking given Trump’s regular boasting during his campaign that his personal fortune and largely self-funded presidential bid meant that he would not be beholden to big donors, as many of his rivals would."

Read Politico, Trump rewards big donors with jobs and access.

UPDATE VII:  "President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to 'drain the swamp' in Washington of corruption, but now that he’s preparing to move into the White House, Newt Gingrich said the Manhattan real estate mogul is looking to distance himself from that message.

'I'm told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore,' the former House Speaker and close Trump adviser said of the 'drain the swamp' message in an NPR interview published Wednesday morning."

Read Politico, Gingrich: Trump backing away from 'drain the swamp'.

So that makes it official, it was all a CON job.

UPDATE VI: "On Tuesday, Trump said his sons would run his company, building what he says is a clear wall between his private business and public power. On Wednesday, his children had seats at the table of one of his biggest policy meetings yet, attended by the country’s top tech-industry elites and Trump Cabinet nominees. Also around the table: bottles of Trump Natural Spring Water, the president-elect’s water brand."

Read the Washington Post, On the day Trump said he’d clarify his business dealings, his conflicts of interest look thornier than ever.

Trump canceled a long planned press conference to address his business dealings and conflicts of interest scheduled to take place the day after the aforementioned policy meeting. Too busy nurturing future deals I suppose.

UPDATE V:  Read the Washington Post, Trump isn’t draining the swamp. He’s creating his own cesspool.

UPDATE IV:  "So can we stop pretending that Trump’s campaign 'populism' was anything other than just one more con?

It isn’t just the next Treasury secretary. This morning on CNBC, Mnuchin outlined his people-centered plan for the country’s economy.

“Our number one priority is tax reform,” he said. “We think by cutting corporate taxes we’ll create huge economic growth and we’ll have huge personal income so the revenues will be offset on the other side.”

At last, a Republican administration that believes in the wonder-working power of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy! If only George W. Bush had known about that, we would have had spectacular growth through the 2000s and the Great Recession never would have happened. Oh wait — this is exactly the economic program Bush pursued, to such disastrous effect. . .

You may remember Trump’s closing ad of the campaign, in which he said, 'Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people' over images of Wall Street, piles of money, financiers like George Soros, and other symbols of established power and wealth. 'It’s a global power structure,' he went on, 'that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.'

So in order to take on that global power structure, Trump is hiring a bunch of billionaires and Wall Street tycoons, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, scaling back regulatory oversight of Wall Street, and offering an infrastructure plan that consists mostly of tax breaks to corporations to encourage them to build projects that they’ll then charge the public tolls in order to use. . .

Republicans have always struggled with a quandary presented by their economic ideology, which is that it’s difficult to get majority support for a set of policies intended to shower benefits on a small portion of the population. When they argue about it explicitly they use a kind of rhetorical redirection, claiming that cutting rich people’s taxes isn’t really about rich people at all, but is actually intended to help the middle class and even the poor. The rich themselves are merely a vehicle to accomplish this noble end, unselfishly accepting the government’s largesse on behalf of their lessers.

Needless to say, there are only so many people you can persuade with that argument. So in order to compensate, Republicans have complemented their economic case with a menu of social issues with which they can demonize their opponents. Those Democrats hate America, Republicans would say, they’re weak, they don’t love God the way you do, they want to take your guns, they want to force your kids to get gay abortions. Often enough, it worked. . .

But now, Trump is filling up his administration with, guess what, Washington politicians and representatives of the economic powers-that-be, whose top priorities are tax cuts, deregulation, and destroying the safety net, including the privatization of Medicare. The idea that they’ll be laboring to serve the interests of the working class is a joke. Yet it’s a joke people somehow keep telling with a straight face."

Read the Washington Post, Can we stop pretending that Trump is a ‘populist’ now?

UPDATE III: "Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s relationship with Wall Street ran hot and cold. On the podium, he sounded a populist battle cry — heaping disdain on elites and tarring his opponents by their associations with Wall Street. But behind the scenes, Trump assembled a gang of financiers, bankers and ex-bankers to advise his campaign.

Now, he is drawing on that same set of highflying, high-net-worth individuals to captain his new administration. There was Betsy DeVos, a billionaire investor and a heavyweight political donor, whom Trump nominated as his education secretary. There was Wilbur Ross, another billionaire investor, said to be Trump’s pick to become commerce secretary.

On Wednesday, Trump named another member of America’s elite for a position in his Cabinet.

Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund chairman and 17-year Goldman Sachs alum, is Trump’s pick for treasury secretary."

Read the Washington Post, Trump said hedge funders were ‘getting away with murder.’ Now he wants one to help run the economy.

UPDATE II:  "If fighting corruption in D.C. is the reason you voted for Trump, well, you got played. . .

Maybe Trump will prove to have fantastic policies that make America great again. But for the next four years, Trump’s supporters will not be able to make the claim that he’s fighting corruption in Washington. If anything, Trump, his family and his cronies appear poised to leverage the power of the federal government to enrich themselves. And anyone who tells you differently is selling you something. "

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump will not be draining any swamps as president.

UPDATE:  Read the Washington Post, On conflicts of interest, Trump may be worse than Clinton.

Trump promised "to 'drain the swamp' — to eliminate the culture of self-dealing, conflicts of interest and pay-to-play that has infested government. There was no issue more central to Trump’s campaign or to his attacks on (“Crooked”) Hillary Clinton. To allow his children to run his businesses would be the most egregious conflict of them all. Every decision by an agency of the federal government and every administration policy would be scrutinized for the benefits it bestowed on a Trump property or business. Every diplomatic move would be examined to see if there were a financial quid pro quo, perhaps a favorable renegotiation of a foreign bank loan or resolution of regulatory issues involving Trump’s foreign properties. Any bill, be it tax reform or regulatory reform, likely would have some impact on one of his businesses. Inevitably, there will be instance after instance in which Trump or someone working for Trump or legislation Trump favored wound up enriching Trump. That is the essence of corruption. The presidency would become the biggest swamp of them all."

Read the Washington Post, The Trump team’s ethical swamp.

Read also the Washington Post, Bernie Sanders: Trump already breaking campaign promise to ‘drain the swamp’.