Monday, December 05, 2016

TRUMP NOT FILES - The 'King of Lies' Breaks Promise

"After populist campaign, Trump assembles economic team of elites" PBS NewsHour 11/30/2016

IMHO:  So much for 'draining the swamp.'  Looks more like opening the flood gates.


SUMMARY:  President-elect Donald Trump's proposed economic team suggests a preference for Wall Street veterans, in a reversal of his campaign promise to surround himself with establishment outsiders.  Judy Woodruff speaks with David Wessel of The Brookings Institution about the “elite” appointments, the controversial Goldman Sachs background of Steven Mnuchin and why Wilbur Ross carries so much influence.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Well, as we've been reporting, the president-elect began fleshing out his economic team today by announcing his choices to run the Departments of Treasury and Commerce.

In doing so, the candidate, who campaigned with a heavy dose of populism, elevated individuals mainly known for their connections to Wall Street and high finance.

David Wessel of the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist to The Wall Street Journal joins me now.

And welcome back to the program.

DAVID WESSEL, The Brookings Institution:  Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, David, fill out this picture a little bit more of who — let's start with Steve Mnuchin.  He's the pick to head the Treasury Department.  What more do we know about him?

DAVID WESSEL:  Well, it's just wonderfully ironic that Donald Trump, who railed against the elite, lambasted Hillary Clinton for giving paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, turned to a guy who not only was at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, but is the son of a Goldman Sachs lifer and has a brother who is at Goldman Sachs.

And so he's going — he went to Yale.  Wilbur Ross went to Yale.  It seems to be a very anti-populist kind of move to pick these rich financiers for these jobs.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  Excuse me.

So, we're seeing some comments from liberal Democrats today who put out statements saying this is somebody who made a lot of money at Goldman Sachs when the banks were bailed out by the federal government, and then he went on and there was another — he left Goldman, went on and bought a bank, was involved in buying a bank in California.  Tell us about that.


As you know, some of the Democrats, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, think anybody who has ever worked for a bank shouldn't be the treasury secretary.  I think other people feel — I'm among them — that really having some experience on Wall Street might be a good thing for a treasury secretary.

I think the reason Mr. Mnuchin is controversial is not only that he comes from Goldman Sachs, which is kind of the — has been the centerpiece of a lot of criticism, but he made a lot of money buying IndyMac when it was in trouble.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  This is the bank in California.

DAVID WESSEL:  The bank in California.

And then selling it, making a bundle.  And in between, he got a lot of grief because the bank was accused by consumer groups of being very aggressive on foreclosures.  So it looks like he is a guy who profited off of the financial crisis that caused so much harm elsewhere.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Is that clear that he did profit off the financial crisis?

DAVID WESSEL:  No.  But he profited because he bought a bank that was in trouble cheap, fixed it up and sold it.

So, to that extent, he did make money off of the financial crisis.  But he didn't — he comes from the mortgage business, but he was not at Goldman during the worst of the abuses.

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