Just like many of his other campaign promises, Trump isn’t doing a great job of draining the swamp. His nominee for Fed Chair is Jerome Powell.
Powell is a ‘swamp critter extraordinaire’ so declared by Bill Bonner last week. We’re inclined to agree. Name-calling is poor sportsmanship when it comes to politics, but hey, Trump started it.
When Trump traveled around the United States campaigning for the most privileged position in the country he lashed out at the seemingly abstract promise to ‘Drain the Swamp’ at every opportunity. He used it to criticise anything he didn’t like about the status-quo.
He made the ‘swamp critters’ the fall-guys for every hardship Americans were facing. In many ways he was right.
Yet as has been the case throughout the last eleven months, Trump hasn’t done a great job of turning rhetoric into reality.
He has continued to fill the swamp rather than drain it. Spending by lobbyists has reached levels unseen since 2012. Secretaries are flying in private government jets and Trump uses Republican Party money to fund his own legal expenses.
This is nothing compared to the senior appointments he has made. Trump has taken ‘swamp critters’ and placed them in positions of such power and influence one wonders what his supporters make of it all.
Hypocrisy was a word heard frequently during the Obama Presidency. Obama was great with words and preached peace while practicing war. Trump’s hypocrisy is on a whole new level.
Powell is just his latest appointment. With an estimated fortune of $55 million the likely new Fed Chair has spent his career in Washington flip-flopping between roles in both regulation and industry. He is now set to take the wheel at a job whose sole role is to steer the US economy. Indeed, some more imperially minded Americans see the job as being to steer the global economy.
Trump is like a school boy with football stickers, keen to make up the set of Team Wall Street. As Vox outlined:
Trump will have in place a Wall Street Fed chair to go with his Wall Street Treasury secretary, Wall Street Council of Economic Advisers chair, and Wall Street slate of bank regulators.
In a country that is set to see 8,000 retail store closings this year (more than in 2008), where not a single person is employed in nearly one out of every five U.S. families and almost 60% of people do not have enough money saved to even cover a $500 emergency expense, can another Washington elite be expected to build an economy that will benefit the many?
Powell, another Swamp dweller or worse, a crony?
Unsurprisingly Powell’s nomination was a step away from the norm for Trump. Previous Presidents have usually renominated the incumbent chair. Given Trump’s ongoing criticism of Yellen a replacement was expected.
One thing that was expected was the financial stature and Wall Street position of a Trump nominee. Powell is a Republican who built a vast wealth as a partner at Carlyle. In Powell’s latest financial disclosure (June 2017) he lists his net worth between $19.7 million and $55 million. Once he is Fed Chair he will be the richest Fed chair since banker Marriner Eccles, who held the position from 1934 to 1948.