The Trumpanzees are all up in arms this week because Dear Leader violated every single thing he ever said about the Middle East by attacking Syria with missiles.
It’s the least of his betrayals, quite frankly.
Because the true spark for his following and eventual triumph in the primaries was centered around economic populism. In a September 2015 CNN interview, he made the following remarks about his vision for tax policy and inequality – these are the notions that drove millions of people to support him…
Hedge fund carried interest tax loophole:
“We have an amazing tax plan,” Trump said. “We’re going to be reducing taxes for the middle class, but for the hedge fund guys, they’re going to be paying up.”
In recent weeks Trump has attacked hedge fund managers who pay 20% capital gains tax rates even though many of those managers make enough to qualify for the top bracket of 39.6% taxes on other income. Trump on Sunday hit Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush as beholden to those hedge fund managers, who contribute to their campaigns.
“Hillary and Jeb, in particular, are totally controlled by the hedge fund guys and the Wall Street guys, but hedge funds, in particular,” he said.
And then executive compensation:
Though Trump has trained his ire at hedge fund managers, he said “it does bug me” that chief executive officers now earn 350 times their average workers’ pay — though he said it’s “very hard if you have a free enterprise system to do anything about that.”
“You know, the boards of companies are supposed to deal with it, but I know companies very well,” Trump said. “A CEO puts in all his friends, and so, you’ll take a company like — I could say Macy’s or many other companies where they’ve put in their friends as the head of the company and they get whatever they want. And you know, because the friends love sitting on the board.”
“So that’s the system that we have and it’s a shame and it’s disgraceful and sometimes the boards rule, but I would say it’s probably less than 10%,” he said. “And you see these guys making these enormous amounts of money, it’s a total and complete joke.“
Fast-forward to President Trump, who is an entirely different person than Candidate Trump…
None of this rhetoric applies to a single thing he’s done or is trying to do. It’s as if there were a body-snatching.
The White House is now filled and surrounded by hedge fund guys and the halls are lined with corporate executives, each waiting patiently for their individual closed-door summit. There is no more talk about average worker pay vs CEO pay or the inherent absurdity of taxing some people on their income like workers and others like investors. Goldman is in the building now. So is Icahn. So is JP Morgan. Which I am fine with – these are people who understand the economy and, at least, they’re not wild-eyed race war bloggers from the fringe.
But their understanding of the economy doesn’t mean it is in their best interests to recommend or enact policies that even the playing field.
None of what they’re attempting has anything to do with populism. It’s certainly not going to help the downtrodden, the disenfranchised or the economically dispossessed. Bernie was the only true candidate that stood for leveling the playing field, if that was your cup of tea.
When I read the text of old speeches made by Candidate Trump and then compare them with the economic initiatives of the current Trump White House, it’s nearly impossible to see how we’re talking about the same guy.
In truth, it’s not fair to dredge up old statements made by someone who has no fixed ideas or principles other than saying whatever it takes to get applause in front of a given audience. Trump’s agenda has always been the self-aggrandizing of Trump. I don’t doubt that he wants the country to improve, but when hard work or tough sacrifices present themselves, the instinct to take care of Number One is always going to win out with him. It’s a lifelong motif.
But it’s the contradiction that is most maddening and confounding for people like you and I, who have to stand by the things we say and mean them in our professional and personal lives. The President is only held to this standard by the left-leaning and centrist media outlets who cover him. Not by his supporters, not by Fox News and not even by congressional Republicans. They’ve made their peace with his almost daily inconsistencies, for various self-serving reasons.
If you didn’t like Bush’s or Obama’s ideas, at least you understood what they were. If you don’t like one of the Trump administration’s ideas, stick around a while longer, you may hear the version you want sooner or later.
Now imagine that there are actually Wall Street traders and money managers formulating strategies and implementing investment ideas based on this. It’s like a delusion of a delusion. These escaped mental patients are using your money to stack bricks on a gust of wind.