Monday, 24 December 2018 18:35

Mnuchin can’t stand up to his boss — and it’s costing you money

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Imagine missing Donald Regan, President Reagan’s famously irascible Treasury secretary, on Christmas Eve. Imagine spending a morning normally devoted to preparing to mark the birth of a savior brushing up on the exact requirements of the 25th Amendment for removing a president of the United States from office.

But that’s what I did, as more of your retirement money and mine was flushed down the toilet, courtesy of current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s utterly inexplicable decision this weekend to weigh in publicly on big U.S. banks’ ability to withstand a run that literally no one had said was happening, as part of a panicking administration’s unwillingness to tell President Donald Trump “no” about anything.

“I’ve got fuck-you money,” said Regan, reportedly. “Anytime I want, I’m gone.”

Which Mnuchin might have recalled when he tweeted about whether the president could, or would, fire the nominally independent Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates[1] faster than Trump would like. Or before he got the bright idea to call the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks to ask whether a perfectly routine stock-market correction would force them to cut off credit to a $20 trillion economy by this morning[2]. And to tweet about that, too, in a move that will, one predicts, quickly be traced either to an edict from the boss or a misplaced desire to dance as fast as Mnuchin can to placate Trump.

After all, with an estimated $300 million net worth, Mnuchin’s about seven times richer than Regan was.

This was, precisely, the time for Mnuchin to stiffen his spine and tell the president that he was going to stay silent publicly and that Trump should, too. Both about the Fed and about the banks. It’s what Mnuchin’s money supposedly gives him the freedom, by Don Regan’s rule of thumb, to do.

Read: Trump tweets that Fed ‘is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch’[3]

And it is certainly what anyone with two brain cells to rub together would do.

Instead, we get more panic, more bad leadership from an administration already presiding over a government shutdown motivated by Trump’s determination to wall off the Mexican border to stop a nonexistent wave of illegal immigration. An administration whose secretary of defense quit last week over Trump’s decision to hand over Syria to be, essentially, divvied up between Hafez Assad, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as outgoing Pentagon chief Jim Mattis’s resignation letter[4] in effect told the president he didn’t understand literally anything about post–World War II history or even how to tell an ally from a thuggish dictator.

Read: Chris Edelson says Republicans in Congress fiddle while Trump burns[5]

Put another way, Mattis considered the seven-figure portfolio he’s described in ethics disclosures as possessing to be sufficient...

Read more from our friends at MarketWatch

Read 925 times