More good news

About ten days ago I suggested that, up to that point, President elect Donald Trump’s cabinet choices were good news, especially dipping into the large and deep talent pool at e.g. Goldman Sachs for cabinet officers.

Now, the Globe and Mail, offers its views on the cabinet as selected to date. It is liberal view of what appears (to the Good Grey Globe and to me) to be a quite conservative cabinet, but I also think it is a fair assessment.

Here is the list, to date, with some of the Globe and Mail‘s comments:

  • JEFF SESSIONS, 69, ATTORNEY-GENERAL
    • Previous life: U.S. senator from Alabama
    • Political experience: 20 years in the Senate
    • Job No. 1: Help carry out Mr. Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigrant
  • STEVEN MNUCHIN, 53, TREASURY SECRETARY
    • Previous life: Hedge fund manager, Hollywood financier, Goldman Sachs partner
    • Political experience: None
    • Job. No. 1: Big tax cuts for companies and individuals; a rollback of federal regulation of Wall Street.
  • REX TILLERSON, 64, REPORTED PICK FOR SECRETARY OF STATE
    • Previous life: Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. and past president, Boy Scouts of America
    • Political experience: None
    • Job. No. 1: Repair relations with Russia and stickhandle Mr. Trump’s desire for a tougher position against China.
  • JAMES MATTIS, 66, DEFENCE SECRETARY
    • marine-gen-2Previous life: U.S. Marine Corps general who oversaw U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Political experience: None
    • Job No. 1: Defeat the Islamic State.
  • REINCE PRIEBUS, 44, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
    • Previous life: Chairman of the Republican National Committee
    • Political experience: Long-time Republican official, nationally and in Wisconsin
    • Job No. 1: As the White House gatekeeper, Mr. Priebus’s toughest job may be keeping the president on message, rather than keeping the rest of the world out.
  • STEPHEN BANNON, 63, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST AND SENIOR COUNSELLOR
    • Previous life: Trump campaign manager, head of the ultraright-wing Breitbart News website, ex-Goldman Sachs banker
    • Political experience: None
    • Job No. 1: Helping keep Mr. Trump in touch with the white rural and suburban voters who elected him.
  • WILBUR ROSS, 79, COMMERCE SECRETARY
    • 050e3b100000044d-0-image-m-3_1429125293441Previous life: Billionaire investor and leveraged buyout specialist
    • Political experience: None
    • Job No. 1: Much tougher trade enforcement, a stare-down with China and a renegotiation of NAFTA.
  • MICHAEL FLYNN, 58, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
    • Previous life: Retired U.S. Army lieutenant-general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
    • Political experience: None
    • Job No. 1: Looking to pick a fight somewhere in the world.
  • JOHN F. KELLY, 66, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR
    • Previous life: Retired U.S. Marine general, chief of the U.S. Southern Command
    • Political experience: None
    • Job. No. 1: Build that wall.
  • TOM PRICE, 62, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY
    • Previous life: Orthopedic surgeon, Georgia member of the U.S. House of Representatives
    • Political experience: 13 years in Congress
    • Job. No. 1: Get Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
  • SCOTT PRUITT, 49, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR
    • Previous life: Oklahoma Attorney-General
    • Political experience: He served as an Oklahoma state senator from 1998 to 2006, with stints as party whip and assistant floor leader, where the evangelical Christian focused on faith-based legislation and accountability in government spending.
    • Job No. 1: Implement Mr. Trump’s plan to dismantle much of the EPA’s regulatory regime.
  • BETSY DEVOS, 58, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
    • Previous life: Chairwoman of Windquest Group, an investment management firm, though she acquired her billionaire status through inheritance and by marrying into the DeVos family, which founded AmWay. She and her husband, Dick, are also noted philanthropists.
    • Political experience: Since 1982, she has been active in the Michigan Republican Party, and was elected chair in 2003.
    • Job No. 1: Reform failing inner-city schools by letting per-pupil grants follow parental schooling choices.
  • ELAINE CHAO, 63, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
    • elaine_chao_2016Previous life: Secretary of labour for George W. Bush through both terms.
    • Political experience: Prior to secretary of labour, she served as director of the Peace Corps, deputy secretary of transportation and chair of the Federal Maritime Commission under George H.W. Bush. She also had posts in the Reagan administration and a successful career in banking.
    • Job No. 1: Implement a key portion of Mr. Trump’s $1-trillion (U.S.) plan for renewing the national infrastructure.
  • MIKE POMPEO, 52, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
    • Previous life: Member of the House of Representatives from Kansas, lawyer, businessman, Gulf War veteran
    • Political experience: Six years in Congress
    • Job No. 1: Refocus intelligence gathering on Iran and China.

Despite a few reservations about retired generals Flynn and Kelly, based on the very little that I’ve read and zero “insider” knowledge, it is not, in my opinion, a bad list. (But my guess is that retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, known as the “warrior monk,” has a mix of intellectual and moral weight that will allow him to overcome whatever failings Flynn and Kelly may have.)

Wilbur Ross is going to be a problem for Team Trudeau. I do not share the Globe and Mail‘s apparent view that he is an unrestrained capitalist ideologue, but he is tough and wily negotiator and deal maker who, if he wants NAFTA restructured, will go all out to get the best deal possible for America.

Keynes' general theoryElaine Chao, who is married to Republican Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will preside over the biggest Keynsian experiment in using infrastructure as stimulus in recent history. Her choices and management will have a deep impact on Canada because they will impact the prices of materials, labour and services throughout North America and, indeed, even world prices.

Team Trump, all-in-all, looks pretty formidable to me … General Mattis will press us to do more to share the burdens of continental and global defence and security, Mr Ross may want us to give more ground on NAFTA, and Ms Chao may disrupt markets by actually making John Maynard Keynes’ theories work (transportation infrastructure funding (highways, seaports, airports, rail systems), unlike, say, social housing, can be switched off as the economy recovers, to avoid rampant “overheating” ~ something John Maynard Keynes advocated just as much as he did spending to stimulate).

2 thoughts on “More good news”

  1. Compare this cabinet with Trudeau’s amateurs. Our PM is going to get a rude awakening. The recent Canadian “climate change” deal is a big mistake at this time especially since the US will not be going that route. Canada is already unproductive and non competitive, especially Ontario.

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