Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Last Call For An Econom-Mick Disaster

The Donald keeps rolling on, staffing the executive branch with dangerous lunatics, bloody-minded fools, and genuine thieves. Sometimes Trump hits the trifecta with one pick and manages to get someone who's all three. Meet America's next budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.

Mulvaney was first elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the anti-government, tea party wave. A founding member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, he is among Congress’s most committed fiscal hawks. He has repeatedly voted against his own party’s budget proposals because they were insufficiently conservative
All this will presumably put him at odds with Trump’s plans to balloon federal deficits through a $7 trillion cut in individual and corporate income taxes, another half-trillion in infrastructure subsidies and other major spending expansions.

It’s unclear how Trump’s fiscally profligate platform meshes with Mulvaney’s preference for penny-pinching. He might push back on Trump’s most expensive ideas. Maybe he’ll employ accounting gimmicks and magic asterisks to force Trump’s numbers to add up. Trump’s campaign advisers have already been doing this, disingenuously claiming that his policies will pay for themselves through unrealistic economic growth.

Or maybe Mulvaney’s job will simply be to convince the rest of the Freedom Caucus to stay mum when deficits explode. 
Whatever their differences on line-item details, though, Mulvaney and the president-elect have at least one major thing in common: an alarming openness to defaulting on the federal debt
As you may recall, during the campaign Trump repeatedly flirted with the idea of defaulting on U.S. debt obligations. In a CNBC interview in May, he suggested that his experience in offloading private debt would translate nicely to federal obligations. That is, he’d simply persuade the country’s creditors to accept less than full payment. 
“I would borrow knowing that if the economy crashed you could make a deal,” he said.
When the financial press freaked out, he walked back the language — only to revive it a month later
Mulvaney has also questioned the need to preserve the country’s sterling reputation as a borrower.

He ran for Congress promising to never raise the country’s debt ceiling, and he has mostly kept to that pledge. Since taking office in January 2011, he has voted against (ultimately successful) legislation to raise this ceiling four times. He also publicly questioned whether failing to raise the ceiling would be such a bad thing, and whether it would necessitate defaulting on our debt. 
To be clear: It would, and it would.

To reiterate, Mulvaney is a Bircher Tea Party nutjob who has no problem with defaulting on America's national debt, something that would immediately trigger an economic crisis far worse than 2007-2008, and believes Paul Ryan hasn't cut spending enough.

This person would be Trump's budget director.

Let that sink in.

We're so utterly screwed.

Pardon Me, Newt?

Whoever thought Republicans ever cared about rule of law once they came to power is in for quite the shock when it comes to "crony capitalism" Trump-style.  And Newt Gingrich is right there cheering them along, saying the GOP should simply change the laws to allow Trump and his kids to do whatever they want

Newt Gingrich said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump could simply pardon members of his administration who may break anti-nepotism laws, adding that Trump's business ties require "a whole new approach" to addressing potential conflicts of interest in the presidency.

“In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon,” Gingrich told WAMU’s Diane Rehm on Monday morning. “It is a totally open power, and he could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period.' Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority.”

Gingrich was referring to a federal anti-nepotism law that could prevent Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, respectively, from serving in his administration. Previously, Gingrich suggested Trump may need a waiver from Congress to have Kushner work in his administration.

On Monday, however, Gingrich said the law was the result of “Lyndon Johnson’s reaction to Bobby Kennedy, and the fact that Johnson hated Kennedy.”

“It was a very narrowly focused bill really in reaction to a particular personality thing,” he said. “I think that we have to look at it in the context of what they were trying to accomplish.”

Although Gingrich acknowledged that Trump’s potential conflicts of interest were “a very real problem,” he argued that the President-elect's massive wealth was “virtually impossible to isolate” and that “traditional rules don’t work."

"We’re going to have to think up a whole new approach,” he said.

We have to change to rules for Trump, because Trump doesn't follow the rules.

Republicans have spent more than two decades screaming about "lawless Democrat thugs" and as soon as they get into power, they simply say "If we change the laws so we can do what we want, we're not lawless, are we?"

Trump just pardons anyone who might break the law ahead of time.  Problem solved, citizen!

Of course the administration that can change the laws to do what they want can also change the laws to make anything their opponents do illegal.  History tells us that part is coming pretty soon as well.

Lemme Hear Ya Go Hotel, Motel, Trump-iday Inn

And if Kuwait starts acting up, then they're not Trump's friend.

The Embassy of Kuwait allegedly cancelled a contract with a Washington, D.C. hotel days after the presidential election, citing political pressure to hold its National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel instead.

A source tells ThinkProgress that the Kuwaiti embassy, which has regularly held the event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, abruptly canceled its reservation after members of the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador to hold the event at the hotel owned by the president-elect. The source, who has direct knowledge of the arrangements between the hotels and the embassy, spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. ThinkProgress was also able to review documentary evidence confirming the source’s account.

In the early fall, the Kuwaiti Embassy signed a contract with the Four Seasons. But after the election, members of the Trump Organization contacted the Ambassador of Kuwait, Salem Al-Sabah, and encouraged him to move his event to Trump’s D.C. hotel, the source said.

Kuwait has now signed a contract with the Trump International Hotel, the source said, adding that a representative with the embassy described the decision as political. Invitations to the event are typically sent out in January.

Abdulaziz Alqadfan, First Secretary of the Embassy of Kuwait, told ThinkProgress last week that he couldn’t “confirm or deny” that the National Day event would be held at the Trump Hotel. Reached again Monday afternoon, Alqadfan did not offer any comment. An email sent directly to Ambassador Al-Sabah was not immediately returned.

If you're a foreign national or lobbyist wanting access and want to stay in good graces with the Trump administration, you'd better stay at his hotels. They're now the only game in town in DC, Chicago, New York, SoHo, Miami and Vegas, but especially the DC digs.  President Trump would be disappointed if you didn't accept his offer of hospitality in our nation's capital. You wouldn't want to disappoint President Trump, would you?

This is how things work in America now.  Trump is the President's Brand™.

Gosh, that would make a pretty good tag, huh.


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