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article imageOp-Ed: Trump adding to the swamp, not draining it as promised

By Ken Hanly     Nov 30, 2016 in Politics
Trump campaigned as a person who was going to fight against the establishment and drain the swamp of corrupt politicians with links to Wall Street from his administration. He has done nothing of the sort.
Trump is adding to the swamp and merely bringing in new establishment figures, some connected to Wall Street. As a recent article in the Washington Post put it: "The notion that he was going to drain the swamp, however, seemed like a pretty potent theme during the campaign. And we can already be pretty sure that there will be no swamp-draining. Trump has merely added his own family and his retinue to the existing swamp." Trump's anti-establishment cabinet probably is representative of the fabled one percent top wealth bracket: "Put together, Trump’s Cabinet and administration could be worth as much as $35 billion, a staggering agglomeration of wealth unprecedented in American history." Trump himself claims to be worth more than $10 billion. Businesswoman Betsy DeVos comes from a family worth $5.1 billion. He is considering oil magnate Harold Hamm worth $15.3 billion and investor Wilbur Ross at $2.9 billion. Mitt Romney also being considered is worth around a mere $250 million and lawyer Rudy Guliani is worth just tens of millions.
Trump is also tapping people with close connections to Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs. He has named former executive of the company Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin worked behind the scenes in Trump's election campaign creating a network of small donors to try and compete with Clinton's better funded operation. While his pick is at odds with Trump's view that the economic and political elites have damaged the country, Republicans in the Senate will no doubt be comfortable with the choice and will confirm his appointment.
A Democracy Now article notes that Mnuchin had a hedge fund: Mnuchin’s hedge fund also played a role in the housing crisis, after it scooped up the failing California bank IndyMac in 2008. Under Mnuchin’s ownership, IndyMac foreclosed on 36,000 families, particularly elderly residents trapped in reverse mortgages. Mnuchin was accused of running a "foreclosure machine." The bank, which was renamed OneWest, was also accused of racially discriminatory lending practices. In 2015, Mnuchin sold the bank for $3.4 billion—$1.8 billion more than he bought it for. Mnuchin also has given money to the Democratic Party in the past.
Trump is expected to name Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary. He is known for buying distressed companies and cutting jobs. He formed a group of bankrupt steel companies into the International Steel Group that he sold two years later for $4.5 billion. One of his coal firms is a subsidiary of the International Coal Group was cited for more than 200 safety violations. In August, Ross' firm agreed to pay a $2.3 million dollar fine in order to settle accusations that it did not properly disclose fees that it charged investors.
If you want to help finance the introduction of new creatures into the swamp you can attend a fund-raising Trump breakfast in New York for just $5,000. Better buy your tickets now before they are all gone. Help save the swamp.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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