Sunday, December 23, 2018

Baby Trump's impetuous use of "You're fired" this week (No, he can't fire the fed chairman)



Baby Trump threw one tantrum after another this week.  The latest came Sunday morning when he replaced resigning Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as of Jan. 1,2019.  You can see the angry responses to Trump’s own feed here. 
  
I don’t know how “adult” Shanahan is with respect to the nuclear football, but his views may be closer to Mattis’s than the president expects.  But Shanahan will be involved in international meetings very quickly,   Mattis will probably work for a defense contractor and try to be influential. 

There is a lot of debate on both sides on Syria.  Not everyone agrees that the Kurds are at risk, or that the US had been accomplishing a lot there (other than intelligence gathering).  Rand Paul spoke about this on CNN Sunday morning.

  
Quite disturbing are claims that Trump is likely to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.  This would rattle markets and undermine the idea of a fed independent of partisanship. But very recently Sunday, news sources ratified that Trump understand he does not have the authority to fire the fed chairman he had appointed.  Both Mick Mulvaney and Steve Mnunchin had committed this to news media by early Sunday, story by Mihir Zaveri in the New York Times. 

CNN reports that Mnunchin has called the nation's largest investment banks over the weekend to reassure them that Trump will not fire Powell. There is a copy of his letter on Twitter.  Treasury is one of the departments shut down. CNBC has a story on his letter noting that Treasury has essential employees on the job and that the system has normal liquidity. 
     
Here's a typical article on Yahoo! on the markets, with a comparison to 1987.  I remember Oct. 19 that year well.  A friend met me at SFO airport and told me that the market had crashed. 


   
Here’s Philip Rucker’s assessment of Trump’s crib in the Washington Post. 

The media, especially CNN, makes a lot of the partial shutdown. 

Update Dec 25

Catherine Rampbell on how Trump would handle a financial crisis. 

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