In the short period after the 8 November election that brought him to the Oval Office of the White House for the next four years, President – elect Donald Trump has more or less outlined the policy mix he is going to implement as from 20 January. His choices for key government positions and his personal and improvised tweets about crucial matters like the US-China relations have sent clear signs about his future policy options and tools.
Despite the fact that he is to assume the most serious office in the world, traditionally functioning under meaningful formalities and thorough examination of options by an army of advisers and experts, he keeps using his personal tweet account to introduce new foreign policy lines. It’s exactly the same when he sets to sketchily bring about far-reaching changes in the constellation of the American business universe and the main economic sectors.
Unpredictability to reign
In this way he tells everybody that he will manage the US government affairs as unpredictably and spontaneously as he has been running his business affairs. The fact that he has never held a government position and given his long personal engagement and active occupation in TV productions, makes him an odd choice for a solemn supreme political and military commander of his great nation. But let’s take one thing at the time.
Starting from Trump’s main political message during his long electoral campaign, he unswervingly invited to support him the Americans who are left behind and feel abandoned by the governing elites. It’s the tens of millions of people who have grave difficulties in getting a job and even when in employment find it difficult to make the ends meet. What did he do after getting their votes and winning the race to the White House?
Now it’s different
He chose Andrew Puzder CEO of CKF Restaurants as Labor Secretary, a sworn enemy of any prospect of increasing the minimum wages. This is a blatant denier of government regulation in the workplace and a strong critic of the workings of the National Labor Board Relations. Puzder will surely try to further deregulate the labor market, obviously to the detriment of the lowest paid Americans, who work in the restaurant and retailing business. If this is not a full contradiction between electoral rhetoric and White House policy and a betrayal of the left behind workers, then words have lost their meaning.
There is more to it though. Undoubtedly, education is one sure way for securing better prospects in the lives of people. It is also self evident that state supported schooling system offers such opportunities to the left behind Americans. Again Trump, with his decision to appoint as Education Secretary Betsy Devos, a billionaire supporter of private education, is undermining the prospects of the less educated to improve their lives, who voted for him. Devos is an advocate of the expansion of the private and charter schools and the relegation of the public education system. No doubt then that Trump favors the more affluent to the detriment of the less well off.
He stole the votes
In the financial sector which ‘produces’ 7.5% of GDP in the US, Trump has already done exactly the opposite of what he promised. In the four weeks after his election, the Wall Street stock exchange passed from one historical record to another, making the New York financial sharks much richer. In this brief period the fortunes on the few systemic bank CEOs have grown by hundreds of millions dollars without their owners having done anything.
Both the top economic jobs in the Trump administration are filled with persons coming from New York’s financial sharks’ pool. Steven Mnuchin, a top brass at Goldman Sachs for 17 years and presently owner of Southern California’s largest lender, OneWest Bank, is the new Treasury Secretary. Gary Cohn Goldman Sachs Group President and Chief Operating Officer is to become the head of White House National Economic Council. Their job will obviously be to protect the interests of the financial sector at the expenses of the rest of the economy and the society.
It’s another business project
On top of all that, Trump himself has made clear that he will not abandon the helm of his world-wide business empire while working in the Oval Office. He has also not clarified if he is not to use his new role in protecting the country’s national interests, in order to promote his private affairs. Being a businessman all the way through is rather difficult for him to avoid using his newly acquired powers in order to promote his business interests. Even without asking for anything, foreign governments and the US administration will think twice before declining a demand or scrutinising a business outlet of his immense world-wide economic empire.
In short, Trump is betraying the left behind Americans by making Wall Street bankers richer and appointing some of them in key government positions. At the same time, he sides with Russia in a rather dark way and for obscure reasons and unnerves China by questioning the four decades old US position of ‘One China’. Beijing’s reaction was strong and clear. Last Monday 12 December the Foreign Ministry of China said that if Washington doesn’t recognize Beijing’s central interests on Taiwan any more, cooperation between China and US is “out of question”. The same source also added that China will reject any attempt by the Trump administration to use this issue as an additional chapter for negotiations in the list of commercial and security problems.
An oversized ego
All in all, Trump’s full u-turn on what he promised to voters, his chancy way of doing foreign policy and his decision to continue overseeing his businesses indicate that he views both the way he got to the White House and what he will be doing in there, as another business project of his. With business interests and an ego equally enormous, he is bound to transform a public office into a personal affair. His actions most probably will harm the average American and the US interests around the world, but he will surely service his business and his ego very well. Europe has to prepare to confront Trump’s aggressiveness in all fronts. He will try to squeeze out of Europe as much as he can, notably money! Having betrayed his compatriots he won’t stop at nothing when it comes to the European Union.