February 14, 2017 by JImbo
As promised, I’m trying to stay out of the political squabbles and stick to things actually DONE by the Trump Administration…not claimed, promised or prophesized by doomsayers. I didn’t VOTE for the guy, but he still deserves a shot to prove us wrong.
So what happened in his second week in office?
Trump Week 2 1/30-2/3
Secretary of Education Besty DeVos approved.
I’m split on this one. I’ve heard good and bad things. To start with, this isn’t MY nomination choice. Trump is never going to be a libertarian who will slash the Dept of Education as the uselsess, infected appendix that destroys the health of our Educational system. However, it could be a start.
On the one hand, Betsy Devos doesn’t have much educational experience. On the other hand, she has been very active in raising money for educational programs on her own and the Federal DoEd has very LITTLE to do with “education.” Mostly it’s a huge government agency that provides a place for lobbyists to go to skim money off the top of the budget.
On the one hand, Betsy Devos does seem to be for some sort of “Common Core” Federal standards which is a terrible idea. On the other hand, this isn’t HER baby. This was implemented before Trump (dates back to Obama and some parts Bush.)
BUT, she does seem to believe in charter schools. Notice I said “charter” schools and not “private” schools. This isn’t a full-on voucher system where the government gets out of the way and lets schools teach what the teachers and parents want. It is a system of government schools that are more loosely organized administratively than the heavily regulated “normal public system.”
This allows them to avoid many of the bureaucratic rules and logjams that plague many public schools today. They can use non-union workers. They can partner with outside groups (community groups, youth groups, even churches and businesses) to offer expanded educational services. They can share space with the YMCA for gym for example, they can contract out busing, they can have kids do apprenticeships at local businesses to get job skills.
Also, there is talk of “block granting” more money to the States to set up these charter schools and getting some of the Federal regulations rolled back.
So, this could be good in a way. However, this isn’t abolishing the agency. It’s not stopping lobbying. It remains to be seen just how much creative innovation can happen while still within the wasteful, arthritic Federal “educational” system….that has seen spending TRIPLE since 1970 with a DOWNTURN in educational results.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson approved.
There is really little evidence either way on this guy. He seems to be a successful business leader. He can manage as a CEO well.He has a lot of experience in dealing with foreign countries and businesses.
Can he run a State Dept?
One that is nearly ENTIRELY staffed by Hillary Clinton drones?
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao approved.
The first thing you need to know is that this is GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife. The second thing is that she has worked for Obama and Bush. You can’t get much more “insider” than her.
Her resume is as follows.
Rich industrialist parents from China.
Banker for Citicorp (worked with President Reagan White House as rep of Citicorps)
Worked in Transportation Department for President Bush (Senior) 1988-1991
Director of the Peace Corps 1991-1992
Married Senator Mitch McConnell in 1993.
CEO of United Way Charities
1999 scandal whereby a businessman John Huang was convicted for smuggling $100,000 to Mitch McConnell’s campaign. He said he did it on McConnell’s orders. No charges for McConnell or Chao.
Secretary of Labor 2001-2009 for President Bush (Junior)
Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank)
Contributes to Fox News.
Served on many non-profit boards for numerous companies and charities (including Bloomberg Philanthropies)
So, is she “qualified?” Well… yes depending on what you want her to DO. She has a lot of managerial experience. She knows foreign markets. She has a HUGE stake in China-US trade both personally and professionally. She has a ton of insider Washington contacts.
On a final note, I haven’t mentioned the Federal Communications Commission Chief pick from last week. He’s not a “Cabinet Head” but bears mentioning.
Ajit Pai has long been the voice of individual freedom on the FCC Commission. He keeps advocating for the customer/citizen against government and corporate censorship. He has famously been against “Net Neutrality.”
I’ve gone into this before, but in a nutshell “Net Neutrality” is the idea that no one person, company or program can have more “access” than another. This can SEEM like a good idea to many people, but it’s a terrible concept.
The proponents for example say that it means “poor people have the same Internet access as rich people.” However, it also would mean that you can’t pay more to get BETTER service.
Let me use an example.
T-Mobile has a new plan to give customers unlimited data to stream Netflix and Hulu from their cell phones and tablets. T-mobile gets more customers and Netflix/Hulu get more subscribers. Meanwhile, people get Netflix and Hulu without having to pay more for extra data! Win-win-win right?
Well, if you are watching Netflix on your T-Mobile yes.
However, “Net Neutral” folks say “Hey, not so fast! Why do just T-mobile customers get that? I’m on Verizon! I want that too!” or “I want free streaming for youtube too!”
They do NOT get the concept of the free market.
They will actually SUE T-Mobile to make them stop offering better service for their customers. They really want everyone to suffer rather than a few benefit in ways they don’t agree with.
Anyway, Ajit Pai has been the voice of reason at the FCC for a few years now.
Just one Executive Order passed this week.
“Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System” (EO 13772)
(a) empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;
(b) prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;
(c) foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;
(d) enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;
(e) advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings;
(f) make regulation efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored; and
(g) restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.
(and submit a report in 1 year)
Is it Constitutional? No, but then again everything the Federal Reserve does isn’t Constitutional so we haven’t been “Constitutional” in the banking system since 1913.
Is it good for America? It doesn’t make it WORSE. In fact it doesn’t really DO anything per se, just makes Wall St feel better as a placebo.
Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Duty Rule
This is the “repeal Dodd Frank” order.
All it does is ask the Treasury to determine whether the “Fiduciary Duty Rule” is good or bad. That rule just says that (summarizing) a broker can’t give his customer “bad advice.” The problem is that “bad advice” depends on whose perspective you go by.
The Stock Market is essentially gambling. You can give educated guesses, but no investment is 100% “safe.” So, anyone losing money can immediately sue the broker and say “you told me it was safe!”
As a consequence, brokers have tended to do two things:
a) Give VERY “safe” advice to avoid losses. This means that customers get very crappy gains too, since they are “playing it safe.” If they don’t give their customers the option of taking risk (and possibly making more money, but also possibly losing it)… is that customer given “GOOD” advice? That is the question.
Say you had cancer but your doctor ONLY told you about operations that were 99% safe…but the operation that could 50% save your life was NOT mentioned (to save the doctor’s career), would you think that was “good?” If he let you die but avoided a lawsuit?
b) “Amateur” investors are locked out of the market. Most investors with a reputation to protect don’t bother with people of very little money and stock market experience. They are the most likely to sue. As a caveat to that, this doesn’t keep amateurs out of the market. They just go online with a computer program to invest their money themselves (with NO advice at all) or they hire a guy with a BAD reputation but a “get rich quick” scam instead. Scam artists by definition don’t care about their reputation and are likely to skip town if things go bad.
Is that “good” for clients to go to scam artists?
Anyway, this Executive Order (EO) just discussed the concept and asks for a report to the President on it, so he can propose a new law to maybe repeal part of Dodd-Frank in the future someday.
Trying to stay out of politics per se, the Trump Administration has a disturbing habit of using “Alternative Facts.” They aren’t entirely wholesale lies usually, but they don’t explain things well and then try to conflate different things. For example, the “Bowling Green Massacre” meme. They listed STOPPED terrorist attacks as ACTUAL “terrorist” attacks. They just didn’t clarify that they didn’t ACTUALLY happen. Just planned to happen.
I’ve come to expect this from the media and their biased reporting (looking at you CNN and MSNBC especially), but it is disturbing that a White House is adopting the same tactics. They need to take the high ground and leave the mudslinging to the press. Tha is why the “media” as a whole has an approval rating barely higher than Congress. (Yes a 15% approval rating is higher than 9%, but they can hardly point fingers at Trump’s 40% rating from where they are standing knee deep in mud.)
It’s a concern that bears watching from our “Social Media” President.
Overall not too much happened this week and the personnel pics were about as expected.