|Trump Choose Economic Team with Conflicting Philosophies|
|keywords: Cabinet Election Trump|
In his business career, President-Elect Donald Trump built a reputation for filling his boardroom with strong advisors who often espoused radically different points of view. As his cabinet begins to unfold, it appears that Trump is employing the same policy in choosing his economic advisors, opting for a motley crew of aides representing a variety of philosophies and backgrounds.
First is Trump's pick for director of the National Economic Council, departing Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn. A former commodities trader, Cohn is known for holding a traditionally conservative view on the free market, believing in the necessity of balanced regulation to allow the free flow of capital. Cohn notably took a lot of risks to reach his former position as Goldman Sachs president, a philosophy he appears to hold generally.
Next, Trump chose Wilbur Ross as his commerce secretary. Ross, a billionaire who made his fortune in distressed assets rather than in a traditional finance role, is expected to hold considerable influence in Trump's cabinet. Having spoken very publicly about his distaste for "bad trade deals," Ross is an open critic of NAFTA and believes that the U.S. must draw a harder line against Chinese imports in favor of breathing life into flagging U.S. companies.
For Treasury secretary, Trump has opted for Steven Mnuchin, another Goldman Sachs alum. Mnuchin is most notable for his purchase of IndyMac during the financial crisis and the subsequent profits he made on its distressed mortgages. Formally a Democratic Party donor, Mnunchin is not staunch Trumpian and has different economic priorities than many Trump voters. Specifically, Mnunchin's top goals are tax reform and a limitation on the regulations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act.
Rounding out Trump's economic team is Peter Navarro, Trump's appointee to his newly-formed White House National Trade Council. A professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, Navarro is best known for his hardline stance against China as a trade partner. Navarro believes that China is a long-standing violator of global trade rules with shoddy economic fundamentals; he further believes that China is a "paper tiger" economically, placing the U.S. in a strong position to enforce tariffs and other coercive economic measures.
Taken together, Trump's economic team so far represents a wildly divergent set of economic philosophies and policy priorities, and reconciling these diverse views may be difficult. In the face of this team, Trump will need to be a strong referee, and it is yet to be seen if the President-Elect is up for the task.
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