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Trump advisers back deregulation, privatized Social Security


    President-elect Donald Trump elicited wild cheers on the campaign trail by pledging to “drain the swamp” in Washington but the president-elect’s transition team is populated largely with creatures of the capital, including former federal bureaucrats, think-tank academics, corporate lawyers and special interests lobbyists.

WASHINGTON >> During his triumphant presidential campaign, Donald Trump renounced Republican orthodoxy on a Social Security overhaul.

“We’re not going to hurt the people who have been paying into Social Security their whole life,” Trump declared, calling the payment of promised benefits “honoring a deal.”

But the man heading the Trump transition team’s Social Security effort? Michael Korbey, a former lobbyist who has spent much of his career advocating for cutting and privatizing the program.

“It’s a failed system, broken and bankrupt,” Korbey said as a lobbyist in the mid-1990s. Korbey acknowledged that some of the changes his group backed would hurt retirees, but “our constituents aren’t just senior citizens,” he told a newspaper in 1996. A decade later, as a senior adviser to the Social Security Administration, Korbey was an advocate for the George W. Bush administration’s failed attempt to privatize Social Security.

Korbey is just one example of apparent discord between Trump’s populist economic platform and the people who have been put in charge of planning to carry it out. While there are some true Washington outsiders on the team — such as Dan DiMicco, a former steel industry executive who is Trump’s transition head for the office of U.S. Trade Representative — many of the players are familiar from the Republican economic establishment. The mix indicates a strong leaning toward rolling back much of the Obama administration’s post-financial collapse changes, and a general posture toward deregulation.

The team will not necessarily carry over into the Trump administration — though members of past transition teams often have. Instead, they are in charge of putting together hiring recommendations, working with outgoing appointees and laying the groundwork for administration’s opening months.

Bill Walton, one of the two people overseeing the economic transition effort, is the former chief executive for Allied Capital, a financial firm that was sold after nearly failing during the financial crisis. He is both a trustee for the Heritage Foundation and a senior fellow at another conservative organization, the Discovery Institute.

David Malpass, who is overseeing both the Treasury Department staffing and part of the broader economic issues portfolio, was Bear Stearns’ chief economist in the years leading up to its collapse. In August 2007, as U.S. economic growth ground to a halt and the debt markets shuddered, he wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Don’t Panic About the Credit Market.”

“Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation,” the piece declared, predicting continued economic growth and dismissing concerns that recent growth had been dependent on the housing bubble.

Eight months later, Bear Stearns collapsed, unable to withstand the toxic combination of overheated home prices and shoddily assembled debt that Malpass dismissed. But Malpass landed on his feet, founding a consulting firm called Encima Partners.

Since then, he’s faulted both the Federal Reserve’s monetary response to the financial crisis and regulations intended to prevent future such calamities.

In a 2010 National Review article titled “Chris Dodd’s Big, Misguided Bill,” Malpass argued against the value of creating the consumer financial protection bureau, writing that the Obama administration should “streamline and concentrate” existing consumer protection regulators, a step that he said “would result in a reduction of government jobs.”

In Paul Atkins, Trump has found a leading proponent of the theory that government should get out of the financial industry’s way.

Appointed to the Securities and Exchange commission in July 2002 at the height of the era’s corporate accounting scandals, he was considered the most conservative member of the SEC during his tenure. Atkins objected to stiff penalties imposed on companies for allegedly fraudulent conduct, contending that they don’t effectively deter crime. And in 2005, he defended the practice of backdating stock options — a practice in which executives paid themselves for fictitious outperformance in their companies’ stocks. Numerous executives went to jail for those activities — but Atkins caused a stir by saying he found nothing objectionable about it.

In the years that led up to the financial crisis, Atkins warned of dangers posed by “enacting regulations that supplant the market’s judgment.” Among the initiatives he successfully backed at the SEC was a loosening of leverage restrictions on investment banks, a step that allowed firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman brothers to borrow more money and invest it in mortgage-backed securities.

Atkins resigned in August of 2008, and now runs a financial services industry consulting firm. But he has maintained his vigorously pro-market stance.

“We all know that overregulation can “kill the goose that laid the golden egg,” he said in a 2012 speech opposing the regulation of money market funds.

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  • The working class voters who supported Trump are quickly realizing they cut their own throats. Trump will sell these people down the river and fast while he has the power. His so called policies are aimed at huge tax cuts for the rich while the middle class gets very little. Same old stuff…

      • Bingo! These Liberals and Democrats are like children and teens. They only know what they want to believe. They’ll pick a phrase of line out of context to prove a point or to sway things into their favor. I’m waiting to see what Trump does in real life. Politicians talk is what it is ALL Talk and the reason why an outsider like Trump was appealing to Republicans, Independants, etc. voters. Like the Democrats how rule the inner cities, they will tell you everything what you want to hear but when it comes right down to it they did nothin as Sgt. Schultz would put it. Absolutely NOTHIN! I’ve heard Trump’s words, now await for Trump to do what he says he’d do. It’ll take time, but with Rep. total control of Washington I don’t wee why Trump and fellow Rep.’s try to do what it’s constituents voted them into elected seats said they’d do. A lot of smoke and screen from ALL parties so I hope… .

    • What else does your crystal ball say…? Have you ever run the numbers on a conservative private plan versus social security..? Apparently not. Do you even know the difference..? Frightened, ignorant people like yourself would surely be given the standard SS option anyway, so calm down.

    • IRT Allie, which of the 29 contract items to the American voter to be implemented by President-Elect Trump is on Social Security? I can’t find any. Allie, can you?

  • I love how the investment banks want the government to stop regulating them, but also want the people to bail the banks out when the banks get too greedy. I think the history of America is a lesson in the necessity of balancing regulation with competition. How does the expression go? If you’re not cheating, you’re not really trying? Wells Fargo’s recent fraud exposure demonstrates the need to monitor and regulate financial companies. They cannot be trusted, none can. Thus the need for oversight.

    • And during the aftermath of another great recession which is looming on the horizon, which will again be brought on by the deregulation of Wall Street, not only will these banks which are “too big to fail” be given bailouts–they will end up scapegoating public school teachers and the homeless for the sorry state of the U.S. economy. It’s a Wall Street government–especially with Republicans controlling all facets of our federal government.

  • Social Security needs a major overhaul. When established in 1935, Social Security was an insurance program designed to pay retired WORKERS age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement. Workers had to pay into the system to receive benefits from it. No more. Social security is now paid to millions of Americans including many who have never worked or paid one penny into SS who claim they cannot work due to physical or mental impairment. Abuse is rampant. Separate programs need to be established, one for those who pay into the system and one for those who sponge off the current system. Congress can decide how to fund the latter.

    • You sure. Remember rich people don’t need social security. They see it as an entitlement and at 14 most of them were in expensive private schools here or abroad. I commend you for your hard work at a very young age. I started working at 15 during the summers planting trees on conservation land. Rice, eggs, and Vienna sausages were a treat for me whenever I was able to have it for lunch. People like the Chump wouldn’t even feed it to their dogs. Mega rich people who were born with a golden spoon in their mouths cannot identify with working class people as much as I can imagine riding to work everyday in a chauffeur driven limousine. My car for a long time had a fuel gauge that didn’t work so I had to reset the mileage when I put gas so I knew when I needed to refuel again. My problem with the Chump is not his wealth. It is because of his lack of common decency and how he pretends to care for the common person.

  • Allie is right and all of you are in denial. You cannot be that ignorant that you can’t see what is starting to happen. The Chump is starting to surround himself with the Wahington DC elite. Those who through out his entire campaign he slammed as the problem for all of our woes. Wall Street insiders who he claimed were the Clintons buddies and low and behold he starts pulling his magical cards out of his sleeves. Privatization is how politicians take care of their friends pure and simple. Remember Dick Cheney and Haliburton in Iraq. Privatizing national defense for a profit and that is what is going to happen with social security. They are going to take their profits and leave you the crumbs. Those of you who got him elected might have to start joining the current protesters before it’s too late. It’s too late now but now you know why it was very important for the Chump to release his tax returns. Auwe!

    • Hey Keaukaha, please name the Washington D.C. Elites you’re talking about. I haven’t heard of any being on the white paper? If you have inside information, please share. Mahalo.

      • Politico lists the following lobbyists with major portfolios in the Trump transition team:

        “Cindy Hayden of tobacco giant, Altria, is in charge of Trump’s Homeland Security team.

        “J. Steven Hart, chairman of Williams & Jensen, is in charge of the Labor team. His clients include Visa, the American Council of Life Insurers, Anthem, Cheniere Energy, Coca-Cola, General Electric, PhRMA and United Airlines.

        “Michael McKenna of MWR Strategies, who is working on the Energy Department team, lobbies for Engie (formerly GDF Suez), Southern Company and Dow Chemical.

        “David Bernhardt of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck who leads the Interior Department team, lobbies for the Westlands Water District in central California and used to represent Freeport LNG and Rosemont Copper.

        “Michael Torrey, who has the Agriculture Department portfolio, has his own firm representing the American Beverage Association and the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau.

        “Mike Catanzaro of CGCN Group, lobbies for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a refining group, as well as Hess, Encana, Noble Energy and Devon Energy. Catanzaro is working on energy independence, along with Mike Ference, a lobbyist at the firm S-3 Group, representing Halliburton, Koch Industries and Marathon Oil.

        “Rolf Lundberg, who’s tasked with trade reform, worked at the Chamber of Commerce until 2013 and spun off his own lobbying firm representing Choice Hotels and the International Franchise Association.

        “Jim Carter, who oversees tax reform, is an in-house lobbyist for manufacturing company Emerson.

        “Transportation and infrastructure is being led by Martin Whitmer, the founder partner of lobbying firm Whitmer & Worrall who represents the American Association of Railroads, the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the Utilities Technology Council.”

        • Mahalo bsdetection I think that kuroiwaj is crying so hard that he can’t read the article. I think all of the Chumps supporters should watch a rerun of Forrest Gump to use as a educational tool.

        • Talk about being being bitten on the as-. Chump is the ultimate jaws and his supporters are going to have to invent a new toilet cause you need to have an as- to use the current ones.

  • Trump will not turn his back on his supporters. These advisors have ideas, but they work for Trump. I spoke to some union leaders, one of whom was born in Hawaii to a family active in the ILWU and they were told by Trump and his staff that Trump will keep all his promises to the working man.

    The advisors have many ideas opposite to Trump– Trump believes Federal spending (for infrastructure, education vouchers, child care, and the military) to boost economic growth is more important than cutting the deficit when borrowing is cheap– the advisors believe in cutting spending to cut the deficit. They also do not believe in Federal funding for infrastructure which is one of Trump’s most important programs to spur employment; the advisors believe in free trade that lets businesses take advantage of cheaper labor overseas and this is the opposite of what Trump want. The advisor’s ideas are not going to get past Trump.

    • Then why are they his advisors. He never had a plan and that’s why he always spoke in general terms if at all. Can’t believe that you all are falling for this cra-. What you and his fellow supporters need to do is to send a very urgent message to the idi-t that he needs to fulfill his promises. You people put him there and now you own him. It’s like your dog. If he shi- s in you r neighbors yard you clean it up. Don’t need no f—-ng advisory panel to figure that one out.

      • BTWY why aren’t there anyone from the coal, steel, automotive and other industries that are non existent or struggling on these advisory panels. Last time I looked Matson whose longshoremen are ILWU are doing exceptionally well. Most of them pull in well over a $100,000 a year. I am a staunch Union man but his promise was that he was going to bring jobs back period! Tell him to stick to his fu—ng promises or you will be joining his protest parade. You have been scammed big time so what are you going to do about it!

        • No need to moderate plan on taking some time off from this site. Can’t stand the stench and ignorance

    • It definitely will be eye opening for many of his supporters. I do think many did not know what the heck he was proposing but to them it sounded good. Now we see all the ones who created the financial mess is “advising” him!???
      Heard one of his “closest advisers” on a CNN interview actually tell the reporter who asked about the “wall” and how he might build it say that we shouldn’t think of “real wall”…the donald meant a “wall of understanding”….Yes, I did choke on my coffee and had to grab tissue to wipe up the coffee coming from my nose.
      Stay tuned for more drama folks. Remember…Elections do have consequences.
      You might want to hold off celebrating too much..give it at least 100 days.

  • People need to look at his transition team and who’s advising him. Then research who they are and the companies they were with. Many of them have declared bankruptcy. While you’re at it research the Trump University case. To quote a line of a popular song…”You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find….”

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