Did Mnuchin Just Help Trump Sabotage The U.S. Economy To Make Biden's Presidency Worse?


I've always had the idea that Republican presidents leave big deficits and recessions to incoming Democratic administrations because the nature of conservatism and Republicanism is wrapped up in hypocrisy, refusal to take responsibility and inability to make decisions that go beyond the most immediate goals. But I never really believed that that was the goal-- raising economic havoc and sowing the seeds of destruction for naked partisan expediency. Until now. That's exactly what Trump and his team are doing-- and that's why Trump and his minions must be punished-- and punished severely enough to discourage future coup attempts like this. If Biden refuses, he's an accessory to Trump's treason.

Do you remember Neil Barofsky? Perhaps you remember him as Assistant U.S. attorney for the South District of New York (2000-2008)? How about when George Bush named appointed him Special United States Treasury Department Inspector General to oversee TARP, from late 2008 until his resignation at the end of March 2011? He called Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner out for every crooked misstep he took in relation to TARP. Barofsky is widely considered one of the most courageous and principled men in DC... regardless of party. Today he wrote an alarming piece for the NY Times, How Steve Mnuchin Snubbed Joe Biden. Why? Mnuchin "terminated emergency-lending programs that will limit the new administration’s options-- upseting the Federal Reserve in the process.

Foolishly-- or devilishly-- Mnuchin decided the economy is improving enough-- just as new lockdowns are being announced-- that the economy has improved enough for him to declare "mission accomplished."

Barofsky explained that "The programs, part of the CARES Act, include the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Treasury Department in partnership with the Federal Reserve. As the economy foundered in the spring, those programs helped keep companies and municipalities afloat. They were set to expire on Dec. 31, and Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, and Mr. Mnuchin had the option of extending them. Instead, the Treasury secretary has made the reckless political decision to terminate them, thereby pulling the plug on these vital programs and potentially destabilizing fragile financial markets." The Dow immediately started heading south on the announcement, closing about 140 points down almost .5% down.

Is there a planned sabotage effort underway?

In Barofky's opinion "The decision appears intended to limit the incoming Biden administration’s options to deal with the continuing crisis, a damaging departure from the successful approach taken during the presidential transition in the bleak days of the Great Recession. Then, the outgoing Treasury Department did all that it could to preserve President-elect Barack Obama’s discretion to use congressionally approved bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relied Program (which I oversaw as the program’s special inspector general) to steer our nation’s recovery. Mr. Mnuchin’s decision also drew an extraordinary and immediate rebuke from the Federal Reserve, which said it prefers 'that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy.' The Treasury should reverse this reckless course and follow the precedent set with TARP by extending these programs to give the newly elected administration as much flexibility as possible... The outgoing Trump administration should follow the wise precedent set by the Bush administration and not succumb to the political temptation to straitjacket its successor. It should reconsider its shortsighted decision and instead extend the programs. Given the stakes of the pandemic and its impact on the economy, the Biden administration deserves to make its own policy decisions on how best to use the CARES Act funds to stabilize the economy and support a recovery."

Yeah, good luck with that.