We had a pretty hearty laugh recently whilst perusing media reports of a schism inside the Trump economic team regarding the president's sudden yearn to impose nonsense tariffs on steel and aluminum.
To clarify, our giggles were not caused by the sudden drop in market confidence or the look of shock and horror on the faces of Trump's fake allies in the congressional GOP. Nor were we cravenly enjoying the inherent hilarity of an economic superpower operating its trade policy on the advice of a angry fringe-thinking lunatic economist playing "White House fantasy camp" and an octogenarian bankruptcy pirate who pretends to be a billionaire when he's not maintaining an aggressive nap schedule. No, what made us chuckle and cry simultaneously was the supposition that the pro-tariffs cabal inside Trump's West Wing was being opposed by a team led by Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin.
LOL. That gets us every time.
Predicating anything on the assumption that Steve Mnuchin has any strongly-held opinions whatsoever is building a thought castle on rhetorical sand. If we, after almost two years of exhaustive study, have come to believe anything about the 77th United States Secretary of the Treasury it's that he has no real beliefs.
Steve Mnuchin is a blank-faced cypher, a man without qualities, an ideological chameleon in Transition shades. After a career spent slaloming through sketchy situations and coming out miraculously unscathed, Mnuchin has become the only person in the Trump administration to have worked at Goldman Sachs, for George Soros, profiteered from the mortgage crisis andbeen credited as executive producer on the film "Get Hard."Steve Mnuchin is the Forrest Gump of 21st century finance.
And like Forrest, Mnuchin has managed it all without ever making it look like he fully grasped what was happening around him. He seems to just along with whatever suits him best at the particular moment. In 2015, Mnuchin was a very generous donor to Obama and Hillary Clinton, but after wandering into a Trump primary victory party, Mnuchin heard Trump say his name into a microphone and now he's Treasury Secretary in the most conservative administration in modern history.
So forgive us of we laughed our fucking asses off when we read that Mnuchin was collaborating with Gary Cohn to prevent Trump from levying tariffs that any first-year analyst at Goldman Sachs knows are a dumbass idea. Mnuchin is as liable to go against the president as he is to take the time to actually comprehend what he's supposed to be talking about. You see, Steve was a legacy at Goldman Sachs so he might have a different take on a trade a policy that was announced with the explicit intent of starting a trade war and pissing off our literal closest allies in Canada and Mexico...
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration isn’t trying to provoke a global trade fight with the steel and aluminum tariffs announced last week.
“We are not looking to get into trade wars,” Mnuchin said Tuesday during a congressional committee hearing when asked about the tariffs...
Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee that Canada is an important steel supplier and that the metals tariffs won’t apply to Canada or Mexico if Nafta is successfully renegotiated. He added that the Nafta renegotiation is an administration “priority,” along with shifting trade with China to a “fair and balanced” relationship.
This is a real "Mnuchin Triple Whammy." It combines a total lack of logic-based economic thinking with a craven devotion to Trump wrapped up in a willfully warped understanding of what Trump is trying to do.
Steve Mnuchin isn't out there offering economic counsel to the president, nor is he selling the Trump administration's policies to congress and the American public. Steve Mnuchin is doing what Steve Mnuchin has always done, he's nodding along to what the popular girls are saying at the slumber party and smiling just enough to communicate agreement, but not enough to reveal that he is existentially terrified by the process of human interaction...and he has no idea what "Third base" is supposed to mean.