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America, You’ve Been Had; Millionaire Mnuchin Is One of the Corporate Elite That Candidate Trump Railed Against

Nov. 30, 2016

America, You’ve Been Had; Millionaire Mnuchin Is One of the Corporate Elite That Candidate Trump Railed Against

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: Today, President-elect Donald Trump nominated former Goldman Sachs executive and millionaire Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary.

Donald Trump, August 8, 2016: “We can’t fix a rigged system by relying on the people who rigged it in the first place.”

America, you’ve been had. Say goodbye to the candidate who promised to fix a rigged economic and political system. And say hello to the incoming president intent on turning over the machinery of government to the corporate elite against whom he railed just a few short months ago.

It’s hard to imagine a single person more powerfully embodying the sham of candidate Trump’s faux populism than Steven Mnuchin.

If confirmed as Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin would continue the tradition of former Goldman Sachs executives exercising a vice grip over economic policymaking in the United States. After an eight-year sabbatical, Goldman would resume its control over the nation’s top economic policymaking position.

But Mnuchin is not just any Goldman alumnus. After leaving Goldman, he went on to found a hedge fund, Dune Capital Management – named after a spot near his house in the Hamptons.

In partnership with others, that firm purchased the failed IndyMac, renamed it OneWest and then developed a reputation as being one of the nastiest and most aggressive banks foreclosing on people’s homes.  

With a record like this, there’s every reason to believe that Mnuchin will push a policy agenda that would force America to revisit the worst abuses that led to the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession.

There’s no way to square this nomination with the claims of candidate Trump that he would fix a rigged system.

On the other hand, Mnuchin is exactly the choice one would expect from Trump if he’s forging a plutocratic alliance with Wall Street, casting aside the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and once again exposing hardworking Americans to the profit-mad recklessness Goldman Sachs manifested by betting against its own clients.

The Senate should reject this nomination.