Trump abandons “drain the swamp”

If you’re still holding to Donald Trump as a saviour for the people then think again:

Trump is a card-carrying oligarch with an astonishing array of millionaires and billionaires appointed to his leading cabinet positions, as well as the policies to match in deregulation and wealthy/corporate tax cuts.

He is not for “the people”.


  1. armchair economist

    Well, he is fir his kind of ppl and aspirationals. Redistribution doesn’t work anymore than trickle down. Inequality is baked into the system, when a company has many customers and much fewer shareholders. When financing debt or equity is more available to those who have more already, when workers create wealth for shareholders but don’t get a cut, then inequality is the inevitable result.

      • “But even as we contemplate history as this slaughter bench on which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of states, and the virtue of individuals have been sacrificed, our thoughts cannot avoid the question, for whom, for what final aim. these monstrous sacrifices have been made. ”
        Georg Hegel

  2. Trumpf ‘s achievement was to stop Hillary. That is given.
    Anything else would be overachieving.
    Disaster is averted for 4 years. We’ll see what 2021. brings
    If Sanders was allowed to stay in the race…

  3. Every day in every way Trump is fulfilling his promise.

    Stimulating an immune system response that would have been wholly absent had Hillary been elected.

    He can do a lot or nothing at all and still the experiment is likely to be worthwhile.

    The DNC (and GOP) response has not been promising to date but eventually they will realise they must evolve to address the intrusion.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      What happens in the GOP is irrelevant, its the battles within the DNC that will decide if there is going to be any “meaningful” change of course in the United States,…and thus the world.

      Nina on Elizabeth Warren and,… her possiable run in 2021?
      After 6mins in.

      • Agree that Elizabeth Warren looks the best chance of getting a REAL progressive into the White House.
        If the DNC sandbags her like they did to Bernie Sanders then they deserve to spend another 4 years in the wilderness.
        The problem with American politics is that corporate donors pick “ball buster” Republicans and “weakling” Democrats.
        That’s the Establishment way to preserve tax breaks and weak regulation.

    • What do you mean by immune system response?
      Trump has lied his way to the White House and is now going to embrace an even harsher variant of neoliberalism. I’m convinced it will be along the lines of Yeltsin early-mid 90’s Russia. Just blatant corruption, reckless fiscal policy, dreadful crisis management and extreme inequality where those connected to Trump are gifted fortunes via loans for shares type schemes while others end up living in sewers. It will lead to even greater despair and demoralisation. Small concessions will soon seem impossible, people will give up.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Possibly, but the major difference between Yeltsin and Trump is Yeltsin was a (self-confessed) psychotic alcoholic and made almost all the important decisions when he was soused. He was possibly easily manipulated as a result.

        Its no surprise that the once great Socialist Republic crumbled under him, never to recover. Was their “election” result that saw him granted power “hacked” or otherwise influenced by the US? One can only look back and wonder.

        I’m not sure if Trump also has this same problem, maybe he has different vices that open him up for manipulation? Greed and laziness? That’s a big motivator, and I’m sure Trump isn’t immune to it. Time will tell I guess.

      • As H&H said:

        “…Trump is a card-carrying oligarch with an astonishing array of millionaires and billionaires appointed to his leading cabinet positions, as well as the policies to match in deregulation and wealthy/corporate tax cuts. He is not for “the people”…”

        If you guys are right, and if Milo Yiannopolous is also right, the movement that Trump brought to light will come up with the genuine article next time. It will not roll over and die just because the guy who rallied them turned out to be a fake. Americans have shown they have had enough of establishment candidates; now the question is whether they can get a real anti-establishment one, if Trump turns out not to be that. I am reserving my judgement until actual policy enactment over a period of time proves this one way or the other. I, and I think tens of millions of Americans, no longer believe what establishment puppets say, whether it was about Trump’s deplorability before the election, or now, his alleged bait-and-switch to come.

      • Robert Mugabe has supposedly never drank..
        Trumps vice is his ego. Or specifically his outsized inverted ego / intelligence ratio.

      • +1 Phil – The landscape shift going in is so much more than just Trump, he is a focal point currently.

        I have no idea what Trump will do, but can people be real for a second? What are we really talking here – oligarchs vs the puppets of oligarchs?? Clinton would have had no choice but to install whatever piss weak career politician puppet into various positions as per all the favors she owed(owes? lol).

        And look at the loser leaving office currently kicking and screaming the entire way out. What has he achieved? A catalyst to one of the largest humanitarian crisis ever currently decimating Europe for a goal he has not even managed because he has been outplayed? That sure was a steep cost to fail. Racial divides set back to the 60s? Brilliant! The list goes on….

  4. There’s your answer David. The twisted logic of the conspiracy theorist that says it’s better to elected a complete lunatic (Trump, Hanson…) and blow up the system and perhaps the world than elect a less than ideal mainstream candidate … and I’ve gotta say MB has been encouraging this kind of thinking for the past 5 years.

    • My answer? We never supported Trump for this very reason. In fact, I never stopped calling his local offshoot the “Loon Pond” and do so again today. Yet here you are, little snowflake, busy putting me down instead of celebrating on the other post.

      We’ve maintained a position right in the reasoned liberal centre while the rest of you have been doing backflips all over the place.

      Get over yourself, Lorax. You want change yet won’t take responsibility for it when it happens.

      • It’s entirely possible to take Lorax’s position on this post, and celebrate the other post.

        Isn’t it?

        PS the other post is grand!

      • I didn’t say you supported Trump, I know you didn’t, but the MB eco-system is now infested with Hansonites, nut jobs and conspiracy theorists, and you haven’t done much to discourage that.

      • Nobody else here is called David.

        Anyway, yes, you’ve had to move and share your space a little. But you need to engage it not withdraw to your Byron Bay fortress of solitude.

        The debate here is prevent polarisation.

      • While I agree with HnH in that we should engage in debate I draw the line at those that will debate using one-liners that go right against scientifically proven facts or basic human rights/values. And no, that does not mean I do not like hearing things that go against my own ideas. I don’t mind being proven wrong via solid argumentation and evidence.

        I agree with Lorax that this site has been flooded with nutters (referring to various commenters). MB is drowning in the Loon Pond.

        Debate requires reason and ethics. Both have been in decline since the early days of MB.

      • The debate here is prevent polarisation.

        Polarisation already happened – many to most regular commenters to the left of MB’s stated position have vanished, and actual debate has also largely been replaced with people in competition to see how stridently they can restate the same views.

      • To some extent we are restricted by what comes in. The polarisation is real, yes, so it’s come here too. And that serves a purpose no? Shows them to be nuts.

        It’s largely restricted to political posts.

      • The strident loon pond one-upmanship is only on the political posts, agreed, but when commenters have absented themselves they’re absent from all posts.

      • Actually HnH, I suspect that what has happened is the following:

        There are some sites like Catallaxy that have become a haven for these people. Ok, good.
        Their discourse is so uncivil that everyone else leaves.
        They discover they are baying at the moon, as nobody else is there to listen.
        They cast round for other sites that are being listened to.
        They then repeat the process.

      • @ The Lorax. I’m afraid you’re so right. I’ve commented on it before.

        H&H, thanks for all the great work, but if you’re looking for someone to engage and debate with climate-change deniers and people who post links to InfoWars I’ve got better things to do. Sometimes, more frequently now, this comments thread looks more like something from ZH. Or worse.

      • Not sure it is due to polarisation. A lot of the commentary is just incoherent, scattergun noise, leading into 100 different directions. At least with 3d for example I can understand his perspective and what motivates it, even if I disagree with it.

      • Yes, lets turn the place into a leftist kindegarten. In fact, what ‘conspiracy theorist infestation’ – that’s the last thing that comes to mind when I think of MB. What is a nutter? And who cares if the odd one posts a comment – its generally entertaining. Hansonites -again that is a political reality like it or not. This is a relatively tame and intelligent comments section but for the first time some of the righteous are getting their ideas challenged and the intellectual paucity of the righteous’ responses aren’t cutting it. I’d stay away too.

      • It frustrates me to hear whining and sulking from the left. The struggle is real and I fear we will lose this struggle to a motivated and relentless right, irrespective of it’s perceived intellectual inadequacies. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the epitome of the current weakness of the left. Sanders couldn’t make it past first base… Trump hit a home run.

    • Trump is not a lunatic. He is a very good liar. The policies he announced during the election are not totally horrible, the issue is that he just said them to get elected, and won’t implement any of them.
      The problem with Hillary is that she is a bad liar.

      • I’d say he’s not a liar – he’s a bullshitter (“On Bullshit” – Harry Frankfurt).

        Reason being a liar cares about the truth (as they deliberately seek to misrepresent it) but a bulllshitter does not – they just say what others want to hear while making themselves sound important.

    • Zactly,
      Trump has 30 years experience in “blowing up the world” with blood on his hands to the elbows and Hilary just got off weaning and is more innocent than a newborn.

      • Please… the amount of dead bodies trailing the Clinton machine, you’d have to be actually retarded to call it a coincidence. Mrs Clinton is no 69 year old baby.

      • There are some here who still believe it’s all a giant conspiracy/smear against Honest Abe, I mean Hillary. Couldn’t be sure.

    • Lorax,

      How is that slow melt going? Your preferred approach, because according to you doing anything more radical than doing nothing is to be a loony crashnik, saw house prices soar after 2013.

      The problem for the centrists is that they keep losing the debate because they dont understand that fundamental reform is required not just tinkering around edges.

      And by fundamental reform this is the sort of thing I am talking about.

      Nothing scary – just reversing some serious flawed public policy choices of the last hundred years.

      Fundamental reform does not mean crashing the economy but it does require serious action.

      You will not get a slow melt unless you rewire the refrigerator.

      Trump is making that clear.

      Whether the handwringing centrists understand that is another question entirely.

      • A really interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

        Can you add a TLDR callout at the top, maybe a few paras/dot points to make it more shareable and consumable for the masses? Would like to share.

        The change in font is jarring.

        Love the jacaranda and Louvre!


      • Cheers,

        I will do a TLDR.

        Yes the mysteries of the font and wordpress are something i need to sort out.

        That is an actual photo taken in the Sydney Botanical Gardens. Sadly the pyramid has now been destroyed.

      • The slow melt isn’t happening because the Turnbull government has done nothing to dampen house prices. If you want a crash, I hope you’re prepared for mass unemployment, mass human suffering and moving back home with Mum & Dad. Ask an American how the Great Recession worked out for them.

      • “…The slow melt isn’t happening because the Turnbull government has done nothing to dampen house prices….”

        So what is the something that meets the Lorax criteria for doing ‘something’ yet will not crash house prices and the economy?

        The problem is that a ‘slow melt’ is not possible without radical change.

        Your prescription of doing nothing ‘ radical’ is the very thing that will result in a crash.

      • Jumping jack flash

        “…the Turnbull government has done nothing to dampen house prices.”

        and they wont because the debt bubble – secured to house prices – is what the economy is.
        A slow melt or a crash will have the same effect, a shrinking of the debt bubble and a shrinking of the economy.
        This is a recession.

        Unless, of course, there is something else to take its place when either scenario occurs. A slow melt would certainly be less jarring.
        You can’t depend on the private sector to be our saviour here because there is no (quick and easy) money to be made except through playing the debt bubble game. Instead, the government must take control to create some kind of national income-generating operations, initially at a massive loss that can be mitigated only through resolve, determination, and nationalism.

        In other words, get working for your nation you lazy, greedy bastards instead of sitting on your swollen arses waiting for someone to hand you a debt mountain!

        not directed to anyone in particular, of course.
        And I’m clearly not charismatic enough for anyone to start working because I said anything.
        But, hopefully you get the idea.

    • I’m not sure why everyone thinks Trump is a lunatic? Why, explain in detail? Also the whole Hanson thing has been correctly identified by HnH as a response of none of the majors tackling the immigration issue in Australia. Everyone knows Hanson is a racist, but they are willing to overlook that, because like Merkel in Germany the LNP and Labor just bury their heads in the sand.

  5. The hope I have is that the same people who gave Obama a peace prize are scared of Trump.

    I figure they were Krugman level wrong the first time and they’re probably Krugman level stubborn, so they’re probably wrong again.

    If his foreign policy achieves just a few of these:

    * Peace treaty with Russia (this implies acceptance of a multipolar world)
    * NATO & other nations weaned off the tit
    * No new interventions or attempted regime changes
    * Withdrawal from several current theatres
    * Closure of many bases

    I’ll consider it a success. I don’t care if he fucks up internally.

    • fair enough, but he can’t blow off mainstreet entirely and he aint bullet proof when it comes to established vested interests wanting their usual.
      The GOP congress won’t be rubberstamping Trump initiatives..think shit fight

    • According to people like TA, Lorax and HnH those are the policies of a lunatic. I will be popping champagne if he can gut the CIA and rebuild it for what it was intended.

  6. Anyone who thinks Trump is better then having Hilary for president is seriously needs a check with reality.

      • You could both be right of course. Clinton perhaps wasn’t going to make things better but Trump could make them worse.

      • Nope, not the voting, as it is different candidates each time.
        Well… perhaps the names have been a superficial change in the last several decades and you were right (hence the election participation numbers)… until it came to vote for a pig on the heat or a castrated orangutan.
        Pigs are nice on a spit.

    • “Anyone who thinks Trump is better then having Hilary for president is seriously needs a check with reality.”

      Why don’t you elaborate why? Tell us your arguments as to why you believe this? Domestic and Foreign policy please. I don’t want to hear about how he hurt your feelings or is misogynistic! Stick to the stuff that matters!

  7. People are surprised that a slick salesman has put one over on them? I keep telling trumpers they’ve been sold a dud. Still, at least he’s shaken the establishment.

    • I don’t believe the U.S. Voters were hoping for a savior when voting for Trump. They recognise their collective impotence and have no illusions that anything is going to change. They just want the degeneration of their standards of living to slow down. In Oz that means switching parties often enough that they don’t get a chance to ruin the country too quickly. Now that the major parties are colluding there is no choice left but the outsider Hanson.

      • It doesn’t work that way. Switching party often just means the team that just got kicked out have little incentive to improve.

        The only solution is to vote for the least evil. It establishes a baseline that tells the other party they must surpass to have a shot. Just switching parties when you are not happy tell the other guys they can just whip up a frenzy. Finally demand honesty from politicians, don’t just say they are all as dishonest as each other. There is a huge difference between a politician who lies in line with the average person and one that lies just about everything.

    • People are surprised that a slick salesman has put one over on them?

      Makes sense – every product Trump has ever put his name to has fallen well short of the sales talk, and often been absolute rubbish, yet people keep coming back for more. Let’s just hope his presidency is a bit less rubbish than Trump U.

    • So we ran from one wolf in sheep’s clothing to another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Depressing if true and I’m open to the possibility it may well be. Can the Shillary bots say the same? …

      • Pick two candidates the other side will hate, accuse anyone who occupies the middle to be vile and who supports the other side….you are either with us or against us.
        A thick wedge has been driven through the country and the world, better to divide the country fully than have the people meet in the middle, they will find common ground which could be dangerous.

  8. proofreadersMEMBER

    Unless the Trump Presidency creates at least one USD trillionaire, it will be an abject failure.

    • Did you mean “to continue to make at least one trillionaire” or more aptly said “0.1 percenter” every year?

  9. Trump was never going to “drain the swamp”, it was nothing more than a bait line delivered by a showman and it worked.

  10. I’m completely blown away how a huge proportion of people all over the world look to TRUMP as their leading savior. All across forums, youtube etc his name is thrown around with 100% assurance that he’s going to solve their problems. Way too much projecting. Oligarchs win again (as usual).

    • Unwarranted optimism and euphoria usually follows a horrifying event
      (e.g. yet another Clinton, and its legacy, in the office)

      • I remember watching Obama get elected on the TV at the pub and people were crying with hope and glee. So much for hope and glee 8 years later.

    • Most people have no interest in the truth. They want to be misled because it’s often easier to swallow.
      The Michael Burry character at the end of the big short had a good quote which is sort of apposite:
      “People want an authority to tell them how to value things. But they chose this authority not based on facts or results. They chose it because it seems authoritative and familiar”

  11. SchadenfreudeKing

    How long will it take for his base to work out that the only thing they’ll be getting is ‘trickle down’ from corporate tax cuts, and cuts to health and education programmes?

    There is a possibility that real infrastructure spend will bring benefits – we shall have to wait and see if it happens, and if it does, will it be an orgy of pork and cronyism?

    I’m not hopeful – effective infrastructure spend mostly needs to be done by the states, and I suspect The Donald ain’t going to be keen on surrendering any control to them.

    Tokenism, pork, and cronyism will be the order of the day on Federal infrastructure spend, if it happens at all.

    At least California is big and wealthy enough that it can largely ignore the Feds, and make up for their deficiencies at the state level. Perhaps at this point shrinking the US Federal government to little but defence and monetary policy is a good move.

  12. To be fair, Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet. Having said that, by voting for him, the electorate was making a loud statement. Whether he does anything to “make America great” isn’t really the issue. The point was made that the masses are not happy with the status quo, and hopefully, there will be a similar shake-up in Australia.

  13. He should have clarified that drain the swamp was an end to career politicians. It would have the same if not more impact. A career politician is more hated than real estate agents and that says something.

  14. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Loving this thread. A bunch of complaints about how MB is over-run by [insert right wing identifier] and yet 95% of comments are slamming Trump on an article slamming Trump. Gee whiz guys, you are totally being frozen out.

    I read heaps of things on here that I don’t like or agree with but I don’t spend all my time complaining (or the endless threats of unsubscribing). Just ignore them for godsake. Clearly those complaints are a call for censorship otherwise what do you expect H&H or LvO to do? The Australian penchant for censorship is very real and aside from our housing obsession one of the least attractive parts (IMO) of our culture.

    One of the best things about macrobusiness to me is it is one of the few forums in Australia where there’s a genuine sense of freedom to comment. That is in my experience extraordinarily rare in Australia. If people are so threatened by comments then maybe post a response with a bit more gravitas than ‘wah wah the comments here are over-run with Hansonites’ or go back to Daily Life on Fairfax (you know, if they allowed people to actually comment on what they write).

      • Though to be fair JC half-baked fruit loop comments like your wanting to “gut” the CIA hardly warrants much analysis. You seriously think any American adminstration would “gut” a primary intelligence agency like the CIA? Yeah fuck it, why not, let them get rid of the spooks and while they’re at it let them abolish the US Navy as well, no need for military outreach in Fortress America. Do you have any other well considered suggestions you think worthy of analysis?

      • Gut the current leadership and direction triage. The CIA is intended to provide actionable intel for the POTUS, not to act on it independently.

    • Agree strongly. Thanks for pointing out Australia’s proclivity for censorship. Neoteny – the the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal.

    • Agree – thanks to Obama/DNC/Merkle/Eurocrats/Media so on having a huge waaah that they are losing control of global group-consciousness – the pressure has been applied and YouTube/Facebook are implementing modifications to their algorithms which is already having an immediate impact – e.g. limiting the reach of conservative/alternative pages/videos.

      I note VICE is now also disabling comments entirely as they cannot handle the heat/dissent. Gotta ensure that leftist echo chamber remains intact.

      How many are aware of the Berlin attack outside of a ‘Truck killed people’ – e.g. do you know about the deeds of the Truck driver that potentially saved many people while being stabbed?

      Censorship / controlled narrative is everywhere and it is disgusting.

    • FiftiesFibroShack

      “I read heaps of things on here that I don’t like or agree with but I don’t spend all my time complaining (or the endless threats of unsubscribing). Just ignore them for godsake. Clearly those complaints are a call for censorship otherwise what do you expect H&H or LvO to do?”

      The whinging and threats of unsubscribing have caused the bloggers to censor themselves to some extent; LvO admitted as much a while back.

      • adelaide_economistMEMBER

        I’m sure they have (censored themselves) and that in itself is a sad state of affairs and recall some of the specific comments by Leith in response to several posters. I personally struggle to take some seriously when their own responses resort to personal insults and, yes, racism in the very same thread where they demanded action from H&H/LvO. I don’t for a second feel surprised at the hypocrisy but it’s still tiresome.

        I get that we all (myself included obviously) get excited about political-economy (and after all, that is what economics ultimately is about) and it’s clear from the comment numbers on articles about politics rather than, say, commodity updates, what excites peoples’ interest.

        There’s a very wide spectrum of views on here and it’s inevitable that some offense could be taken (and there is of course a broader context of the legal system and social norms at play) but at the end of the day, macrobusiness would be a shadow of itself if the comments were turned off, political stories were axed or comments were strongly moderated.

        It seems to me that this is where this pressure to go and I wouldn’t enjoy seeing it happen.

    • How did that Janis Joplin song go….”freedoms just another word for nothing left to loose”… as I see it Aussies are coming to terms with the reality that economic freedom means losing their houses so they’re willingly accepting/imposing censorship on any idea that even suggest they’ve screwed the pooch….Aussies will willing to give up a lot before they give up on houses. I expect that reason and truth will just be early the causalities in this battle, I’d also expect the plebs will need time to go full retard before accepting that house prices are the root cause of this unfolding disaster, they’ll only be free to see the truth when they’ve got nothing left to loose.

  15. Mine-bot wants to know if he’s been sin-binned or banned, cheers (also Peter Fraser can’t work why keeps bothering)

  16. He’s drained the swamp of the Washington establishment and installed his own cronies who are of questionable character. Like Gawd, he is populating the new world with images of self; pardon the ecclesiastical reference. What did we expect? This is his creation, not ours. He barged his way through the front door, trashed the place and disposed of the sycophants. But this is what he promised while hedging it with weasel words about America being great again and politicking the rust belts whilst bouncing the witch around the joint. Let’s be patient and see what comes from this rearrangement of the deck chairs. The die is cast, so no point in baying at the moon about it – report the news, don’t create it.

  17. It would have been just as corrupt with Hillary, just with different people excepting Goldman Sachs, and that was pretty obvious throughout the election so there’s nothing to worked up over on that front. The only thing Trump had going for him into the election that he came across as less likely to start WW3 and that is the long and the short of it. Not saying that he won’t but that the probability is lower.