Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Dem Strategy, Possible AG Candidate, Dollar Contradictions and Wall St. Celebrates

If you think civil rights laws have gone too far, you'll be excited to know that Jeff Sessions is under consideration for Attorney General under Trump.  It was a while ago, and people change (sometimes) of course, so bear that in mind when you read this:

In 1981, a Justice Department prosecutor from Washington stopped by to see Jeff Sessions, the United States attorney in Mobile, Ala., at the time. The prosecutor, J. Gerald Hebert, said he had heard a shocking story: A federal judge had called a prominent white lawyer “a disgrace to his race” for representing black clients.

“Well,” Mr. Sessions replied, according to Mr. Hebert, “maybe he is.”

Meanwhile, Dems look like they may be settling on adopting the strategy of aligning with Trump on certain economic issues over which he might be pitted against conservatives in Congress.

Will this strategy work?  It certainly has its logic.  On the other hand, what are the odds that conservatives in Congress really will defy the agenda of a President from their own party?  Even if paid child leave and infrastructure spending are not traditional Republican priorities, will Paul Ryan and the rest of them really defy their own President on the grounds of ideology?  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  It may put Trump and the GOP in an awkward spot to the advantage of the Democrats, or it may leave the Democrats as bit players in this phase of history, as they arguably were until the tail end of the W. Bush administration.  We'll see.

This article concerning the challenges posed by a strengthening dollar is a tad pissy but is also quite short, informative, and worth your time.  Here's the crux of the matter in a nutshell (emphases added mine):

He has also pledged tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation. That set of policies has led markets to expect speedier economic growth and thus higher interest rates in coming years. That, in turn, is driving the value of the dollar higher on currency markets. Since Election Day, the dollar is up 2.6 percent against an index of six other major currencies. The value of the Mexican peso has fallen 10 percent against the dollar, a remarkable swing for the United States’ third-largest trading partner.

You don’t need to be an economist to see what that means: A pricier dollar makes it harder for American manufacturers to compete overseas; it gives an advantage to companies that locate operations elsewhere; and it will, all else being equal, tend to make the trade deficit higher rather than lower.

Finally for today: it's looking like Trump's administration is going to more or less be run by Wall St.  That might come as a shock to those who thought Donald Trump was going to clean up Washington, kick the bums out, be his own man and "drain the swamp".  In relevant part:

“You would have to go back to the 1920s to see so much Wall Street influence coming to Washington,” said Charles Geisst, a Wall Street historian at Manhattan College. “It’s the most dramatic turnaround one could imagine. That’s the truly astonishing part.”

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