Tag Archives: Treasury Department

Mnuchin joins Trump casualty list

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin might have thought he was indestructible, that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t possibly — throw him under the proverbial bus.

Then came Trump’s bizarre video tweet and his rejection of a COVID-19 relief package that Mnuchin negotiated with congressional Democrats and Republicans on Trump’s behalf.

He now has joined the list of Cabinet officers who have fallen out of favor with a president who first picked them, then turned on them. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Jeff Sessions all have been booted or quit because they no longer could work for Trump. I haven’t even counted the multiple White House chiefs of staff and national security advisers.

Mnuchin’s betrayal might be the most bizarre of all.

As the Washington Post reported: The president’s denunciation of the agreement represented a stunning public broadside against his own treasury secretary, who for four years loyally shielded the president’s tax returns, endured repeated presidential tirades in private, and defended even Trump’s most incendiary and contradictory remarks. Through it all, Mnuchin had emerged with the unique ability to walk a tightrope between Trump and congressional leaders, serving as an emissary in difficult negotiations. That all ended on Tuesday, when Trump posted a video on Twitter ridiculing the agreement.

Mnuchin’s loyalty to Trump could end with painful setback as president shreds stimulus deal (msn.com)

The deal called for $600 payments to Americans; it extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans; it keeps the government running past next Tuesday. Mnuchin packed Trump’s load for this deal while working with members of Congress. Now he’s been stabbed deeply in the back.

Wow! That’s all I have at this moment.

Trump’s chaotic end as president could possibly inflict an enormous number of casualties. I do not include Secretary Mnuchin among them. They would include millions of Americans who are waiting on some form of relief from their government. Now comes this astonishing rejection by the man elected president of the United States — the guy who took an oath to protect Americans — of a deal his team negotiated on his behalf.

Can there be anything more disgusting than this? Sure, but holy smokes, man! This really stinks!

Steve Mnuchin now stands as the latest example of how Donald Trump measures loyalty. It goes only in one direction. This individual does not return it … to anyone!

Mnuchin takes one for the team?

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has come clean … I guess.

He told CNN’s Jake Tapper today that putting Donald Trump’s name on the stimulus checks that are coming to millions of American households was, um, his idea.

Yep. Mnuchin said he brought up the idea of putting Trump’s name on the checks, given that the Treasury boss’s signature already is on the checks. Trump’s name appears on the memo line.

Hmm. I’m trying to digest that one.

It looks to me as if Mnuchin is throwing himself in front of the proverbial bus on that one. My own belief since this matter came to light was that Trump wanted to put his name somewhere on the document as if to remind recipients — many of whom are, uh, voters — that the president is somehow responsible for the money that will land in people’s mail boxes soon. Trump is responsible for the relief coming in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m still waiting for someone on the Trump team to spill more beans, revealing who, indeed, came up with this nutty notion. You see, I consider Mnuchin to be a serious Trump toadie.

None of this really amounts to anything more than just idle gossip, except for the potentially political consequence of Trump’s name showing up on these government checks in what has been called an “unprecedented” event.

Thousand bucks to Americans? Thank you, Andrew Yang!

I truly cannot believe what I have been hearing today, that Donald Trump appears to be channeling a failed Democratic presidential candidate.

Businessman Andrew Yang campaigned for president promising to send all Americans a monthly stipend of $1,000; Republicans and even some Democrats blasted the idea as foolish. Yang ended his presidential campaign a few weeks ago.

Now comes the president of the United States pledging to send Americans a $1,000 payment to help deal with the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown many citizens out of work.

My head is spinning!

The handout will cost about $1 trillion. Where does the president get the money? Well, I guess the Treasury Department just prints it.

I do not understand where this is coming from.

The first order of the federal government’s business is to protect us from disease and other threats. Donald Trump was a bit slow to come around, but he is starting to sound like someone who finally gets it. I hope he stays the course on that matter.

Hospitals are understaffed and underequipped, though, in advance of what most experts say will be a serious surge in coronavirus illness. What are the feds doing in that regard? How are they going to assist state and local governments shore up the health care provisions that will be required to deal with that surge?

A thousand bucks in our pockets won’t do the job.

Don’t get me wrong. Americans should welcome the dough … but the long game still needs definition.

Even rich guys need a government hand, eh?

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is a mega rich fellow. He’s got more cash than he knows what to do with.

So, why does this guy ask the federal government to allow him to use a public airplane to jet him and his wife off on their honeymoon?

I probably shouldn’t even comment on this one. But now that I’ve opened this door, I’ll walk on through for just a moment.

The guy’s chutzpah is quite fascinating, don’t you think?

I mean, Mnuchin is worth about $500 million. That’s half a billion bucks, man! His wife, Louise Linton, got into a Twitter snit with a young woman who took her task after she boasted on social media about all the fashionable labels she wears. Sheesh, lady!

This little dust-up will fade away soon.

But I’ll just note that a government plane that would have jetted Secretary and Mrs. Mnuchin off to wherever they celebrated their marital bliss would have cost about $25,000 per hour.

I know that Donald Trump once said he prefers to surround himself with fellow rich people. He believes their wealth means they’re successful and that their success can transfer to sound public policy.

But, c’mon, Steve Mnuchin. Rich guys can afford to pay for their own jet plane rides to exotic honeymoon locales. Go ahead and show off your success, man … but just do it on your own dime — not mine!

Stay true to plans to put Tubman on the $20 bill

Hold on a second, Steve Mnuchin. Many of us thought the switch from Andrew Jackson to Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill was a done deal.

The U.S. secretary of the Treasury now says he’s thinking about it.


Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew got it done before he left office. He moved to take former President Jackson off the bill and replace it with Harriet Tubman, the heroic abolitionist who fought to end slavery in this country. It was hailed at the time of the announcement as historic for a couple of key reasons.

First, Tubman would be the first woman whose face would adorn U.S. currency. Second, and this arguably is the big one, she is the first African-American.

President Barack Obama signed off on the change. Many Americans cheered the change. Now it appears to be open for discussion.

“The No. 1 issue why we change the currency is to stop counterfeiting. So the issues of what we change will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes. I’ve received classified briefings on that. And that’s what I’m focused on for the most part,” Mnuchin said.

Is it just me or does that sound like he’s possibly tip-toeing around some secret issue?

I do hope Mnuchin isn’t backing away merely because this was an Obama administration initiative, or that the current president is seeking to curry favor with his “base,” which seems to detest anything associated with the name “Barack Obama.”

Tubman’s heroic efforts to end slavery should be honored. Meanwhile, Old Hickory owned slaves. Hmmm. One sought to end enslavement; the other was, well … you know.

Donald Trump offered his usual platitude during the 2016 campaign about Tubman. According to CNBC:

 I think Harrriet Tubman is fantastic.” He added: “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill.”

While Trump complimented Tubman, he said at the time that he didn’t agree with replacing Jackson on the denomination. “I don’t like seeing it. Yes, I think it’s pure political correctness. Been on the bill [Jackson] for many, many years. And, you know, really represented somebody that really was very important to this country.

If you can figure out what candidate Trump was saying, then you’re far smarter than I am — which likely isn’t saying much.

Back to my original point: Don’t derail this change in the currency, Mr. Secretary. You can figure out the counterfeiting/security angle while staying true to your predecessor’s pledge to  honor a true American hero.

Have we seen enough from Secret Service?

Isn’t the Secret Service supposed to be the elite of the elite? The cream of our national security apparatus? The individuals charged with protecting the Most Powerful Person on the Planet?

What in the name of Homeland Security is going on with these individuals?


Two more agents have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and taking their vehicle through an active investigation scene involving a bomb.

The Secret Service has a new director who was supposed to turn the agency around after it went through a series of shameful incidents involving disgraceful behavior and serious breaches of security at the White House.

Joseph Clancy hasn’t turned anything around.

The Secret Service used to be run by the Treasury Department. Since 9/11, it’s been handed over to the Department of Homeland Security. Did we hear of these kinds of screw-ups when Treasury was in charge? Maybe once in a while, but not with this kind of chilling regularity.

Any thoughts of returning the Secret Service to the Treasury Department? Well? Are there?


What gives with the Secret Service?

Every individual who’s ever run for president of the United States should expect the security detail assigned to guard the first family to be the best in the world at doing that job.

Not “one of the best,” but the very best. The tops. No. 1. The all-time champs.

The revelations about Omar Gonzalez bursting into the White House and then cavorting through the mansion before being caught by a security guard is troubling in the extreme.

Yes, these things have happened before. And yes, given that the Secret Service is populated by fallible human beings, there might be times when even the most secure network on the planet breaks down.

But this is frightening in the extreme?

Some heads needs to roll at the Secret Service.

Are you paying attention here, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, under whose command the Secret Service operates?

Julia Pierson heads the Secret Service. She needs to answer some serious questions about what went wrong. So does the individual who’s in charge of the White House security detail. To date, we aren’t hearing much from these individuals, as they cite an “ongoing investigation” as the reason for their relative silence.

I wouldn’t make so much of this matter, except that the Secret Service in recent years has been caught doing some highly unprofessional things — such as the episode about three years ago when agents were, um, enjoying the company of hookers in South America while doing security advance work for an upcoming presidential visit.

Now this. Omar Gonzalez not only broke through the perimeter but the knife-wielding intruder was able to penetrate deeply into the building.

Failure to secure the house where the first family lives is a disgrace.

Deficit plummets; cheers pending, yes?

Take a look at this report on the state of the current federal budget deficit.


It’s fallen to “only” $680 billion. I know that’s still a lot of money to be in the red. The government should be balanced. It’s not and it doesn’t look as though it’ll reach balance any time soon.

But the link also shows the trend the deficit has taken the past five years. It’s gone down — a lot.

It peaked at $1.4 trillion in 2009, when President Bush handed the keys to the White House to President Obama. It has done down a little each year since. However, at $680 billion, the deficit is down about 51 percent from its high-water mark, which suggests a significant improvement in the nation’s economic performance.

Of course, the cheering has been muted. The political climate in D.C. and in the nation won’t allow the Loyal Opposition to offer a good word on that. They still bemoan the sluggish job growth, the still-too-high unemployment rate (7.2 percent, also down from 10 percent four years ago) and other factors.

Indeed, some folks perhaps are going to suggest the federal budget sequestration — which kicked in automatic budget cuts — deserves some of the credit for the narrowing of the deficit. Maybe so.

I’m inclined to think the government’s stimulus packages had a hand in it as well, putting more people to work, generating more tax revenue for the Treasury and helping the nation inch back toward the balance it achieved in the second term of President Clinton’s administration.

I’m a deficit hawk. I don’t like spending money we don’t have in the bank. As the Treasury Department report notes, though, the deficit also comprises a shrinking percentage of the Gross Domestic Product — which is more good news.

I’m still waiting to hear the applause.