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All Calm in the Swamp

Drain or fill? Trump's answer starts to show...

Mr.TRUMP is still assembling his lieutenants for his triumphal march on Washington, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.

This week he chose Steve Mnuchin, a Goldman guy, as his Treasury secretary.

He will be the third US Treasury secretary from Goldman, following Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson. But Mnuchin is probably more Goldman than any of them. His father worked there. So did his brother.

Trump was supposed to "shake things up". He promised to "drain the swamp".

With only two months until the inauguration, there should be crying and gnashing of teeth on Capitol Hill.

You'd expect terror and panic up and down Connecticut Avenue. The Chevy Chase Club should be cleared out as the insiders run for the hills with their silver and their daughters.

But things are calm on the Potomac. The swamp critters show no sign of alarm. Instead, they seem to be collected and complacent, sure that no harm will come to them.

Maybe they know something.

Washington has seen new administrations come and go. The Republicans come in. The Democrats go out. One Goldman guy arrives. Another Goldman guy departs. The gators, snakes, and slugs have seen this show before. They've watched the reruns. And every time, the ending is the same...

No matter what happens to the rest of the country, the Parasitocracy on the Potomac grows richer and more powerful.

It has always been thus...thus will it always be.

Over on the Virginia side of the river – the most treacherous part of the swamp, where the "military-industrial complex" that President Eisenhower warned us about resides – the calm has turned into euphoria.

Realtors walk with a spring in their step; the market for McMansions in McLean is picking up. Bars in Alexandria are spilling out onto the brick sidewalks.

Happy days are here again.

Whatever else may happen with the arrival of the Trump team, the Virginia swamp people are sure to prosper.

Candidate Trump said "our military is a disaster." He also vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism"..."bomb the hell out of ISIS"...and "decimate al-Qaeda."

The president-elect has already pledged to spend more money on weapons, ships, and veterans' benefits.

No doubt his intentions are good. He wants to defeat the enemy and take care of the common foot soldier whose legs have been blown off in some godforsaken hellhole.

But that is not the way of the swamp.

Trump says he will make up for the extra spending by "cutting waste."

But there is no waste in this bog. Every penny spent serves a purpose – to enrich the swamp people. From their point of view, the more "waste" the better.

Little of the "wasted" money will go to the victims of war – neither the amputees nor the displaced families. Instead, it will disappear into the pockets of the retired generals, the contractors, the cronies, and the lobbyists.

The US stock market has already set new records in anticipation. Northrop Grumman of West Falls Church, VA, and SAIC of McLean, VA, should do well.

Ship maker General Dynamics, also of West Falls Church, VA, may do even better. Trump says we should have 350 ships.

"Damn the drones...Full speed ahead. If World War II breaks out again, we'll be ready for it!"

Yes, dear reader, Donald Trump has not even left his New York headquarters, but the real winner of the election of 2016 is becoming clear...

It's the deepest part of the Deep State.

Poor Mr.Trump wants to be a winner. But that's not the way of the swamp, either.

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for 16 years. The war in Iraq – though pronounced "won" twice – is still going on after 13 years.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" came to an end in 2010. It was replaced by "Operation New Dawn", which was later superseded by "Operation Inherent Resolve".

In the lowlands of Fairfax County, VA, the slime-coated critters have a sense of humor; it should be called "Operation Eternal Resolve", they joke.

US forces in Iraq are on their ninth commander; none of the previous eight could wrap it up.

It is almost as though they never intended to win. And why should they?

They know that the longer the war goes on, the more money flows into the swamp...and stays there.

New York Times best-selling finance author Bill Bonner founded The Agora, a worldwide community for private researchers and publishers, in 1979. Financial analysts within the group exposed and predicted some of the world's biggest shifts since, starting with the fall of the Soviet Union back in the late 1980s, to the collapse of the Dot Com (2000) and then mortgage finance (2008) bubbles, and the election of President Trump (2016). Sharing his personal thoughts and opinions each day from 1999 in the globally successful Daily Reckoning and then his Diary of a Rogue Economist, Bonner now makes his views and ideas available alongside analysis from a small hand-picked team of specialists through Bonner Private Research.

See full archive of Bill Bonner articles

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