A curious line of attack directed at the president has developed in the last few days. Media outlets are criticizing Trump for hiring rich people to work for him.
The articles reporting this “phenomenon” are heavy with implied horror that rich people are so close to the seat of power in America. But what makes this narrative so silly is that there is no correlation between how rich someone is and how well he does his jobs. Why be concerned about the size of someone’s bank account when it’s the size of his brain that should matter?
President Donald Trump’s White House began releasing personal financial information for scores of his staff members Friday night, offering the clearest view yet into the financial backgrounds of the wealthiest administration in modern history.
Reports made available via the White House website detailed some of the sprawling real estate holdings of the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and at least $254 million in assets belonging to Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president who’s now Trump’s top economic adviser.
Other disclosures shed light on the amounts earned by some political operatives during Trump’s campaign, including White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior counsel Kellyanne Conway, and chief strategist Steve Bannon, the leading architect of the president’s surprise victory.
With a combined net worth of more than $12 billion, Trump’s senior staff members, including his Cabinet, came to government with a far more expansive range of investments than prior administrations. Federal ethics officials are reviewing their disclosures and helping to develop plans for how to avoid financial conflicts of interest. In many cases, those plans involve divestiture — and both Cohn and Kushner have previously revealed their plans to sell substantial holdings.
You can’t traverse the halls of Congress without tripping over a millionaire every other step and these guys are worried about White House staffers? There is far more opportunity for a congressman to enrich himself at the taxpayers’ expense than there is for a White House staffer to increase his stock holdings as a result of advice he gives the president. Is Cohn going to give economic advice that will increase his stock positions? Is Kushner going to advise his father in law to have the government purchase real estate from him?
The liberal mistrust of wealth is based partly on jealousy but mostly on ignorance. Most of Trump’s millionaires are self-made men. Some were born rich, others not so much. Liberals are incapable of recognizing individual achievement unless it happens in an “approved” milieu like the arts or government service. Trump’s advisers don’t have to be poor or middle class to give advice that benefits all Americans. That’s a myth spawned by the left to demonize the opposition and is not based on reality.
Here’s the bottom line: Liberal millionaires are ethical and good. Conservative millionaires are greedy and evil. Liberal millionaires only care about the little guy and would never, ever, ever do anything that smacked of self interest. Conservative millionaires need to be watched like a hawk by ethics boards to prevent them from walking out with the White House silver.
There may be some conflicts of interest. A White House aide who owns stock in defense contractors might recuse himself from discussions regarding weapons systems, but that would only be for the appearance of propriety. The question is: Why should he divest himself of that stock? Are we so concerned that he will give advice based on his own financial interest rather than what’s good for the country?
If he’s a conservative, apparently yes.