Why some of Trump’s appointees are likely to be highly effective

That is my latest Bloomberg column, and here are some short excerpts:

If the political default is not much change in the first place, introducing more variance into the policy process may shake up at least some parts of the status quo. There will be plenty of gaffes, dead ends and policy embarrassments along the way, but don’t confuse those with a lack of results. An incoming administration that does not mind embarrassment is a bit like a sports opponent who has little to lose. It is easy enough to say that neurosurgeon Ben Carson is unqualified to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but it would be a mistake to dismiss his potential influence…

One rumor is that Sylvester Stallone has been discussed in conjunction with chairing the National Endowment for the Arts. That suggestion might meet with mockery in some quarters, but Stallone’s ability to draw attention to the agency and its mission might prove more important than whatever shortcomings he would bring to the job…

…Under one model of the federal government, narrowly defined administrative competence is most required at the all-important departments of Treasury, State, and Defense, and arguably the Trump picks for those areas are consistent with that view. (They are Steven Mnuchin, a financier, Rex Tillerson, a corporate executive and James Mattis, a military man, respectively.) For many of the other picks, there’s a case for taking more chances.

…I interpret Trump’s nominations as a sign of an intelligent and strategic process, and his choices may prove surprisingly effective in getting things done. Whether you like it or not.

Do read the whole thing.

Comments

Well that should generate some critical comments.

The Bloomberg post is generating a little more than half as many comments as at MR, but pound for pound, they are far more amusing. Has anyone told them about the Electoral College results?

And I wasn't disappointed. Here's looking at you OlegMR!

OlegMR?

After electing Donald J. Trump as President, what could go wrong in the US? How could any of his appointees be worse? I don't get it. Thanks!

His appointees could be worse by having an interest in government, which DT does not seem to. Then e.g. they might take a wrecking ball to the government, destroying our national credit by exploding the budget to pay crony capitalist welfare queen companies, while slashing the social safety net and starting unnecessary wars.

Even a president-- or king, since that's what DT apparently thinks he is-- who is interested in government, can't do everything himself. According to Michels' Iron Law of Oligarchy, all forms of government end up being oligarchies. It matters a great deal who the oligarchs are and what they do.

Lots of people voted for Trump because they wanted the system destroyed. Too late now to tell them: Be careful what you wish for.

What's our "national credit"? Where is it housed? Do you mean our credit rating? Do you mean our international reputation?

If, as I suspect, you are worried about our national balance sheet, and urging that we don't bankrupt ourselves, that's a new one from you.

OlegMR pretty much encapsulates the concept of living in a bubble. He's too set in his convictions to even contemplate that he might be wrong.

If by OlegMR you mean the only person who had commented thus far when you referred to him, he has already been proven correct. This article did generate some critical comments.

Why refer to people here by their previous handle? Since Turnaround is fair play, it would be fair enough at this point for him to now turn around and call you some name that you do not prefer-- perhaps an insulting one.

And why confuse Prior, and me, and probably other people, who end up trying to figure out who you are referring to? Is a person's prior handle something that you have to insist that they be stuck with forever? Why so? Is that because you are not really interested in ideas or discussion, but in finding particular individuals to consistently keep insulting over and over, because they have disagreed with you at some point in time?

I know that we live in the era of bashing politics. But that's not really a healthy way to be. Would you consider beginning to look at the possibility of discussing ideas, rather than keeping track of which individuals you desire to bash repeatedly?

LOL. Let's hear some ideas you want to discuss. But you may not use phrases like 'crony capitalist welfare queen' and 'old and sick people roaming the streets' and 'fake news'. If you can't manage that, it's hard to discuss ideas.

As opposed to a man plagued by self-doubt like Donald Trump, I guess...

Is it just me or does Tyler market in unpredictable opinions?

Having an unpredictable opinion will always get more attention.

Trump support gets huge numbers of views in blogs and articles-- both from those who love him and those who hate him.

Also, maybe Tyler is trying to get a position in Trump's administration, given how pro-Trump his blogs are lately. Maybe he and Scott Adams will work together cheer leading the administration, now from the inside.

Maybe. Here's an even crazier theory: maybe Tyler wrote an article based on some thoughts he had. Insane, right?

"Maybe. Here’s an even crazier theory: maybe Tyler wrote an article based on some thoughts he had. Insane, right?"

I don't always agree with Tyler, but I've always thought his posts are sincere. He's willing to write something that might be wrong without it making it partisan.

"maybe Tyler wrote an article based on some thoughts he had"

Could be.

I am waiting to see if he ends up with a job in the Trump administration, given the pro-Trump nature of the thoughts he has recently been having.

@Jill: it's ok to be a liberal and post here but it's really not ok to be stupid and post here.

Dammit, I didn't realize it was Jill. My bad.

MITOVPT, you shan't get any more replies from me until you change your handle again and I'm slow on the uptake. Carry on.

Smarter-than-thou contrarianism is the economist's vice.

But . . . but . . . but . . . we wanted Trump to burn it all down!

(Just hating it when people you disagreed with aren't as stupid as you thought. It turns out that anti-Trump people don't literally want to burn down America or sell it to Russia ...)

Bobby Valentine, floated for Ambassador to Japan, is one of those "perhaps more effective than people might think" names. He worked for seven years in Japan, speaks Japanese fluently, and helped with relief efforts after the Tōhoku earthquake. I think he could be considerably more qualified than the last two named to the position (which generally does not get a professional, though it has gotten high ranking ex politicians along with the fundraising crowd.) He certainly has a much bigger connection to Japan than most US ambassadors to Japan.

+1......Caroline Kennedy didn't set the bar too high

He offered Verne Lundquist the Sweden ambassadorship on national television during the Army Nave game. That's even more outside the box--imagine the amazing work Verne would do!

"imagine the amazing work Verne would do!"

An ambassador mainly gives speeches and hosts parties. They don't do any detailed negotiations nor make policy.

I imagine a trained and experienced professional announcer would be quite good at the speech making part at least.

But snark away.

Hillary for Ambassador to Haiti!

Another sore winner. You can't be happy that your team won all 3 branches of government. All you can do is compulsively bash the team that your team defeated. Do you even like Trump at all? Or did you simply support Trump and the GOP, only because DT gave you permission to do what you love most in life-- to bash Democrats?

At least Tyler takes a breather every once in a while to cheer lead Trump, rather than compulsivley bashing Dems almost all of the time-- unlike some commenters here.

If your team won the World Series, but you couldn't be happy or celebrate, because you were obsessed with constantly bashing the team they defeated instead, people would say you were nuts. And they'd be right. And the same is true of politics, even though people don't seem to realize that yet.

Why bother changing posting names when the monotonous idiocy of the posts immediately gives you away?

You prefer the term "handle" for these character strings.

Very apt.

Tools have handles.

Yes, I am sure that anyone who is not a Right Wing believer of fake news from Fox news, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Drudge, Alex Jones etc., must seem like a "tool" to you. But fake news believers are not "tools" at all in your very warped fun house mirror of life.

Pull yourself together, Sweetheart. I know that a delicate little hot house flower like you, must feel a very strong need for this and all Internet comment boards to be your very own little Safe Space-- your own Right Wing echo chamber, where no one is allowed to have Left of Center opinions. But so far, Tyler is not requiring an echo chamber here. So somehow you will just have to deal with it.

Thanks for insulting me, calling me a monotonous idiot and a tool. I know that I am speaking the truth when Right Wingers can not resist the urge to insult me, although they can't think of any serious counter-argument to what I have said.

You don't make any arguments to counter though.

Oh, what a wonderful retort. After I gave my arguments, you claim that I didn’t make any arguments to counter.

I explained exactly the behavior that was going on and why it is dysfunctional. But it went right over your head so it seemed like no argument at all to your tiny little head.

Honestly asking (no idea why), what arguments did you make in the post right above from 4:18PM? It's literally just insults. I would know I do that plenty, but I also sometimes present arguments.

Not only did we (sore winners) vote in all three (President Trump will pack the SC) Federal branches, the GOP owns most of the fiscally solvent states and President Trump carried 3,089 of the 3,141 counties in the USA.

This makes me less sore: The scam to threaten/cajole electors into subverting the will of their voters came to naught. Four Crooked (corrupt and incompetent) Hillary electors conscientiously voted for somebody competent and honest. Two Trump electors self-identified as faithless scum. So ends the heinous, anti-Constitutional faux putsch.

lol. Democrats haven't been this bat shit crazy since the Republicans took away their slaves.

It's been a very long time since the Democratic party was the racist one. Or the crazy one.

Yet another crazy Right Winger, addicted to compulsively bashing Democrats.

What's going on? I thought being a victim was the highest attainment possible in your world.

Heorogar

"lol. Democrats haven’t been this bat shit crazy since the Republicans took away their slaves."

Ouch!

They done gone crazy!

"If your team won the World Series, but you couldn’t be happy or celebrate, because you were obsessed with constantly bashing the team they defeated instead, people would say you were nuts. And they’d be right."

There is not a sufficiently strong "touche" for this.

If governing a republic were remotely as trivial as baseball, you'd have a point. As things stand, however, wanting to see the Clintons brought to justice is not sore winning.

You won the election. Can't stop yourself from saying how much you hate Clinton when the article is about Trump.

Bow, if the article were about Clinton, it would seem pretty much in place.

The article is about the guy who won, and you can't stop talking about how much you hate the loser.

Good sport much?

Libya. The Eastern part.

Snoop Dogg for Ambassador to Netherlands

Valentine lived in Japan from 2004 to 2009 before returning to the U.S. How can he be fluent after starting as a 54 year old and living there only 6 years?

Non-Japanese-speakers won't know and the fluent won't want to embarrass him.

You really believe that six years living in a country is not enough to learn its language?
I had heard that americans are bad at learning languages, but that sounds frankly preposterous.

Less about his language learning, more about the peculiarities of that particular situation. (Difficult language, relatively few non-native speakers, that culture's reluctance to criticize.)

Valentine never impressed anybody as a baseball manager. Maybe he can be more of a winner in the diplomacy field. He's a better communicator than that Kennedy woman.

You gotta have wa! Maybe he has wa!

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/04/18/books/book-reviews/gotta-wa-still-best-analysis-japanese-culture-seen-lens-sport/#.WFioEjQ76c0

Trump and his appointments may create the most perfect kakistocracy in the history of U.S. Presidential administrations.

All his nominees seem to be highly accomplished people. Are you referring to anybody in particular?

Trump is a New York-based real estate developer--not for the faint of heart--whose business is now the US government. I don't think we'll see any Michael "Browny" Brown's in his administration. It's just not how he thinks.

I would have more confidence in Mr. Trump if he stopped whining.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/810604216771284992

I don't remember The Gipper acting like such a loser.

Who are you responding to? Does that address either rich's or my point?

What are you? Some kind of Canadian?

I am saying I see that tweet as kakistocracy in action.

Who knows how Reagan may have used twitter. He certainly gave plenty of talks on the TV and utilized paid corporate speeches to promote his ideology.

Different times call for varied communication methods / tools

Yeah, we live in an era of bashing-- bashing done by thin skinned people who keep dishing it out, but they can't take it when it is done back to them. Trump has brought this practice to a crescendo. I agree with anon that this is not a good thing. We've never had a president who is this thin skinned before. Perhaps he should seek help from a competent counselor.

"We’ve never had a president who is this thin skinned before."

Well. except for the current one.

Obama does not tweet but he goes after his opponents with snide comments at his press conferences all the time.

At the White House Correspondents dinner in 2011, Trump was in the audience and Obama went after Trump [a private citizen then] hard and long. Some say its a big reason Trump ran.

That event was supposed to be a roast where people jibe each other. And Obama went after Trump after Trump had been spreading lies about Obama not having been born in the U.S. If Trump could dish out lies, the least one should be able to expect of him would be that he can handle the truth. But no, that's too much to expect of thin skinned Trump.

If Obama were thinned skinned at all, he would be dead by now, after all the racial slurs and all the lies that have been spread about him on Right Wing news and by various Right Wing politicians and pundits. But you didn't notice them. Why? Because you believe all the Right Wing fake news and conspiracy theories you get through Fox news, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Drudge, Alex Jones etc. Did you believe Obama wasn't born in the U.S.-- until Trump decided to stop lying about that and told you it was okay now to admit the truth?

" All his nominees seem to be highly accomplished people. Are you referring to anybody in particular?"

Some are highly accomplished at financial engineering and extracting wealth from working class Americans. Others are not so accomplished. Here's a partial list:

Mnuchin: IndyMac/OneWest crony capitalism corrupt
Cohen: Presided over the CDO scam that ushered in the Great Recession
Flynn: Incompetent fake newser
Sessions: Bible thumper, "voted twice against redeploying troops out of Iraq. He also voted against investigating awards to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan"
Bannon: Goldmanite, alt-right, Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated.
Ross: "king of bankruptcy", job outsourcer and former Rothschild guy
Friedman: Israel first Likudnik
DeVos: Would love to do away with public education and have taxpayers fund religious schools (Christian madrasas)
Perry: 3 things; wants to do away with the Energy Dept, mandated HPC vaccine for preteens, and I forgot the third thing

Pultocracy + idiocracy = kakistocracy

You'll be living in misery for the next four years. As one of my liberal friends said of the election 'I almost wish I voted for Trump because al the pompous leftists are going act even stupider than usual.'

rich is a good example of that.

Sucks to be you don't it rich? Couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

It's happening to all of us, Anon.

There is nothing pompous about what Rich said whatsoever. Just the facts, Anon, just the facts. Which apparently you are highly allergic to.

Sorry this board can't be your Safe Space and Right Wing echo chamber. You're just going to have to find a way to deal with that, honey.

Rich seemed to just coincidentally mention a disproportionate amount of Jews. I am tired of the anti-semitism on this website among leftists. It is time to ban Jill, anon, and Rich. If you don't fight the fascists, you are complicit in the Jewish holocaust. Take a stand against these awful bigots.

Is there some kind of mafia in NY real estate or something? Or ... why "not for the faint of heart"?

Get real. Trump's dad had a bunch of money, he bought low, got good rental income. Count all the people in that group you'll get a few Donald Trumps at the other end of it.

He's nothing special.

Anyways, there's no good reason to want the guy in the hot seat to do anything stupid.

You'd really need to ignore the past 8 yrs for that. And probably significantly more.

Thomas says: "Rich seemed to just coincidentally mention a disproportionate amount of Jews."

Congratulations Thomas, on being the first to post Godwin's law. You are proof positive, that "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

For you own edification, Thomas, I am neither a leftist nor a bigot.

I think an important factor is how many of these men have worked for a boss like Donald Trump and whether he is likely to get optimal outcomes from them. For the first time in his life, he will be forced to work with people who are richer and smarter than he is. What is the likelihood that he will be happy that they are being successful vs. being jealous (and forcing them out)? Will he encourage infighting to empower himself? In my experience, a bunch of superstar employees need a superstar manager to do well as a unit. I don't think this plays out in the Trump administration.

I doubt any of them are richer than he is, and he seems comfortable, as a CEO should be, in hiring people smarter than he is.

Funny thing is about the presidency - Clinton was touted as the smartest man in the room. He may have been most times, but I doubt all the time. Obama wanted the same and had to really dumb down his staff to get there. No matter who Trump hires, they'll a sort of dead cat bounce in quality of staff anyways.

'I doubt any of them are richer than he is'

Really? Are you using Trump self-value, or looking at some perhaps less objective scale, like this sort of slanted reporting - 'Trump is putting together what will be the wealthiest administration in modern American history. His announced nominees for top positions include several multimillionaires, an heir to a family mega-fortune and two Forbes-certified billionaires, one of whose family is worth as much as industrial tycoon Andrew Mellon was when he served as treasury secretary nearly a century ago.' https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/30/donald-trump-is-assembling-the-richest-administration-in-modern-american-history/

As that article notes, several of Trump's picks are likely worth considerably more than Trump, even if Trump can turn the presidency into a typical Trump success story. 'Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary is industrialist Wilbur Ross, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, according to Forbes.

Ross’ would-be deputy at the Commerce Department, Todd Ricketts, is the son of a billionaire and the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Steven Mnuchin, who Trump named to head the Treasury Department, is a former Goldman Sachs executive, hedge fund executive and Hollywood financier.

Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who was named as Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway. Her family has a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes. Elaine Chao, the choice for transportation secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.'

Of course, in our dawning post truth world, only those interested in failed paradigms could possibly deny that Trump is the richest man in human history, right?

"Of course, in our dawning post truth world, only those interested in failed paradigms-- like truth-- could possibly deny that Trump is the richest man in human history, right?"

Exactly right, Prior.

"Trump is a filthy rich billionaire so I hate him, and also he is a lot poorer than he says, maybe not even a billionaire, so I hate him, Also, Steve Bannon hates Jews, so I hate him, but he hires Jews, and let's face it, I moved to Germany to join the Reich, so I hate him for that too."

Rose colored Trump glasses there. And of course sh*t colored glasses when describing Obama, but what do I expect from most people on this board.

Time will tell.

Was replying to TMC there.

Not-fake news: Trump got 99.34% of his electoral votes confirmed today. Wild horses, fines and cudgels couldn't get Dems to vote for Dems.

There was plenty of vote suppression too, and closing of polling places in Dem areas, and purging of the voter rolls. Republicans did every kind of trick. And possibly electronic voting machine fraud. And still, HRC won the popular vote by a lot.

The only attempts at voter suppression against Electoral College delegates came from your gang. 99.34% of Trump delegates ignored them and did the right thing. Threats and penalties were needed to get out the Clinton vote. Nothing new, that's just how they roll.

If Jill wasn't such a Coward, she would have joined Jan, Barkeley Rossdurrr (in spirit, Good Lord, risk his delicate hands?!?!), and Yvette Felarca in threatening to murder Trump electors. Jill could have stopped the next Hitler but apparently Jewish and black lives don't matter enough to cowards like Jill.

Tribe,

Wailing and gnashing of teeth much? It's going to be a long
4 years for you - better save some energy for the kick.

8 years if Trump has even modest success

"Clinton was touted as the smartest man in the room. He may have been most times, but I doubt all the time."

His chief of staff famously observed that Clinton "never had an original thought in his life".

There is a difference between someone who is verbally quick and someone who is a deep thinker. Some people are both, to greater or lesser extents. My impression is that most politicians are verbally quick, and not so many are deep thinkers.

His chief of staff was probably just jealous. Both Clintons are a brilliant persons.

You've been outed here.

Again.

Time to change your current stupid name to a new stupid name.

Again

What do you mean I've been outed??!?!?!?! Only people who read fake news would believe that.

Maybe, but his judgment seems OK. Unless maybe you were offering him a blowjob in the oval office.

...."a bunch of superstar employees....."

This is precisely the point.

The issue is whether a "team of Bosses " can succeed.

"Many of them are people used to getting their way but will now have a boss to answer to - Trump - while navigating the sometimes frustrating and sprawling bureaucracy of the U.S. government. "

http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2016/12/16/trump-builds-team-bosses-to-shake-up-washington.html

"The issue is whether a 'team of Bosses' can succeed."

Perhaps you may wish to read 'Team of Rivals' by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Somehow they managed to win the American Civil War. That said, Trump ain't no Lincoln.

That's right, he is no Lincoln. The issue is not the superstars but their boss. A team of rivals is a disaster with the wrong person in charge.

If Trump keeps doing what he's signaling he wants to do, toning down the crazy (no Wall, no Jailed Hillary, no Trade War, no Muslim Ban) and instead being a typical tax cut and deregulate Rep with nothing to lose, he may surprise those of us who didn't want him as president. And besides, it doesn't matter what we wanted because he's the prez. Some of his voters, conversely, might be pretty mad but since when does Trump give a shit about them?

At the same time, isn't the apparent optimal scenario of a typical "tax cut and deregulate Rep" kind of modest when compared to some of the downside risk?

Sure it is, but this is what we have to deal with.

Yes, but my suggestion is that some of the establishment/nepotic picks don't really show an inclination to pursue some of the upside. So while Trump being a standard Republican would be very welcome given the downside risks, the fact that he is locking himself out of some of the non-standard upside (while very much leaving much downside open) is not an unambiguously good development.

Agreed. I'm just trying to stay positive.

Yes, and this is why I couldn't cast my vote for him.

Me neither, but again, the election is over and this is what we have.

"no Wall, no Jailed Hillary, no Trade War, no Muslim Ban": a trade war might be crazy but the rest look pretty rational to me.

Of course they do, sweetie.

Mexico has a wall on their southern border, but Mexicans are mostly brown and definitely beneath us enlightened liberals, so their wall isn't raceiiiissst.

Yes, from the Right Wing bubble, all of that looks "rational." It seems that to many people "rational" means" Libertarian or other Right Winger, who is a Dem basher and especially an Obama basher and a Hillary basher. Someone who believes all the fake news about Obama and Hillary-- which, if any of it were true, would certainly lead to them both being jailed.

Trump was the high-variance choice. I wouldn't have picked him, but now that we've got him, I'm trying to figure out and encourage the possibly big upsides and discourage the possibly big downsides.

Me too, but how can either one of us encourage or discourage anything he's going to do?

It's a shame the Reps couldn't have the same attitude with Obama. It's just as tiresome hearing the 'Trump is the devil/is incompetent/is totally unqualified/is the end of the nation' crowd as the 'Obama is the....' crowd. Even if parts of those complaints are correct, let's all try to make it work.

Well, please explain how non-billionaires are going to have any effect at all here on what he does.

Fair enough, I guess we should try to get on with our lives instead of repeating the same sad defeated posts on blogs. Since none of us have an effect on what he does, why do you post the same thing all day every day? You've made your point clear.

Because it seems like there ought to be a non-Right-Wing post or 2 on a board like this.

LOL, so why not 50, amirite?

"Because it seems like there ought to be a non-Right-Wing post or 2 on a board like this."

I think most of us would prefer a smart Left Wing poster, Instead of someone who just throws insults at everyone who doesn't agree with them.

It is a lousy argument to say "since some past criticism of X was deranged, any new criticism of Y will be deranged was well."

But some are riding that pony hard.

True, but it's also a lousy argument to say 'all criticisms of y are not deranged'. I wasn't invoking logic so much as decrying derangement on both sides. Trump has plenty wrong with him, but there are still deranged criticisms of him being made.

We are in a funny situation. No one in a forum like this will rise to defend, nay champion, Trump's screwy tweets, but many will say "look at all the derangement!

It is a fundimental asymmetry when you aren't really with Y, but don't like criticism of him either.

And yet here we are.

Again with the straw. Who said they don't like criticism of Trump (outside of the man himself)? Yeah he tweets like the idiot he is, but if that's the worst of it from Trump, stupid tweets, that's a win.

You should probably re-read your comment, to see who it really helps.

The Canadian Conservatives through their various names built a solid base of supporters and contributors by regularly poking fun at Liberals and the media. Sharp and nasty, many times amusing. It annoyed the Liberals and the press because it changed the narrative.

I fully expect Trump to continue doing the same things. It will drive all the serious people in the press and the right nuts. If he balances them with reasonable and competent action on policy issues, he will keep his opponents focussed on trivialities. And everyone will enjoy watching the various TV important people get their panties in a twist.

I think he realizes that there are two games to play. One is the media personality and constant chatter, the other is policy. I doubt Ryan and McConnell mind; they are smart enough to see Trump as a lightning rod for criticism and controversy leaving them to forward their agendas and legislation. It is potentially a structure for massive change and reform in the way government is structured in the US.

Or on the other hand this nastiness in Turkey could end up with nukes being lobbed around and Trump could turn into a war president navigating some extraordinarily dangerous times. An unhinged and oppositional press in that situation is probably good. In other words irrelevant.

That's basically how it went with Obama in the first term.

Good article. Interesting.

"... narrowly defined administrative competence is most required at the all-important departments of Treasury, State, and Defense.."

....and just how would one recognize such competence in those federal departments?

Average Americans would like "competent" departments to deliver a stable currency, balanced productive budgets, peaceful relations with other nations and no wars.... you know-- stuff our federal government never ever delivers.

The competence of the secretary of the treasury will be measured by the success of banks, whose profitability is the very most important thing on earth. Every sane person is happy with what seems to be low energy prices except Janet Yellen and the Fed, who are worried that failing oil companies will be a drag on the profits of the banking sector. If banks have problems, the treasury secretary will have big problems. If Joe Six-pack has a problem, then Joe Six-pack has a problem.

Joe Six Pack is going to have plenty more problems in the next 4 years.

Wow, are you an official card carrying crony capitalist? Saying that the banks' profitability is the very most important thing on earth? Hopefully you are kidding about that. The banks brought the economy to its knees in 2008. And we would be far better off by now if we had found some alternative to bailing them out, no strings attached, like we did.

Jill, seriously, this board is above your IQ level. chuck was being sarcastic.

Priscilla, AKA msgkings, I said to Chuck " Hope you are kidding about that"

You, Priscilla, are the person whose IQ is way below the level of this board. And the IQ level of this board is not very high. Some of the folks here are just transcripts of tape recordings of Right Wing talking points.

Whoa, my name actually IS Priscilla!! How did you do that?

As an Oklahoman I can assure you that Yellen is not the only one unhappy with low energy prices. See Cowen's 1st law.

Appointing a Magic 8 Ball to run State would also shake up the status quo, if you'll excuse the pun. Doesn't mean it's a good idea. Sometimes the political default is better than changing things without principle.

This seems like a very weird set of justifications for what amounts to a very bad idea: asking people who have very little experience in a field to take charge of that field. It's not even an academic vs. non-academic issue. There are some folks (like, say, Ben Carson) who effectively have no track record in the areas they're being asked to head up.

What track record did Hillary or Obama have to head up the executive branch of our government?

I'm quite sure a surgeon has substantial knowledge about hospital administration and what frustrates quality care. These positions are largely figurehead with permanent civil servants conducting daily operations.

Your point regarding our surgeon would make sense if Carson was running the logical choice for him, HHS, instead of HUD. The fact that there was actually a good position for him, but Trump put him in charge with the agency with "Urban" in it, kind of says it all.

He grew up poor and lived in urban public housing.

Who are the outstanding HUD secretaries we have had, and what were their key qualifications anyway?

Fact Check: Carson did not grow up, or ever live in, public housing. FWIW.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/politics/carson-public-housing/

Oof. Rough day for me, relying on the NY Times and their fake news.

Let the record show that Ben Carson never actually lived in public housing.

I bet he is more familiar with public housing via proximity than I am though. Or you. Or anybody else that ever ran HUD.

As for past HUD secretaries - well at Shaun Donovan's Senate hearing, a former HUD secretary from the other party (Mel Martinez) said Donovan was much more qualified for HUD secterary than he had been. The praise of Donovan's qualifications for being HUD secretary was a rare bipartian affair.

I think having run an organization before helps. The first large thing Ben Carson ran (correct me if I'm mistaken) was his presidential campaign, and he was bilked by campaign operatives and left with little to show for it - he discusses how he wasn't aware of how money was being spent or being good at managing the campaign. That's not a great track record as far as being in charge of things.

OK, this is a fair criticism of Carson: lack of executive experience.

It also applies to Hillary prior to her landing the job at State. That didn't go too well.

And 2008 Obama for that matter. Which went ok after all.

Trump has executive experience out the wazoo, FWIW.

"Trump has executive experience out the wazoo, FWIW."

And has a long track record of presiding over entities that ended in failure and bankruptcy. His most successful business ventures seem to be those that involve renting his name out to other businesses. Some might imagine how this record and skill set will translate to the executive branch.

"His most successful business ventures seem to be those that involve renting his name out to other businesses"

translated:

"He made more money than my entire lineage will, simply by selling his name; incurring zero risk - what an idiot, amirite? he should have earned a PhD to slave for low six figures like me!"

It's time for self-reflection Ricardo. You might be smart, but you are dumb.

"What track record did Hillary or Obama have to head up the executive branch of our government?"

Anyone who asks this at this point, is clearly not seeking information, but simply bashing Obama and Hillary.

Exactly. What is the Presidency, after all, but community organizing writ large?

Disclaimer: I voted for Obama, I like Obama, I didn't vote for Trump, I don't like Trump.

I don't know whether you are serious or not. But it's true that the Presidency is community organizing writ large.. And Obama was also editor of the Harvard Law Review and a Constitutional Law Professor.

And even most of the Trump supporters are going to miss Obama within a year or two.

Obama was a lecturer, not a professor.

My point is that (a) Obama had a really thin resume, yet (b) he was a pretty good President.

I think it's funny that so many people willing to take a flyer on the guy in 2008 are now all sniffy about qualifications though.

@BD: to be fair, Obama had in fact been both a state senator and a US Senator. He was an actual politician with knowledge of how government works. Trump is pretty different.

@msg, I live in Chicagoland and am familiar with Obama's political history. State senator plus two years in the US Senate (did he do anything there?) after vanquishing Alan Keyes(!?!). Breathtakingly thin, even compared to Trump.

Let's be honest. One speech at the 2004 Democratic convention was about 80% of what catapulted the guy.

Reiterating now: I like Obama and thought he was a pretty good President.

@BD: I understand, and agree with you. He was a flyer to be sure, and to be even more honest if he were a white guy with the same exact resume and personality he wouldn't have had a chance. But is it so wrong to see a difference in kind between an untested politician and a guy like Trump, in terms of qualifications?

As I've already posted, maybe the worst potential Trump will be superseded by a better potential Trump. Him being a non-politician and hated by both parties might be a good thing.

@msg, Yes of course there are lots of differences between the two. Like I said, I voted for Obama and didn't vote for Trump. But not because Obama was "better qualified" according to his resume.

Obama was also a constitutional law professor - I didn't see that mentioned. By itself that doesn't make you well-prepared for the many tasks required of a POTUS, but it certainly is useful to have an extensive knowledge of the Constitution given that the President takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Professor, lecturer, paid speaker, unpaid speaker, soapboxer. At this point, what difference does it make? 100,000 MA's who adjunct one Community College intro to justice/law/politics/government/criminal justice just became "Law Professors". But, wait, Obama taught at Chicago by virtue of his AA Harvard degree! (A white man with Obama's LSAT would be lucky to get accepted to Northwestern, let alone Harvard; with a bs job at Chicago afterward. lawschoolnumbers.com for the uninformed.)

P.S. for an example of Obama's breathtaking intelligence: I scored higher than him on the LSAT and I am only smarter than about 80% of the commentators here. Let's be realistic. The dude wasn't creating math proofs. He could speak decently ("articulately" as Democrats put it) and he could command a 98% bloc vote by virtue of his skin color.

See also: Barrack H. Obama

The mandarin class came close to starting WW3 over Syria. No thanks.

Globo-crat ideologues have been there since 1996. Time to drain the swamp.

You aren't allowed say J*ws any more so you have worked out Globalists. Well, Stalin came up with "rootless cosmopolitans".

What the eff are you talking about?

I think he is just letting us know that he needs to get back on his meds. Go ahead and start taking them again, Millian. We all think that's a good thing to do.

The people responsible for following through on allocations are not meat packers, for example.

Or maybe they'll just be ineffective? Maybe Ben Carson will have no particular idea what to do, as a neurosurgeon, with urban planning?

So you are saying it ain't brain surgery?

+1.
We'll no longer say " it isn't rocket science " . In future it will be " it isn't brain surgery."

Or perhaps "it isn't casino development."

Casino development. Don't knock it. It takes a soothing bedside manner, skilled and deft movement of the hands, a firm yet commanding voice when dealing with others, and an ability to pick the right scalpel.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/19/politics/donald-trump-ted-cruz-goldman-sachs/ This wasTrump during the campaign. As well, I received numerous anti-HRC posts on FB featuring her ties to Goldman Sachs during the campaign. I suppose Trump could claim he owns Goldman Sachs, but that would mean he's responsible for their actions, which I doubt he wants to take credit for. I don't mind that much since I think Hank Paulson did a good at Treasury, but what happened to all those people who don't?

I just read an interesting article in the NY Times featuring some Trump voters who claim he's not going to do much concerning healthcare. What?
Some people seem to be saying that they voted/ rolled the dice for Trump believing he's going to shake things up. When did conservatives decide it's a good idea to shake things up not knowing what that leads to? Samuel Johnson thought parties should center upon principles, not people. I guess he won't be getting a call from Trump.

How can we possibly know if these people will be effective without knowing what they plan to propose by way of policy? Will they be effective with term limits? I love the way people are praising Tillerson as a can do guy. Here's what I know he can do...Poodle himself to politicians. He's a one man swamp. Where's the beef?

They are all swamp creatures.

See the Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi entitled:
The Vampire Squid Occupies Trump's White House
After running against Goldman as a candidate, Donald Trump licks the boots of the world's largest investment bank

Also, see the article at Slate entitled.

Trump’s Ungovernment
His appointments are wrecking balls and swamp creatures, and his supporters won’t care. This is what white populism looks like.

The Rolling Stone that showed the world how to do fake news?

Thoughtful article.

Cowen got the memo. Here's a different view of Trump's approach to appointments from someone who didn't get the memo (or ignored it): https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/the-cabinet-from-central-casting/511022/

Thanks, Rayward. Interesting article.

The Atlantic being interesting?

And you chide some for 'living in a right wing bubble'?

Oh, should I have said that the Atlantic interesting but not quite as interesting as Drudge or Alex Jones or Breitbart or Fox?

You gotta wonder when the Drudge name comes up. He operates a "news aggregator", simply providing links to established media articles. What's so revolutionary or disgusting about that? Further, where is the great demise of the mastodon media when Drudge and other news aggregators and bloggers rely almost totally on their production for raw material?

The issue with the media is that they haven't as of yet been able to transform the financial failure of the dead tree information age to a success in the on-line era. Their reporters and writers are still digging up the raw material but the financials of circulation and advertising mean there's less funds to pay them and quality and quantity both suffer. If the crappy papers and TV networks evaporate, the on-line information world won't have anything to react or respond to. It will be cat videos, recipes and the ruminations of eccentric academics.

It kind of bothers me how they talk about issues where things could be better than they are, and fail to blame the victims along the way (except when maybe some personal responsibility couldn't hurt, they might kind of mention that too).

So, just make sure not to waste your time at The Atlantic unless you want to learn about liberal brainwashing or something. (P.S. - they might already have both sides of the argument already kind of internalized. Learning either one of them properly might be a half a good start. About ... basically whatever you think The Atlantic is dumb about... )

Tyler - apologies in advanced for being strident, but it is amazing you wrote one thousand words and still said almost nothing.

You use the word "effective" as your centerpiece, which is so vague as to be almost meaningless. Please note - you could have written an almost identical essay about North Korea: "Say what you will about their agenda, but the North Korean government is incredibly effective, and the result of intelligence and strategic planning."

If your goal was obscurantism, you succeeded.

Here's what an a similar essay would look like, minus the obscurantism and including concrete thoughts

"Conservatives want to dismantle government programs and safety nets. So they filled the state department with people who want to do so instead of people with expertise in those departments. It is likely they will therefore be "effective" at dismantling government programs."

There is nothing obscure in the article around what the word 'effective' means. Tyler even goes out of his way to accommodate the Jeff Scott's of this world with his closing line: "Whether you like it or not."

Capece?

I challenge you to try and distill down what has been said in that article, and do so in a way that is anything other than trivial.

I also challenge you with a repeat of my analogy. You could write this article almost identically, word for word, but instead referring to North Korea. They are an incredibly effective government, because. Many of their leaders may not have any kind of expertise, but they are effective at what they do for many reasons.

Now tell me - what have I said that is interesting?

I did read the article, including the closing line. Obscurantism doesn't become less so by acknowledging it is being obscurantist.

'Effective' means able to accomplish stuff.

The North Korean government has been very effective at holding on to political power in North Korea for the past 60 years.

This is not an endorsement of the North Korean government, anymore than Tyler's article is an endorsement of Trump.

You understand me exactly. Tyler could have written his article almost exactly as it is, with all the same word count and style, but instead referred to North Korea instead of the Trump cabinet. This is the cudgel that a word like "effective" offers a writer.

Or I could have written the line you just wrote about North Korea - which was a very good one. It was more concrete, conveyed more precise meaning, was less obscurantist ---- and it took less than 20 words.

So you understand that I'm not challenging this article because I think it's an endorsement of Trump.

You must be new to MR.

I think you mean "Capisce?" And, yes, I get your point.

Whoops. Thank you. From now on, I stick with good old Americanisms.

Kapish?

Carl says capisch but Karl says kapisch.

Brian seems to be wearing Tyler colored glasses, just as Tyler is wearing Trump colored glasses. Jeff, you are precisely correct. That is exactly what Tyler would have said if he were being perfectly clear.

Get ready for the homeless hordes of old and sick people who will roam the country, once DT spends so much money on crony capitalist welfare queen companies, that one day, it's

"Oh, no, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are going broke. We have to "fix" that by cutting back the funds for them by 75% or so." And get ready for the riots from the people who voted for DT, believing him when he said he wouldn't touch Social Security, and that he would replace Obama Care with something much better.

How far can old and sick homeless people roam anyway?

That was a joke, MITOVPT. Like all of your comments, but with the virtue of brevity.

My comments are not jokes. But thanks for the insult. I know I am making good points when the Right Wingers here can't resist the urge to insult me.

You may be surprised how far sick homeless people can roam, especially when they are angry. You may not have noticed this before, since the social safety net we have had in the U.S. kept their numbers low-- at least compared to what their numbers are going to be in a year or two.

Dear Sir or Madam,

you are a two-dimensional parody who unself-consciously exhibits all the stupidity that you accuse "right-wingers" of.

The fact that there are actually right-wingers as stupid as you claim and as stupid as you are hardly vindicates you.

BOOM goes the dynamite. Jill, time to take a few plays off.

Mary Jane, AKA Brian Donahue, you take a few plays off yourself. You are the stupidest Right Winger of them all.

"You may be surprised how far sick homeless people can roam, especially when they are angry."

We don't watch as many zombie movies as you do, but yeah, we've seen 'em.

Excellent pivot. With Krugman having gone full on bat guano crazy (Trump to stage his own 9/11, end democracy, institute military dictatorship, etc.) you set yourself up as the well-read but humble economist able to admit you don't know everything and so willing to see an ethical experiment run and to update your priors (and maybe even politics) thereafter. Outside the academy this view is known as "reasonable" and also as "obvious" and you'll thus appeal to a wider audience; which is good, since you're usually quite insightful (except when vigorously signaling your tribal allegiance - which is what sent Krugman off the rails, down the ravine and into the river spewing poison).

So sayeth Thanatos, member of no tribe, signaling nothing.

LOL. Yes, Thanatos does not sound like a member of the Trump tribe at all. He doesn't sound like he is congratulating and high five-ing a new convert to Trumpism at all. LOL.

Just for the record, I didn't vote for Trump; and for the first time since I was 18 I didn't vote for anyone. I thought he was a buffoon. But he's our buffoon now and he's doing a lot of things that may either be crazy or crazy-like-a-fox clever but which may nonetheless work. Given the uncertainty it's probably a wise course for would be thought leaders to hedge their bets lest they descend into Krugman-like self parody. That's the only point I keep trying to make (mostly unsuccessfully I suppose).

Well, no one knows for sure what will happen. But his cabinet and his tweets do not give cause for optimism.

Do we really need a rehash on all the reasons people wonder stuff like that about Trump?

A lot of people are really hoping they'll look really dumb in 6 months time. I don't think they will mind one bit.

Probably Trump will understand that the job of president is a little bit different than whatever that nonsense he was on about during the campaign (refer to first point in this regard).

In reality we don't know how this team will govern as most of them have had few opinions in the public area. In history there have been success cabinet members (say Schultz, at the time Rubin) as opposed to unsuccessful ones, (McNamara).

1) Trump seems a little too comfortable with Kleptocrasy Russia style government. Today that might be problem but this is easy to spin out of control with the media.
2) I suspect one of the problems of government versus company is the goals are different. It is great Tillerson negotiates with foreign governments and the administration is looking for Deal Making. This could bring about peace (say Russia) or it increase tensions. (say Taiwan/China)
3) Considering Trump won the WWC and these cabinet is an Ayn Rand fantasy team. So we will have to see how WWC are going to get those higher wage (~$20/hour) manufacturing that they voted for. The Carrier deal only was 800 jobs.

LOL, why do you think Trump gives a shit about the WWC or their wages?

He was kidding, weren't you, Collin?

Kidding and sarcasm sometimes are hard to get across on the Net.

If Putin and Trump had been the leaders during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we'd have Russian Missiles in Miami.

Now, don't go crazy. I was exaggerating for a comical effect.

Yes but the missile silos would say TRUMP in big gold letters

And Casinos in Cuba, of course. Also, with Trump in large letters on the front.

Trump's picks as a whole could easily have been made by Jeb Bush or any other republican. The innovation is picking business tycoons and generals at key spots [defense, state, homeland] rather than special interest slots like Commerce or VA.

Its a good mixture of politicians, CEOs and generals. I think most conservatives are quite satisfied [i know i am] though they may pick nits here or there.

Yeah, the people who voted for Trump, expecting a Far Right Wing government like Pence would bring about, must be very happy.

I am sure you will all enjoy the hordes of homeless old and sick people who will be roaming the country, once DT spends so much money on crony capitalist welfare queen companies, that the funds for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are very close to going broke. He will then "have to save Social Security” by cutting back on the funding for it by 75% or so. And get ready for the riots from the people who voted for DT, believing him when he said he wouldn’t touch Social Security, and that he would replace Obama Care with something much better. And from the people who believed him when he said he would bring back all kinds of good paying jobs to the Rust Belt.

There's a slew of people in Washington who don't want things to get done. They like things just as they are. Prepare for an even more rabid Washington Post.

I certainly hope so, if "getting things done" is exploding the national budget upward for the benefit of crony capitalist welfare queen corporations, while slashing the social safety net and greatly reducing social security and greatly reducing the availability of health care.

Maybe the folks at the WA Post are not looking forward, as you and others here are, to having hordes of homeless old and sick people who will be roaming the country, and to having the U.S. become a banana republic, as Scott Sumner has said it could, in his Banana republic watch article from yesterday, December 18, 2016. Google the title and first line below to get to the article-- since my ability to insert links has been disabled at MR, for some reason.

Banana republic watch Scott Sumner
How do you know when your country is becoming a banana republic? Let’s call our imaginary banana republic “Costaguava”.

I tend to find Washington Post. What kind of thing leads you to consider it as "rabid"?

I taken that Tyler has been instructed to get on board the billionaire solidarity train.

Looks like it. I guess people have to make a living, and to know which side their bread is buttered on.

He probably read the articles about how the media was having difficulty getting sane Trump supporters to write for them and decided to exploit that market opportunity

Articles over the last couple of days have made me move MR from a must-read folder to one of the partisan folders in my RSS. Sad

Agreed, the blog has become far too left wing lately.

Also good riddance, you will not be missed.

That is a good way to tell how far out your perspective is

Hard to see how the Trump team can be effective on the most important issues when there is no coherent, internally consistent, set of goals to be achieved.

They might simply become a force for renewal in the same way that "Willy the Torch" is a force for urban renewal.

BTW, speaking of Trump appointees, does anyone know if the David Friedman just appointed to Trump's cabinet is that Ayn Rand loving guy by that name over at Slate Star Codex? It's probably a fairly common name though, so maybe not.

OK Jill, I'll make an exception to my 'no commenting at Jill' policy, because this is straightforward.

It's a different David Friedman. The guy at SSC is Milton Friedman's son.

I did see a tweet referring to the appointment that carried a picture of Milton's progeny, so there is definitely confusion around this issue.

Thanks for the info, Jerk. Please don't reply to any of my comments again, unless you use the name I desire to be called by, my handle. And if you do call me by a name that is not my preference, then I will do my best to return the favor and try to call you by a name you do not want to be called by.

That approach works even better with both hands held firmly over your ears. Just keep them there. You won't be able to type, but no one will mind.

For those who basically say "see, everything is fine" I will start by responding:

That's a funny thing for you to even think to say before Trump has served. Not only are we not out of the woods yet, we have not entered the woods.

The thing that interests me right now is how Trump will respond to multiple agendas in Congress, multiple legal challenges on Executive actions and multiple protest movements happening at the same time.

It is a lot to hold together for someone who let one damn drone hold his attention for days.

The less hysterical non-Trump voters aren't saying "see everything is fine", they are simply saying we don't know yet but early indications are some of the worst fears may not materialize. There are some who can't stop posting how bad it's going to be, mostly I think to be able to say "see I told you it would be a disaster". My take is we are all passengers on the plane and Trump is the pilot. Let's hope he (with the help of his co pilot and the people in the tower) surprises us and does ok. I'd like to be proven wrong about him.

You are talking emotional investment, but that cuts both ways. Certainly many made their "it won't be that bad" bed long ago.

Fwiw, I think I will be right, but you won't really know which "anon" was.

And I will be amused in 2020 by everybody claiming they didn't vote for Trump. We all voted 3rd party! Yeah, Thats the ticket.

Oh we all know which anon you are.

I get the feeling you are more interested in being right than for things to go better than expected.

The sad thing is that I am already right.

You just suffer this desperate fear:

"Yeah he tweets like the idiot he is, but if that’s the worst of it from Trump, stupid tweets, that’s a win."

LOL whatever, champ. Declare victory and go home, why not?

Maybe you can tell us when you first decided it was safe to have, in your words, an idiot as President of the United States.

Really, anon, that's what you got? OK let's do this right. Trump is not an idiot. He went to college and got an MBA and runs a successful business. He's smart enough to get elected president. No president in history has ever been an idiot, not by the medical definition (IQ below 25) of course, nor even by the general idea that they were in the bottom half of intelligence distribution. I was using idiot in the loose sense that he does a lot of vulgar, déclassé, impulsive, childish things mainly on Twitter.

If that's the worst of it, we'll be fine. As far as 'safe' or not, again, the election is over. I could get hysterical like you but that wouldn't change one single thing. So we're back to you hoping for disaster to be proven right. I'm hoping for disaster avoided to be proven wrong.

So you have moved to "he does a lot of vulgar, déclassé, impulsive, childish things" as qualities for a President?

You certainly aren't making me work hard on my case. You keep doing it, but perversely taking is all as .. signs of hope? Reasons for optimisim?

Are you sure I am the one emotionally invested?

Yes I'm sure. Again, tell me what those of us that voted for someone else are supposed to do now besides say we told you so? So far his personality is as advertised, but his policy emphases and appointments have tended towards not that crazy.

*LBJ asks you to pull his finger*

We should not resign ourselves to hope for the best.

We should all criticize the idiotic tweets, every time a kid who is managing the family fortune is stuck into a Presidential panel, everything that is vulgar, déclassé, impulsive, or childish.

Because we know "normalization" works. It's how he got elected.

Too many solid criticisms were waved away, as you did above, as "emotional."

Wear that.

Well I'm already criticizing and making fun of all that too so I guess we're on the same page, wearing the same thing!

Nobody is going to remember a thing any of you said in a week. Partisan whiners are the norm on the internet. You are not fighting some heroic fight against 'normalizing' Trump, you are just running off at the mouth because you cant accept that you lost.

If it makes you feel better, spend all day and all night gassing on about how bad Trump is and how this is the worst thing ever, but dont act like you are accomplishing something.

"they are simply saying we don’t know yet but early indications are some of the worst fears may not materialize. "

Who is saying that? It seems to me that all indications are that things will turn out worse than most people can imagine possible. Basically, every time Trump opens his mouth he proves he's dump, ignorant and unstable.

For those who basically say “see, it's all going to hell already” I will start by responding:

That’s a funny thing for you to even think to say before Trump has served.

I have criticized a carp transition,

This is the window where a President-Elect normally gets his ducks in a row, concentrates on transition, uses back channels, to hit the ground running in the first 100 days.

He doesn't normally second guess the current President, and then reverse course to second guess himself.

He actually is screwing up "look Presidential and wait."

He doesn't normally make a fight (actually fights) with executive agencies during transition.

Yeah, you're the first guy to ever criticize a Presidential transition. Except for every partisan hack ever. Yawn.

I'll wait for the show to start: a lesson who tried to impart before quickly abandoning it.

And you don't think that normalizes the tweets, the pre-inauguration spat with China, at all?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/state-run-chinese-newspaper-trump-no-idea-leader-article-1.2916024

Lets just pretend it is "anon at MR" and the rest of the world doesn't notice.

Be quiet, Mary Jane.

Mary Jane is Brian Donohue.

Also, the walrus is Paul.

It seems reasonable to believe that Trump's appointees are more-likely-than-usual to effect change relative to an "average" set of appointees. That change could be positive or negative. I'm not sure why we think the former is more likely than the latter.

Fluency is a vague word and a matter of degree anyway, but six years studying Japanese is adequate to attain a considerable level of "fluency" and literacy, assuming that the study time was of the right variety and intensity. Needless to say, there are many different ways to be fluent.

Kurosawa was responsible for, let us say, a thousand or so minutes of cinematic art (not much more than that - I have watched a lot of Japanese film and Kurosawa, fun as he must have been to hang out with, was not, let us say, the kind of guy, like Shakespeare was, who really understood what his friends and the people who were not his friends were going on about in their most eloquent moments. Your mileage might vary, but not by much, and definitely not enough to make my thousand minute guess seem wrong, I bet.) Kurosawa Halso lived in a country that, let's be honest, as admirable as their love for each other might have seemed - and God bless them for that - was generally not kind to people in other countries. Schwarzenegger left a very comfortable country, with lots of good restaurants and cool mountains, for a country with lousy restaurants and mountains that were hard to access. So ... Schwarzenegger was responsible for ten to twenty minutes of cinematic art which were at Kurosawa level, and Kurosawa was responsible for about a thousand minutes of good cinema. Not much of a difference, in the overall scheme of things. Of course no government should ever hire someone because they are a good "artist" - if one's mind does not boggle at the idea, I don't know what to say - but, as Tyler Cowen said, some of Donald Trump's appointees are likely to be effective. It is ok to disagree - God knows that the sort of person who would likely be a Hillary Clinton appointee has spent an exhausting lifetime trying to prove that they are worth of the power they have accumulated - but we are all simply human, and God loves us more than most of us (including me, and maybe including everybody - I am trying to be humble here) - can imagine.

Why not Sylvester Stallone. It's a pointless, utterly unimportant government function anyway.

"Effective" is a neutral word. It does not mean the effects are desirable.

I discovered reading this forum that Barack Obama won the presidency because he was black, and Trump won despite being a white man, because the first is an asset and the second a burden.
The more you know...

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