Now that America is becoming more and more familiar with the names inside the Trump administration (since so many of them are being investigated), maybe you’ll recognize this one: Gary Cohn. He’s Trump’s Chief Economic Adviser, and maybe the best example of the kind of lies we knew to expect from Donald Trump’s claim that he planned to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C.
Up until he was hired by Trump, Gary Cohn was the head of operations at Goldman Sachs, the bazillionaire investment firm that played a huge role in the Bush recession that began in late 2007 and early 2008.
As you may remember, Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, into law in October of that year. It became known as the “bank bailout” for institutions that were “too big to fail.” Goldman Sachs, as a landmark example of such an institution, took pride in the fact that it paid back its TARP money to the government almost immediately, claiming to have achieved solvency well before many of the other large banks, some of which went under entirely. It wasn’t until 2010 that the public found out that Bush’s Federal Reserve had fronted Goldman the money to pay back the TARP “loan,” and accepted mortgage-backed securities from Goldman in return. You may recognize that phrase as “the reason the banks needed a bailout to begin with.”
Gary Cohn was the president of Goldman Sachs at that time, and that guy is the current president’s top adviser on economic policy.
Whew! That’s a lot to process.
Anyway, it’s hard to get a guy like that to tell the truth about things relating to money. I mean, it’s kind of been his job for more than a decade to keep people in the dark, even if only to avoid bank panics and stock sell-offs and that sort of thing.
But today Gary finally told the truth about the GOP’s current tax plan, and he said that the GOP is giving tax cuts to the rich. And that they did it entirely by accident.
Cohn sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood for an interview at American University, where he went to school. During the course of the conversation, Cohn seemed to reverse the administration’s position that the wealthy would not be getting a tax cut under the current GOP outline. In fact, Cohn seemed to celebrate the possibility, while insisting that cuts for the rich were a byproduct of their effort to stimulate wage growth:
I don’t believe that we’ve set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone’s getting a tax cut, I’m not upset that they’re getting a tax cut. I’m really not upset.”
In other words: Trickle-down.
For an administration that claims to be doing everything differently than previous administrations, working outside “the establishment” and doing “unconventional” things, this GOP tax plan sure looks a lot like every GOP tax plan always has. Less than six weeks since Cohn went on Good Morning America and personally insisted that the wealthy were NOT getting a tax cut, he did a quiet interview early on a Thursday morning on a channel that only economy wonks watch in the first place, and admitted that they are.
And Cohn is definitely not upset about it.
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images