What Trump means for US business
The Economist Donald Trump’s attitude towards business “has three contradictory strands”, says The Economist. “He is passionate about unleashing the might of the private sector to revive growth.” Yet he is also a protectionist and “a populist who thinks the economy is rigged in favour of big business and crony capitalists”. Those three different strands will respectively “excite, worry and scare” US companies. Policies that boost competition and attack cronyism make sense. But the risk is that under Trump they spiral into a nastier confrontation – with Wall Street and Silicon Valley as flash points. Trump’s protectionist policies are also “clearly bad for business”: 44% of the sales of firms in the S&P 500 index are now earned abroad. Plenty of corporate chiefs will argue that “whatever Trump’s other manifest flaws, he understands business”. But though he has an “instinctive feel” for capitalism, he is also an interventionist who “believes that American business can be an instrument of his power, to be bought, bullied and remoulded in order to achieve a national revival”. Life under the “new boss” will be far from straightforward. Who will President-elect Trump choose for his top economic roles? Reports that Jamie Dimon, the boss of JP Morgan, had been approached to become treasury secretary have been dismissed, said The Daily Telegraph. Since Trump once called Dimon “the worst banker in the United States” – and Dimon returned the favour with “thinly veiled attacks” on Trump’s campaign – it may not have been the most harmonious relationship, said the FT. No surprise, perhaps, that Trump appears to be looking closer to home. This week, it emerged that two leading New York investors, Steven Mnuchin (pictured) and Wilbur Ross, are on his shortlist for the roles of treasury and commerce secretaries. Both are “pragmatists and free marketeers”, and long-term Trump supporters.