Freedom does not die from frontal attack. It dies because men in power no longer believe in a system based upon liberty.
- Herbert Hoover
GIVE ‘EM ENOUGH ROPE: Following the election, we opined that Donald Trump would allow his Cabinet to have more power than previous administrations. It now appears that this approach may end up causing him some aggravation before being sworn-in. Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson in his hearing announced that he supports the TPP - a major split from the president-elect. Add that to Homeland Security-designate John Kelly breaking with Trump on several key issues during his hearing including increased outreach to Muslims. Trump giving his Cabinet a longer leash could come back to haunt him or sideline them.
TRUMP’S OTHER WALL - OR FENCE?: While Trump announced that he would not sell his business or place his assets in a blind trust, he and his lawyers set up strict rules for how the company will be run for at least the next four years. The president-elect will no longer have any involvement in his company going forward, and the company will no longer enter into new foreign deals. Conflicts of interest between Trump and foreign governments abound and the aim of the self-imposed guidelines should ease these concerns. The independent Office of Government Ethics has another view calling the plan “wholly inadequate.” Let’s just say we don’t think we’ve heard the last on this front.
A STORM IS BREWING: Trump regulatory advisor and activist investor Carl Icahn, is reviving a battle between shareholders and powerful business groups. Icahn, who supports more shareholder power, was brought in to oversee regulatory change and is in favor of loosening SEC rules that currently give corporate managers power over shareholders. Capitol Hill Republicans have good relations with the U.S. business community and are likely to oppose these changes putting them at odds with the incoming Administration.
BULLY/BEAR PULPIT: Trump continued his role as the market maker-in-chief during his press conference. After commenting again about the delays and overruns in the F-35 program and how pharmaceutical companies are getting away with murder, the stock market reacted. Pharmaceutical makers and biotech shares dropped by about two percent and certainly showed companies across the country that Trump may have the upper hand for the next week - plus four years.
SCOTUS PICK SOON: Lost amongst talk of Russia, conflicts of interest and confirmation hearings galore, is that a pick for a SCOTUS nominee is imminent with Trump planning to announce a nominee within two weeks of inauguration. Democrats are gearing up to drag out the process as they still believe the seat was stolen from them. Trump is keenly aware that he needs to make the nomination as soon as possible in order for his justice to sit on the bench when the final sitting of the Court begins on April 17th.
Audio Replay | Macro Policy & Financials: Ready for Reform? Taxes & Dodd-Frank: You can find the replay of the call here.