Is Donald Trump facing bankruptcy as President because he has overspent his “Washington Cash” in the earliest days of his mandate?
“Washington Cash” is another term for political capital, and like his early business days he thinks he has an endless supply.
How much did it cost him to finally get a form of his health care bill passed? The Republicans who opposed the first incarnation were firmly entrenched in their disdain for the legislation. What deals (political capital) did he have to make to get them onside so they would support it. He has learned another lesson of political capital. The dollars go up in the face of public humiliation. The cost of the deal rises. His concepts of his all consuming and domineering power were crushed with the withdrawal of the first bill. He blustered, blamed and boasted and then had to go cap in hand with a wad of cash to buy the temporary support of his so-called friends. He learned another expensive lesson. Everyone on Capital Hill has an agenda. They just don’t spell it out 140 characters at a time.
He has learned that politicos are as money hungry as the elite he has surrounded himself with in cabinet. It is just that Trump thinks he is comfortable in his $14.5 billion dollar inner circle. But, his allies may become wary. They have learned the price in political capital that may be spent in the Beltway’s concept of the Art of the Deal.
Business leaders avoid public tarnish at all costs, as do politicians. Business leaders shed their opponent’s blood in boardrooms. Politicos do it in the court of public opinion – a domain business leaders to not want to be caught either dead, or with their pants down in.
The sharp divide between the business elites and the politicos is that the latter is the hand that feeds the former, but the former is actually the rest of the body. Cabinet makes decisions as to what bucks go where and the hands make sure the dollars are delivered. But if the business elites cannot or will not play the game the hand wants, the fist will clench like the eagle clutching the arrows and no money will flow. In the end, without some sort of dance of Détente the elites will discover they did not bite the hands that fed them, they were actually the hand’s boss, and so they did it to themselves.
No matter how large, unjust and injurious to the many the multiple business scandals were, there was never any wavering from the sense that dollars are the salve that will heal all wounds. A couple of million or billion well placed dollars greased the wheels of Washington to protect the belief in the sacred American institutions such as banks and the stock market. That was outsiders providing political capital to the insiders.
The fact elites sing from the hymnal of success is borne out by the crushing of your competition either through takeover as the business equivalent of scorched earth. Bodies of foes that littered the playing field were collateral damage and twisting an ankle stepping over them to prove you are right and the public must believe in the justness of business was an occupational hazard.
Donald Trump is suddenly realizing that he has a decision that is going to need the Wisdom of Solomon to solve. Does he sell out his elite friends to garner more capital? He still holds sway over the outer sanctum of elites who do not darken the halls of the Capital. They are investing billions to create jobs, to support the President but they will want something in return.
The burning question will be can Trump raise enough Washington cash by selling out some of his friends (assets) to pay his longer term obligations (political liabilities on the world stage).
And for the friends, business elite networks may be removed from the corridors of power, but they are still standing just outside the front door, and they are patient, waiting for the opportunity to provide political capital to the very people this President is in battle with