I wrote Tuesday about Donald Trump as a major source of negative tail risk — that is, while he might be
likely to be a bad president, we should worry more about the possibility that he will be a very, very, very bad president, for example by defaulting on U.S. government bonds or launching a nuclear strike.
These low-probability, high-cost outcomes are the biggest reason to fear his presidency.
Since Trump is a major source of uncertainty and risk, I’ve been especially mystified by the growing comfort that some Wall Street figures are showing with Trump. After all, the potential calamities associated with a badly failed Trump presidency wouldn’t just hurt ordinary people, they would also be very bad for asset prices.
I understand the potential for upside on Wall Street from Trump: he says he would undo Dodd-Frank (which many investors believe has tightened credit and reduced bank profits) and he says he would cut taxes (though sometimes he wavers on how committed he really is to his tax plan).
But life isn’t all about tax rates; shouldn’t the possibility of a Trump-driven macroeconomic disaster be weighing against him? Aren’t Wall Street investors exactly the sort of people who understand that risk is costly and requires compensation?
In that vein, I want to share an interview Linette Lopez and I conducted last week with Anthony Scaramucci, the founder and CEO of SkyBridge Capital and one of Trump’s biggest boosters on Wall Street.
Scaramucci is the picture of calm about Trump. He assures us Trump will get everyone together and make good deals, and that what seems like his policy vagueness or inconsistency is really just a matter of putting lots of ideas on a “whiteboard,” with good solutions eventually selected.
“He’s taking a whiteboard and he’s writing down all the ideas to see how they work, or whether they would stick, or whether they’re politically palatable, or whether they would turn into good policy,” he said.
Scaramucci also says Trump’s plane uses gold and brass in “a very tasteful, subtle way” involving “great earthtones,” so, you know.
Listen to the interview on our Hard Pass podcast: