In a piece for Politico Magazine, historian Joshua Zeitz compared the brain trust at the top of Donald Trump's administration with the people President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought in to pull the United States out of the Great Depression and found a large gap when it comes to experience and competency.
Using the current economic crisis facing the country as massive numbers of workers are forced out of their jobs while the country is in an almost total lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, Zeitz claimed the massive multi-trillion dollar stimulus package handed to the president could be squandered which might require another bail-out for American workers.
"When he signed the $2 trillion COVID-19 rescue package last week, President Donald Trump was visibly pleased," Zeitz wrote. "He touted it as the 'single biggest economic relief package” in U.S. history, which will deliver “urgently needed relief' to Americans. Perhaps. Sweeping in its ambition, the package endeavors to infuse hundreds of thousands of small businesses, tens of millions of individuals and families, hospitals and health care systems, as well as the nation’s largest employers, with cash and liquidity."
The historian then went on to claim that passing the bill -- that occurred after weeks of squabbling between leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties -- might have been the easy part. Administering it effectively could be a major problem considering who the president relies upon for advice.
"We’re already beginning to see signs of problems: The $350 billion lending program to help small businesses won’t be ready for its launch this week, with banks claiming the White House set an unrealistic deadline and unworkable terms, and failed to provide basic rules and guidelines," he wrote before comparing the efforts to the roll-out of the New Deal.
"Unlike FDR, who vastly expanded state capacity, Trump has waged war on the federal government, leaving vast numbers of key roles unfilled, bullying and hollowing out the ranks of the nonpartisan civil service and populating his White House and Cabinet with men and women of little qualification. FDR hired capable pros—people with decades of experience in law, social policy, economics and other fields. Trump’s closest advisers are his son-in-law, who inherited a real estate company, and his daughter, who before entering public service operated a fashion line, " he wrote before adding, "One of the top deputies at the Office of Presidential Personnel—a key office that selects, vets and ushers through the clearance and confirmation processes top administration officials—is a 23-year-old college senior."
"Trump’s task is in some ways harder than the one FDR faced in 1935: The economic downswing is more immediate, brought on by a disease pandemic," he continued before darkly adding, "Yet there is little in the administration’s track record to suggest it is staffed to meet the challenge."
You can read more here.