An Open Letter to Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to an Orangutan

An Open Letter to Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to an Orangutan

Gary – You may be asking yourself why I singled you out for this public communication, and that would be a reasonable question. After all, I could’ve addressed these remarks to Steve Mnuchin or Jared Kushner, among others.

My impression, having watched your face during Mr. Trump’s press conference on Tuesday is that you are a man wrestling with his conscience. My impression of Mr. Mnuchin is that he has no opponent with which to wrestle.

Reaching out to Jared Kushner would be an exercise in futility on many levels. Mr. Kushner turning his back on his father-in-law would be an obvious source of marital stress, one which nobody needs.

While Kushner is already a wealthy man, he no doubt sees a pot of gold lurking in the Oval Office.  While greed may be a powerful motivator, so may be the need for the get-out-of-jail-free card he may soon require in the form of a presidential pardon.

It is down to you, my Hebraic brother.  At the end of the day, it is you who stands for American Jewry and for those who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis.

It is dilemma, to be sure.  You stand at the President’s side with laser-like focus on what is unquestionably a noble and necessary mission. Like Tesla is Elon Musk’s baby, tax reform is yours.

Stepping away now might be the political equivalent of throwing out the baby with the bath water, which is one my favorite, underused idioms. So widely appropriate, still as meaningful as it was in the 1500’s.

The history of America is replete with men faced with the impotency of their efforts to shape policy. From Truman to Ike to LBJ, many men of good will stood by with hat in hand (another great saying), keenly aware of their inefficacy.

To your credit, Gary you did not laugh when Mr. Trump said that his response to the events in Charlottesville was delayed because of his devotion to facts. At that point, most of America was erupting in howls.

The most telling sign of all was the body language of General John Kelly. A Marine general, Gary.

At that moment, it looked like General Kelly was being crushed by one of America’s failing bridges. If he could not bear the weight of Mr. Trump’s remarks, you can’t possibly expect a better outcome for yourself.

Your agenda is significant. Under most circumstances, I would wish you good luck. These are not most circumstances.

It was clear at the outset that Trump did not know the difference between tax cuts and tax reform. This is the man who said, “No one knew health care was so complicated.” This may not be a man you can carry across the finish line.

However you put tax reform on his desk, Mr. Trump will not understand it. His focus is on getting something-anything-passed. He’d sign a grocery list if Congress put it on his desk.

It’s also possible that, give the current state of affairs, tax reform ain’t goin’ nowhere. That is not your fault.

In the final analysis, Gary only you can decide for what, exactly it is you wish to be remembered, History will be the final judge, but you can decide what will be recorded in perpetuity.

One last, fun saying.  This one’s from (their) Bible, but I like it because our guy said it: “Cast not pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6)

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