Weiser: Steven Mnuchin will boost the economy


Our economy is ailing. It suffers from slow growth, sclerosis of excessive regulation and an uncertain future. Fortunately, there is a new doctor on the case. Steven Mnuchin has the right prescription to get the patient back to work.

The qualities his opponents see as liabilities are actually assets for the task facing the incoming treasury secretary. Like the president-elect, Steven Mnuchin is an outsider to Washington. He is not captive to the “group think” of the political class. He promises to be a disruptor, and that is exactly what’s needed. Instead of a resume in government or academia, Mnuchin brings a breadth of experience in finance, regional banking and the entertainment industry.

He understands the importance of free markets and that banking is responsible for lending money to business, particularly small businesses. As a regional banker, he was responsible for lending money to small businesses, the productive enterprises that are the job-producing sector of the economy. As treasury secretary, his primary responsibility will be ensuring the conditions exist for sustained economic growth in the 3-4 percent annual range.

Mnuchin promises a double dose of medicine to eliminate the blockages that are troubling the productive economy and standing in the way of achieving sustained growth. One dose deals with the excessive regulations that are holding the economy back. Cutting these regulations will go a long way to restoring the health of the economy.

Mnuchin knows from experience as a regional banker that the regulations of Dodd-Frank are stopping community banks from lending to small businesses and homeowners. In addition, federal agencies are on track to impose a record number of major regulations this year, with the Obama administration planning 100 new “midnight regulations” in December alone — twice the monthly average for 2016. These all put a straightjacket on businesses and freeze decision-making by the very people we count on to do the hiring in America.

Tax reform is another crucial ingredient. Mnuchin proposes cutting corporate taxes to 15 percent from 35 percent and reducing the rate on capital gains. He wants to put more money in people’s pockets by simplifying and reducing taxes on individuals, particularly the middle class. In addition, he will encourage the repatriation of profits that corporations are currently stashing offshore. All of these steps are essential to ensuring the long-term vitality of the economy.

Steven Mnuchin has a clear prescription for the nation’s economy: Free markets, regulatory reform and tax reform will make the U.S. the best place to invest and do business.

Retired Ambassador Ronald Weiser

founder, McKinley Associates, Inc.