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Poor Steven Mnuchin

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LifeHealthPro published news today about how Andy Puzder is facing some Republican resistance to his quest to become Donald Trump’s Labor secretary.

We also have a story indicating that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., crossed party lines to help vote to confirm Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.

Related: Pension fears haunt Trump Treasury pick hearing

In a few months, maybe Mnuchin will think bleak thoughts about Manchin and wonder why Republicans couldn’t have been kind enough to resist him. Then he could have kept his privacy, kept control of his financial assets, and avoided becoming a trustee of some of the most frightening financial funds ever, including:

        • The trust fund backing Social Security;
        • The trust fund backing the regular Medicare program;
        • The trust fund backing the Social Security Disability Insurance program; and
        • The trust fund back (it’s hard to write this) the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

At this point, Democrats and Republicans in Washington can barely agree on what time it is. But Mnuchin will have to try, hard, to be the grownup in the room. Or to gracefully slink away from that responsibility without anyone noticing that he’s hiding out while the kindergarteners throw Navy bean soup at each other.

Mnuchin is like someone who pays, a fortune, to get to be the chief executive officer of a company that issued long-term care insurance, and nothing but long-term care insurance, times 100,000.

His trust funds face the same problems with weak investment returns, generous benefits guarantees, demands for social justice, and genuine stories about beneficiaries’ desperate vulnerability.

And he faces the horror that his funds, plus general national government revenue, are the backstops.

Executives of a failed commercial insurer might think grim thoughts about how their beneficiaries will have to make do with Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits and PBGC pension fund insurance payments.

Mnuchin’s funds are the Social Security, the Medicare and the PBGC programs. Aside from the current generosity and tax-paying abilities of contemporaries, the beneficiaries’ only other sources of aid will probably be God and passing space aliens.

The good news for Mnuchin is that he’s been in the movie finance business. So whatever doesn’t kill him will make good material for a horror movie.


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