A story from late December that seemed to get passed over by non-financial media was President-elect Donald Trump creating a “special advisory” position on regulatory reform. In just about any other administration, this position would never even be created. Trump, however, has signaled that getting America back to business is a priority for his administration.
So who did he name to this advisory position, one that is not officially part of the government, but is merely an advisory slot?
He named someone from the business world. Not just any businessman, mind you — he is the single most successful businessman in American history, one whose track record is actually superior to that of Warren Buffett.
Did you guess Dr. John Malone? That would have been a good guess. You’d be close, though. He is named Carl Icahn.
It’s a brilliant move. The announcement alone is laden with messaging. For starters, by using Carl Icahn specifically, it signals that Donald Trump wants to not only get regulation out of the way, but to tear pages out of the federal code and start a dumpster fire with them. It means that all the billions of dollars that are being wasted on compliance will be freed up to invest in business. Sure enough, Carl Icahn is not a fan of regulation:
“I really backed Donald. Number one, I think he’s smart and I think he’s one of the few people that can really shake up the establishment and stop what I consider to be almost idiocy with this overregulation.”
Second, it is another middle finger to the anti-capitalists that have been emboldened the past eight years. Just as Obama created administrative positions that had no accountability, naming Carl Icahn to an unofficial post means that he will have strong influence regarding regulatory reform, be able to act in a way that even benefits his own investments and not have any accountability.
I’m not here to judge Carl Icahn or Donald Trump, insofar as conflict of interests. I don’t really care very much about that issue as an investor. In fact, it makes me want to pay close attention to the holdings in the Carl Icahn investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP), and either piggyback on that vehicle or buy up the stocks he holds. Obviously, he’ll target those industries he holds first for reform.