There is no doubt that Trump is one of the most non-mainstream Presidents to have
ever set foot in the White House. His decisions have been subject to a plethora of
adjectives, right from bold and daring, to illogical and downright crazy. He has also
recently gone on a firing spree, not even sparing a substantial number of his close
aides. Though there might be nothing wrong with that, there are rumours coming
from top level sources hinting at a removal of the Fed chairman Jerome Powell as
well. This comes after Trump’s irritation at the widely expected rate hike which was
seen this December. Does Trump really have the power to do this? The wording of
the law related to this is actually quite vague. But rather than present my take on this
as every other newspaper would, I thought I’d see it from a Game of Thrones
perspective. Though many of you would see a better parallel between Trump and
Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King, I see him making the same mistake that Sansa
Stark made. Killing Petyr Baelish.
Littlefinger is certainly devious and has his fair share of flaws. He may even be hated
by die-hard Ned Stark fans. But one thing that cannot be disputed about him, was
that he was a master economist. He managed Westeros’ economy in a very modern
manner, unlike anything seen at the time, and this was probably George R R
Martin’s doing. GRRM had always said that he had admired Tolkien, but found fault
with the way the economy was ignored in the LOTR universe. Littlefinger is most
probably his way of avoiding the same mistake.
Getting to the point, Littlefinger ran the economy near perfectly. He borrowed at
lower interest rates, and lent back at higher ones. Though the Crown was running a
deficit, it was under control, and the economy was booming. When Jon Arryn had
given him his first significant customs post, he had brought in three times as much
revenue as any other collector had previously done. Unlike in his position as Master
of Coin, this could not have simply be done by cooking the books, as many fan
theories propose. Customs is a highly scrutinised post, and would have been so
under an intelligent Hand as Arryn. It is true, however, that when he left King’s
Landing, he left it in a bad shape, so as to cripple the Lannisters. This may be in line
with his long-term game plan, which we’ll now never know. Though it was necessary
to keep a cunning man like him in check, Sansa should not have killed him off. If the
Starks do ultimately gain control of the Iron Throne, they’ll need someone with an in-
depth knowledge of economics and finance serving as Master of Coin.
Pivot to modern day Trump. It’s safe to say that Powell is nowhere near as
Machiavellian as Littlefinger is. He has no “end-game” in sight, and his policy of
raising interest rates is actually long overdue. While it was wrong for Sansa to
eliminate Littlefinger despite having her reasons, it is most certainly wrong for Trump
to do the same, with no such personal hatred involved. Such a sacking will only lead
people to question the independence of the Fed, and lead to a drastic fall in market
confidence. In the midst of already low investor morale due to the trade war, it would
be wise to not test these waters.
Written by Thejes S Kumar.
Thejas is a PGP student at IIM Ahmedabad.