TRUMP—NOT A BILLIONAIRE

Are there some facts about Donald Trump that most people are unaware of?
Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee, Historian, martial artist, asset management
Updated Dec 21
This is really a loaded question. Donald Trump ran for office based on the widely held belief among his supporters that he was a self-made billionaire entrepreneur and international real estate tycoon. They see him as a brilliant strategist and expert negotiator, with an acute understanding of the problems that working class Americans face in the 21st century, and who has the common sense solutions to those problems.

All of that is a lie.

Donald Trump inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from his father, but before that his own real estate endeavors largely ended in failure, or required significant bailouts from his father. Most of his businesses — at least the legitimate ones — failed, while other so-called “businesses” — like Trump University — were simply cons. If he ever achieved “billionaire” status he did so by borrowing, buying assets, and borrowing some more against his assets. When it became clear that he overpaid, his assets were worth far less than his liabilities. So in the late 1980s, when Trump claimed to be worth $3 billion, the New York Times — his great hometown nemesis — reported that he owed $3.3 billion.

That’s right, the “billionaire” Donald Trump actually had a negative net worth at that time of $300 million.

As to the image of Trump, business tycoon, that is easily undermined by the fact that no American bank has lent to Trump since his bankruptcies in the mid 1990s. If he were such a great businessman, they would be lining up to throw money at him. That they will not even return his phone calls should speak volumes.

And yes, these are facts. And apparently, quite a large number of Americans do not believe them.

How is Trump wealthy now, you ask? Doesn’t he own hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate?

No, he does not. You see all those buildings with the name “Trump” plastered all over them? He doesn’t own most of them. His company manages them, and part of the deal to develop them was to affix his name, giving the illusion of great wealth and real estate prowess. That is why it is so easy for the real owners to strip his name from these buildings, which is happening ever more frequently these days.*

In the New York City real estate community, he is now, and has always been, considered a joke.

Those deals were financed with other people’s money. Which people? You know the answer to that already. Russian oligarchs. For many years they were the only people who would go near Trump, and their relations with him go back literally over decades. Indeed, several oligarchs or their agents actually owned property in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue (yes, Trump does own that one, we think; everything he “owns” is through shell corporations, so there is no transparency into the financials of the Trump Organization). That’s why it is so amazing that so many of Trump’s supporters do not believe that he has substantial exposure to these people — he is literally their landlord.

The second source of funds to create the myth of great business tycoon comes from The Apprentice. Apparently quite a few clueless Americans saw that “reality TV” show and thought it actually reflected, you know, reality. But to paraphrase the old joke, Trump was not a business or real estate tycoon when Mark Burnett approached him about the show, but he did get to play one on TV. Yet as been made clear now, what everyone saw on that show was merely an illusion, created by clever editing. The producers didn’t find an international business empire when they found the Trump Organization. They found a run down small family business. They created the illusion of Trump living high and jet setting around the world, always stepping in and out of helicopters and private airplanes. They cut away from the shoddiness of everything surrounding Trump at that time. Trump couldn’t even follow the scripts, and often spontaneously deviated from the agreed upon ending of each episode, doing so on a whim. That was then edited to prevent him from looking like a moron.**

Apparently it worked.

We can go on and on, but hopefully you get it by now. Trump is a colossal failure as a president. He has no grasp of policy on any level — foreign, defense, trade, monetary, fiscal, environmental, commercial, etc. He won election largely because of the propaganda efforts of his Russian “friends,” whether he actively conspired with them or not. But they are not really his friends. They are his masters, because they controlled the purse strings behind the financing of the deals they partnered with him on, and given the nature of these peoples’ businesses, those deals have always been largely suspect in New York as being more than simply “real estate” development projects. That Trump is a money launderer and tax cheat is also widely assumed, especially as his own lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified under oath to participating in those activities.

Are these “facts”? Well, the New York Times published a 14,000 word article detailing decades of tax fraud by the Trump family. Trumpworld yawned, and certainly Bill Barr’s Justice Department turned a blind eye, but you will notice that no one has come up with any information to refute the charges. Same with Michael Cohen’s charges. Trump’s supporters in Congress merely attack the character of the man, because apparently they cannot refute what he claims. But there is certainly evidence to support them.***

So the “facts” about Donald Trump that certainly many, if not “most”, Americans are not aware of, or choose to ignore, is that the public image of Trump is a myth, created and carefully nurtured by Trump over decades to demonstrate to the world that he was something that he always wanted to be, and sees himself as, but which he is not. He is not the strong, powerful, respected leader of the Free World that his supporters perceive, or desperately want to believe in; in fact, as should be clear by now every time he steps onto the world stage, he is a laughingstock. He will not return coal and steel to prominence in the United States, because he cannot; the world has moved past these industries, and there is no point in the United States wasting resources to revive them. He will not give his voters great, affordable healthcare; he will not eliminate the budget deficit; he will not build his stupid wall. He will say he is doing all those things, but he will do none of them — although he will exacerbate many of the problems associated with many of them.

Nor will he go down in history as the president “who accomplished more in his first two years” than any other president (except maybe FDR? I think that’s what he blurted out once). He will go down in history as the worst president in the history of the republic, a man who largely owed his election to the intervention of a hostile foreign power, which he then repaid consistently throughout his ignoble term by reorienting American policy away from our traditional allies to benefit the Kremlin. He will go down in history as a president who threw people off the health insurance rolls, who governed largely and incompetently based on preconceived notions that were not grounded in reality, but which were largely influenced by racism and bigotry, and which left the country dirtier, less healthy, and more polluted than it has been in decades. And he will be known as a president who was himself so corrupt that he not only used his time in office to enrich himself and his family, but surrounded himself with equally corrupt and incompetent minions.

Those are the facts about Donald Trump that many, many people in the United States — too many people — refuse to acknowledge, even though they are clear for anyone with eyes to see.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum.

DONALD TRUMP IS RUINING THE ECONOMY

(REPOSTED)
Donald Trump’s doing exactly the same stupid things George Bush did when he was president. Being, awarding huge tax cuts for the rich and implementing horrible trade policies.

When Trump’s really dumb tax cuts took effect starting in 2018, the Fed increased the Target Rate to prevent the extra cash influx from the tax cuts that were flowing into the U.S. economy from creating inflation. This tightening of the U.S. money supply, along with Trump’s clueless tariffs meant that the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average was barely higher at the end of 2018 than it was at the beginning of 2018. During this time, Donald Trump moaned about how the higher interest rates were hurting the economy. Any economist worth his or her salt could have told Trump that interest rates would have risen when his tax cuts were implemented, but instead, someone apparently told Trump that his tax cuts would magically make the stock market go crazy. You see, Donald Trump isn’t just ignorant. He’s apparently also surrounded by ignorant advisors.

Trump’s equally clueless combination of tax cuts and tariffs eventually slowed down the U.S. economy in 2018 to such a point that the Fed ended up having to lower the Target Interest Rate again in 2019. However, just lowering interest rates has not been enough to counteract the damage that Trump’s policies have done to the U.S economy. In addition to lowering the Prime Interest rate, the Fed has also had to start a program that many would call Quantitative Easing (QE) but which the Fed has been insisting is not actually Quantitative Easing.

Quantitative easing is an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to increase the money supply and encourage lending and investment.

This is what the FED is doing right now, although they deny it. Currently, the Fed is buying bonds at the rate of
about $60 billion a month
. That’s about 720 billion dollars a year, or almost three-quarters of a trillion dollars. If that sounds like a lot of money, it is.

The problem with this is that it means that the U.S. Government, through the Fed, is acquiring massive amounts of debt, and it is acquiring it on top of the massive amounts of debt that the U.S. Government is already acquiring due to Trump’s too-low taxes on rich people and big corporations. In other words, the economy may look OK to many people because the stock market is OK and people are still working. However, it is only OK because the U.S. economy is currently being run on massive amounts of debt that will come back and bite you, your children and your grandchildren in the butt in the future.

In the first few months of 2017, as the U.S. economy reached the point that it was before the Great Recession, the Fed should have eventually been able to start reducing its debt by selling off its acquired assets. Since, instead, Trump screwed up the economy, not only can the Fed not sell its assets, it has to buy more of them, just like it had to buy them when the U.S. was recovering from the Great Recession.

Running the U.S. economy on debt, as Trump currently is, is like someone living the high life by using credit cards to buy lots of stuff and not worrying about the debt problems that this will create down the road. Donald Trump has so screwed up the economy that the Fed is having to do Great Recession recovery policies *now* in order to try and prevent the economy from tanking. So, the next time Donald Trump brags about how great the economy is, feel free to laugh at what a liar he is. Donald Trump always says the economy is fantastic, no matter how much he screws it up, and no matter how much the Fed has to do to prevent the U.S. economy from sinking.

The Great Trump Economy is all an illusion, financed by debt from insufficient taxes, and now, from quantitative easing. Sooner or later, the chickens will come home to roost. Unfortunately for us, that means that when the economy finally does crash, Republicans will insist that Democrats must not spend the money needed to fix the economy because “The debt is already too high!”—and in this case, they will be referring to all of the debt that their tax cut policies and brain-dead tariffs created in the first place. What we currently have is not the Trump Administration. What we have now is the Trump Idiocracy
.

WHAT HAS TRUMP REALLY DONE FOR THE ECONOMY (A re-post)

In trump’s particular case, what he has done in that realm can be boiled down to 3 things:

1. Signing a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy that would stimulate the stock market while exploding the deficit (i.e., borrowing money from the banks so they could inflate the wealth of the bankers), thus setting in motion bad economic consequences that will be blamed on his successor.

2. Gutting regulations, especially environmental regulations, enhancing the short-term profits of corporations at the expense of public health and ecosystem services, thus setting in motion bad economic consequences that will be blamed on his successor.

3. Imposing punitive tariffs on countries that he doesn’t like in order to appear “tough” to his cult followers, thus setting in motion bad economic consequences that will be blamed on his successor.

WHAT HAS TRUMP REALLY ACCOMPLISHED

When people explain why they voted for Trump they typically say that he is a terrible person but that he gets stuff done and that his policies work, but what has he actually done and what policies?
Jay Bazzinotti

I am unemployed and have been for a couple of years. I live largely on my savings. This year, for the first time since becoming unemployed, I have had to pay taxes. Amazon and Exxon, which combined made over 200 billion dollars in profits this year did not have to pay any taxes.

Trump has accomplished one of the biggest middle class tax increases in history in a triumphant move to shift even more money from the poor to the rich.

As a result of this, he has more than doubled the last deficit Obama left behind (1.1 trillion dollars for FY2019). To fix the budget deficit he is proposing cuts (what he calls “adjustments”) to Social Security, such that once again it will cause the people who have the least to get less, and the people who will get less will STILL have to contribute to a Social Security fund they will get many fewer benefits from.

That is what Donald Trump has accomplished. He is on track to surpass even Obama’s biggest deficits. And the Republicans are saying nothing. When pressed, their plan is to cut the benefits to people who have paid for them their entire lives and who have much less than the rich who could bail out Social Security without ever missing a meal or putting off a buying a new yacht. Yet Trump is making it so the poor must pay for that next yacht the rich absolutely need.

In addition, Trump has accomplished the biggest rise in hate crimes in decades – nearly 20 percent since he took office. Trump has caused the biggest rise in white nationalism, racism and neo-Nazis since the Civil Rights era began. He supports hate and racism. He gives oxygen to haters. His DoJ barely investigates any race hate crime. He thinks neo-Nazis are fine people. Even Brent Tarrant, the killer of Muslims in Australia, points to Trump as the White Nationalist inspiration. Trump has accomplished reversal of decades of improvements in race relations, and normalized hate.

Trump has also accomplished the elimination of the rule of law. He has tried to undermine investigations and refuses to comply with Congressional demands for records. He has put himself above the law and become the law. Trump has destroyed the justice system. And the Republicans are complicit because they do nothing to check him.

Trump has accomplished the destruction of the EPA. Coal mines routinely dump slag into rivers and valleys. I wonder if that improves the water quality? He has denigrated science and replaced it with ideology. He has given oxygen to the semi-literate anti-vaxxers, the flat earthers, birth truthers, the 9/11 conspirators and the Sandy Hook deniers. He is their God.

Let’s take a look at what he accomplished in Helsinki. Is there anyone on the planet that was proud of Trump’s visit with Putin? Putin made Trump his bitch. He humiliated Trump on the world stage in front of everyone. Was any American proud of Trump that day? And Trump kept no records of the meeting. Who knows what he said, or committed to? He’s doing the work of Putin who makes no bones that he wanted Trump to win. Do you think he did that because it was good for America? No, he did it because it was good for Russia at the expense of America.

One of the first laws Trump passed was one that made it legal for Bar and Restaurant managers to withhold and keep all the tips of servers. And yet, even if they DON’T pay the tips to the servers, they still report them to the IRS. Trump passed a regulation that makes it legal for financial advisers and broker to work AGAINST the interest of their clients, so advisers can purposefully give bad advice and the client STILL has to pay, even if they lose all their money.

Trump consistently builds his image as a racist. It’s no secret to the KKK or the neo-Nazis what Trump is. When the top draft choice for the NFL was chosen and he was Black, Trump called the Number 2, a white guy and avowed racist, to congratulate him. Just recently Trump praised Robert E. Lee, a racist, a traitor and a proponent of Slavery. What do you think that says to the haters in America?

Trump literally gave Syria to the Russians; the Russians are moving on Libya now, which will explode in the next weeks. Trump does nothing. Russian troops have moved in Venezuela; Trump does nothing. Reagan must be spinning in his grave; Trump is essentially giving the Russians free hand in Cuba again, one of the most stupid geo-political moves in the world. The USSR used to call Cuba, “our aircraft carrier off the coast of America; Trump purposefully antagonizes Turkey, the most important nation in Eurasia, and drives them into the arms of Putin; these things go on and on and on and every move he makes benefits the Russians beyond anything that helps America. Trump works for Putin.

Trump has accomplished the elevation of a pedophile, Roy Moore, to near-Saint status. By his endorsement of Moore, he has made his rabid MAGA (Make America White Again – the G is pronounced as a W) hat wearing fans elevate a pedophile to a man, who by screwing a young girl, will bring about the birth of the new Messiah.

I could go on. Trump’s accomplishments in destroying America for the benefit of Putin are legion.

WOULD LIFE BE BETTER IF HILLARY WERE PRESIDENT?

I’m a white male with an income in the top quintile. Trump’s policies are built for people like me. If I were devoid of compassion or a love of what makes America great, then I might be doing fine.

Instead, I grieve for those who’ve been hurt by racist Trump supporters encouraged by his tacit approval of their behavior. Not just the man who was killed the other day, but several of my friends who have been the victims of racism and outright disrespect by people who informed them that now that Trump’s president, it’s okay.

I empathize with my friends who will no longer be able to get a mortgage because of Trump’s executive order on insurance premium cuts.

I empathize with the many people I don’t know who will be affected by the Dakota Access & Keystone pipelines.

I empathize with the people in the Baltic states whose lives will be affected by Trump’s tacit approval of unfettered Russian expansion.

I fear for the future of the students and educators who will be affected by the Republican plan to bleed money away from public schools and finally break the back of the teacher’s unions.

As an American, I know that it’s not just about me. America is great because of the efforts and participation of everybody, not just the plutocracy.

Out of many, one. e pluribus unum. It’s our nation’s motto, and we’re forgetting it.

PRESIDENT IN 2020 HILLARY OR TRUMP

Hillary is not going to run again. If the 2016 election proved anything, it’s that a large percentage of Americans have been drinking Fox-flavored Kool-Aid for a quarter century, and nothing will shake their conviction that Hillary is Maleficent. Democrats need to nominate another candidate, preferably someone younger.

Without knowing who his opponent will be, Trump has a better chance only because he’ll have the advantage of incumbency. He might have just enough true believers, and Republican state government might pass voter-ID laws to suppress just enough Democratic votes, to squeak through again.

HOW MENTALLY ILL DO PROFESSIONALS BELIEVE TRUMP TO BE

Many people armchair diagnose Trump with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but even the psychiatrist who wrote the DSM IV criteria for NPD does not agree that Trump has NPD. In fact, Allen Frances, the psychiatrist, argues that Trump doesn’t have mental illness at all.

Quoting the letter he wrote, published in The New York Times:

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

WHY DON’T ALL AMERICANS HAIL PRESIDENT TRUMP

Posted by: Peter Flom

Well, it depends on what exactly one means by “hail.” One meaning would be to say hello to someone when we see them. We don’t do that because most of us never see him.

But you probably mean “to acclaim; approve enthusiastically.” We don’t do that because we do NOT approve of him. It’s hard to say why anyone would approve of him. And, since we still have freedom of speech, we aren’t required to hail him.

Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath with signs of paranoid schizophrenia.