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Is Donald J. Trump really a Billionaire?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Archbob, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Blind trusts are meaningless political chicanery anyway. The organization of a blind trust is such that the grantor is able to, and in practice does, establish rules that mean the grantor continues to exercise effective control over the assets. All it does is ensure the trust of blind rubes who mistakenly believe the politician isn’t involved in the management of the assets.

    Don’t vote based on Trump’s wealth and certainly don’t vote based on the presence of a blind trust. Clinton doesn't have one either, after all.
     
  2. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    But his lack of wealth points to him not having the business acumen he claims. You're missing a rather large piece of the puzzle - being president means actually running the executive branch. The job isn't just having policies, there are many, many actual functions involved that one needs to be capable of doing in order to do the job. Donald Trump isn't claiming his policies are good because he is a successful businessman. That would be a rather stupid argument. He is arguing that he is capable of doing the job solely because of his business acumen, and that kind of follows logically considering he has no other relevant experience, having been a businessman/TV star his entire career.

    So yeah, actually, his whole campaign really is based on it. When one argues that their business acumen makes them fit for the presidency, if it turns out that the person lied about their business acumen, then that person, in effect, has no claim to fitness. His whole campaign rests on this question because his fitness for office rests on it. Now you could argue that he could be a good businessman without necessarily being a billionaire, but that's kind of a tough sell when you consider that a real estate developer with an inherited $200 million stake would be a billionaire many times over if they had good business sense. THEN you consider the fact that the only things we know about his business acumen are the disastrous running of his casinos in Atlantic City and his $900 million loss in 1995, and you're left with no reasonable way to conclude he is fit to be president.
     
  3. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Especially as many of his arguments against Hillary have been along the lines of "Hillary fails at everything while I've been here in the private sector making billions". I don't think it will matter because anybody who jumped off the boat on the basis of rational analysis of the candidates and their fitness probably did so after the Khan scandal. Or the Billy Bush scandal. Or when h promised to have political opponents arrested. Or calling women accusing him of sexual assault liars.
     
  4. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    If you want proof of how little people care about business acumen in a presidential candidate, look at his numbers. People aren’t buying what he’s selling because they don’t care about how much money he has. The electorate doesn’t care whether or not he’s a billionaire, nor should they.
     
  5. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    I don't understand why you keep saying that. Judging by the things Donald Trump says, he thinks voters should care about his wealth and his business acumen. Big league. If we shouldn't care, than what do you suggest we use to judge whether he is able to do the job?

    Maybe they aren't buying him because they have realized he's a fraud and not fallen for the con.
     
  6. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    I'm not sure I'd call a multibillionaire a loser. A liar, definitely, but that wasn't the issue.
     
  7. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Hey, you. Yeah, you, metalhead. Come ‘ere, I want let you in on a little secret.

    Lean in close. You’ll want to hear this…

    Trump doesn’t actually know what people want from a presidential candidate or even what makes a good candidate.
     
  8. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    But he thinks he knows. And what he thinks is that people want someone who is a business success--instead of a "politician." What we're talking about is the appeal he's made, and the appeal he's made is very heavily "I'm a success at everything I do." The proof for that claim, from a business man, would be "what did you start with?" and "what did you make it into?" From the information he's given us, we have no way of making that assessment. And working from the commentary of people who have some insight into his business dealings, the picture isn't particularly rosy.

    Unless he started out with even more billions, right, or underperformed the market, right?

    Me either. Is Trump a multibillionaire, though?
     
  9. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    And by treating his business success as a legitimate political virtue, Trump’s critics only serve to validate the (false) perception that it is important.

    More than his business success or any issue, Trump is running on the concept of Trump as president. He’s running a campaign orientated around the myth of himself. By treating his business success as a legitimate topic, the conversation turns from being about issues or governance to being about Trump as a person. Which plays right into his hand because that’s what he’s running on.
     
  10. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    When Trump's casinos were struggling to survive, he wrote off $1 billion is loses. His investors were taking "haircuts" in the tens of millions of dollars because he could not repay them. Since that time, he has not yet made enough money to offset those loses and so has not paid any federal taxes. The math would indicate, he hasn't had sufficient income to become a billionaire.
     
  11. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    But Trump already has the people who are buying into "Trump" as a brand. I agree that they aren't leaving him, but there is still a nontrivial amount of people who have yet to express how they plan to vote in this election. People who have serious issues with Trump as a person, but might be persuaded to vote for him if they are given reason to believe in his ability to do the job.

    I think there is a significant difference in the voting calculus of an undecided voter, if the person they are considering is a success or a failure in their life's work. To them, the details of the person actually do matter. The brand has gotten all it is going to get. The rest are actually examining the person.
     
  12. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    The "myth of himself" is the myth of his being a great businessman. Part of what is involved in making the assessment that he won't be any good at governance involves establishing that he hasn't been particularly good at his previous endeavor.

    Yes, I suppose there is some disciplined position out of which the Trump's critics might have said "we don't care whether or not you have been successful in business or not; we only care what your stance on the issues are." But "Trump's critics" don't have the floor to themselves. Trump made his business success the grounds for his campaign. His followers have bought into it. It has therefore become an issue, whether one wants it or not.

    When the networks were bending over backwards to properly "understand" Trump voters, I saw this absolute hillbilly interviewed and he said "All Trump touches goes up and up. All Hillary touches goes down and down." Insofar as this is part of his appeal, one has to take it up.

    And, after all, there's nothing inherently wrong, in sizing someone up for a new job, in asking how well they did the previous job.

    Trump is "running on the concept of Trump" but the "concept of Trump" is "Trump the great businessman." If one is to poke holes in "the concept of Trump" it will be, in part, by refuting the claim that Trump is a great businessman.

    Simultaneous with that is criticism of the vacuity of his positions, his limited intelligence, concerning aspects of his character, etc. But one really can't prescind consideration of his business success.
     
  13. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    If you’re going to look at this from a strategic point of view then the best way to handle it is to just ignore the issue all together and focus on other areas. Like voter turnout. Half of the people who do not vote are or lean Democratic, and getting them to the polls will do way more to defeat Trump then showing he’s not a billionaire.

    The billionaire issue is a non-starter to convince people not to vote for Trump because as long as he doesn’t release his tax returns, which he will not do, you can never prove he’s not a billionaire. You might not even be able to prove he isn’t a billionaire even if he did release his taxes. So there will always be a big question mark over this status and that question mark enables his partisans to double down on their confirmation biases. Meanwhile, focusing on Trump as a person only serves his ends because that’s what he’s running on.
     
  14. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    This is an excellent argument.
    Though, ha, it might be a bit before I come around on the blind trust thing. He's got an insanely large conflict on interest.
     
  15. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    But he's more than just an abstract entity. People very frequently cite his record as a good businessman as a reason for believing in him. And you don't have to focus on the person, necessarily, as much as the con the person has been running.

    There are of course a lot of different things to focus on. I would largely agree that at this late date, his business record is not a particularly fruitful line of attack for the campaign itself, unless they've been sitting on his tax returns or something. But I don't think it was wrong to at least make sure that the question mark about his business practices are out there. That cuts both ways; empirically-minded people who demand proof of things before believing them may very well remain too skeptical to vote for him. Is that a hundred people? Ten thousand? 5 million? Hard to say. But getting the truth out there early was a smart move.
     
  16. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    I actually think it is a great line of attack, you know why? Because Trump goes insane anyone attacks his Net Worth. I mean he goes completely ballistic. Having him go absolutely insane the last week(even more than he has already done) is a great tactic.
     
  17. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    I just don't see how Trump could have grabbed a billion dollars with is small money grubbing hands. Lord knows his wives have left him for the smallest of reasons.
     
  18. Thedrin

    Thedrin Deity

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    It's known that he lost that much money in 1 year in the 90s, and that he could use that loss to offset taxes on profits for the next 18 (?) years, but is it known that his accumulated profits over those 18 years didn't reach that limit? I thought only 1 year of his tax returns was leaked.
     
  19. Aleksey_aka_al

    Aleksey_aka_al Smiley

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    Is the American public really so stubborn in being slave to billionaires, so that the OP is even an issue?
     
  20. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    I doubt most of his remaining supporters would care if he ate a live human infant on television.
     

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