The Art of Donald Trump’s Con

This just in:  Trump has failed at nearly every business undertaking except for real estate.  If he had taken his dad’s money and just invested it in a Stock Market Index Fund, he would be worth more than 3 times what he is reportedly worth today.  He has declared bankruptcy several times.  Within the last decade, he has found that banks in the United States would no longer loan him money.  He turned to Russia and now appears to be cash-rich.  He started buying properties at market price and then, without making any improvements, sold those properties to Russians for huge profits; a practice most often associated with money laundering.

Take all of this in and then ask yourself, “Is Trump a genius or a con man?  Is Trump laundering money with help from Russia?  Is there a link between Trump’s benevolent attitude towards Russia and his financial dependence upon them?”

Let’s put all of that aside.  Forget about it.

I now have a new question: Is Trump a genius negotiator or an idiot?  In other words, is he a legitimate president or just a con man?

Let’s look at the deals he’s been involved with since taking office.

Healthcare:  He promised much better healthcare at much lower prices.  It turns out that neither he, nor the Republican Party had a plan.  In fact, Trump has no idea how healthcare works.  He claimed he was going to fix it without knowing what he was talking about.

NAFTA:  Trump calls this the “worst deal ever,” and claims he will negotiate a much better deal for us.  It turns out that his threats to back out of NAFTA have caused two of our top trading partners to look elsewhere for goods.  Trump has never given any indication that he understands what is even in NAFTA.

TPP:  This is another deal Trump calls “the worst deal ever.”  He says this without once mentioning a single thing he does not like or would change.  He apparently does not understand TPP any more than he understands NAFTA or Healthcare.  He calls previous deals “the worst deal ever” so his followers can nod in agreement and pretend, along with Trump, that he has a plan.

Paris Climate Accord:  Another deal that is the “worst ever.”  Trump has demonstrated that he has no idea what is in this agreement saying, “He wants to negotiate a fairer deal for the United States,” even though everything in the accord is voluntary.  If we want to participate less or pay less, then we can.

The Iran Non-Nuclear deal:  Again, “the worse deal ever.”  Trump has been saying the Iranians violated the deal by testing missiles.  Clearly, he didn’t understand that Iran is free to test missile within the bounds of the agreement.  Every other country that joined with the United States on this deal has urged Trump to stay with the agreement.  Instead, Trump is stepping away.

All these deals were already made.  The United States had already agreed to them.  What Trump has done is renege on these deals without understanding even the basics about the deals and having no alternative.  Why?  So he could pretend that he could fix things.

But let’s continue…

Trump is imposing tariffs without understanding the very basics about such an action.  He appears to know less about Economics than someone who has just completed their first week of Econ 101.

Trump supported a tax reform plan that gives virtually nothing to the middle class while enriching the top 1% of the population. In this instance, I’m not sure if he doesn’t understand the tax break or if he did this on purpose.  Notably, there was a last minute “pass through” issue that basically enriches anyone in the real estate business…like Trump.

The Con continues as Trump takes credit for progress between North and South Korea.  He does this expecting us to believe that his tweets about “Rocket Man” have brought the North to its knees.  He has done nothing to help in that part of the world.  Even North Korea says Trump has had nothing to do with the denuclearization talks going on now.

Trump has the Black Midas Touch.  Everything he does make things worse.  His EPA is dismantling itself; allowing for the rapid rise in nearly every area of pollution.  He’s weakened consumer protection.  He’s alienated NATO allies.  He’s shown racist tendencies and legitimatized the rise of white supremacy.  He’s actively supported the NRA while calling for “thoughts and prayers” and armed gym teachers as solutions to violence in schools.   He thinks saying “don’t do drugs” will cure the opioid crisis.  He thinks telling teens “don’t have sex” will lower teen pregnancy.

Notice all of this exists in addition to the Russian Collusion allegations or Trump’s constant lying.

This guy is a train wreck…and we put him in charge.

Just sayin…

Gotta run.  It’s time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

My Last Day on Facebook

This just in:  This afternoon, I will look up how to cancel my Facebook account.

There are a few reasons for this.  First, let’s start with the fact that I love being able to connect with friends I haven’t seen in years.  I intend to still do that, just not through the Facebook format.

Over the years, I’ve seen more and more nasty stuff being posted on FB.  At first, I thought, “This is fine.  I think it’s great that people have strong opinions, even if they differ from me.”  Then I noticed that “opinions were turning into hate.”

This is something I have no need of.

Lately, FB has been nothing but an expose on what people really think.  I see things like, “Michelle Obama was a terrible First Lady; nothing as great as Melania Trump.”  This is not just a statement about opinion.  This is a statement about someone’s acceptance of having a black person in the Oval Office.

I see posts about, “Liberals are trying to take away my guns.”  This is not about the Constitution.  This is about someone willing to risk 30,000 American lives annually so they can maintain their fantasy about killing a home intruder and making the front page of their hometown newspaper.

I see posts about how Trump is doing a great job.  This is possibly the most telling of all.  To support Trump is to demonstrate to me that we, as Americans, are not capable of governing ourselves.

This list can go on and on but I think the point is made.  I’m finding Facebook to be a disappointment.

So, this evening, I am logging off.

Elsewhere….

I see that North and South Korea are making nice with each other.  I really think there is something here this time.  We could end up with a unified Korean peninsula with no nuclear weapons and no Forever Presence of U.S. troops.

The best part of this is that all of this denuclearization is taking place without interference from the United States.  We are completely out of the loop.  However, this has not stopped Trump from taking credit for all of it.

Speaking of Trump…

His tariffs are set to tear apart the global economy.  Yes, it could be that bad.  Already, car prices are spiking up; quickly gobbling away at the extra $100 per year we each go in the Kock Tax Cut.

Europe is scrambling to figure out how to retaliate.  Meanwhile, China is sitting back with open arms as the world turns to them for new leadership in the global economy.

I was speaking with an economist last week.  I asked, “How can any country know what to do about Trump’s tariffs when even he has no idea what he wants?  He keeps changing his position and is often directly contradicting himself..”

The response was golden: She said, “Maybe he’s doing this on purpose.  Maybe he is trying to leverage his stupidity.”

This may be the most brilliant thing I have heard in a year!

On the Entertainment Page…

Watch “The Death of Stalin.”  This is a black comedy with several priceless lines and situations.

Watch “Mr. Robot” on Amazon Prime.  There are 3 seasons out.  Granted, a few episodes are a bit slow but overall, this is a very unique type of show.

On my webpage…

I will try to beef up the ability to make comments and interact on this site.  So, if you are on FB and want to stay in touch, make sure to sign up in the right sidebar.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

La Ze Faire

This just in:  I thought I would explain the impact of Trump’s tariffs in an easily digestible way.

First of all, tariffs cause inflation.  Why?

Let’s suppose you by bagels at your local store for $1 per bagel.  Then, one day, the son of the grocer wants to start making and selling his own bagels.  Since the son is just starting out, he doesn’t have everything streamlined just yet so it costs him more to make a bagel than the original supplier.  He needs to sell his bagels for $2 each.  Now, the dad wants his son to succeed so he tells the original bagel supplier that for now on, he must pay a tax of $1.10 for each bagel sold at the store.  This means his son’s bagels are cheaper than the competition and his business begins to thrive.

Good for the grocer; helping out his son that way.

What does this mean for you?  Well, you used to pay $1 for a bagel and now you pay $2.  This is inflation.

Trump is seeing our steel industry in much the same way as the grocer saw his son’s bagel shop.  Good for Trump.

Except for the inflation part.  We put a tariff on steel so, in the future, everything made from imported steel becomes more expensive.

Yes, this could help our steel industry but that would take decades.  It’s not like a steel mill can be bought and unpackaged like something from Amazon Prime.

So, point #1:  Tariffs cause inflation.

What else happens?

Countries that feel tariffs are unfairly imposed will fight back by putting tariffs on products that they import.  Europe, China, Canada and Mexico are already preparing to do this.

Let’s go back to the Grocer example.

Suppose the grocer has a major customer for its vegetables.  That customer is the brother of the original bagel manufacturer.  The bagel guy tells his brother, “Hey, that grocer is charging me extra to sell my bagels, I think you should tell him that you will stop buying his vegetables unless he gives you a huge discount.  That will teach him a lesson.”

So, the grocer lowers the selling price for his vegetables.  Now, he can’t pay as much for his incoming vegetable supplies so he passes the loss to the farmer.  The farmer can’t make a living at the new prices so he cut back on how many vegetables he grows hoping that the smaller supply will drive up prices.  In the meantime, he has to lay off a bunch of workers.

In the end, bagels cost more; vegetables cost more and jobs disappear.

So, point #2: Unfair tariffs cause retaliation with side effects

What else happens?

The government/Central Bank has basically two ways to impact the economy: Fiscal and Monetary.

Fiscal policy is when the government increases or decreases spending to stimulate (or cool off) the economy.  For example, if they want there to be more money in the economy, they can lower tax rates.  Alternatively, they can increase employment.  People with jobs will spend more money.  This causes economic growth; at least in the short run.  The problem is that putting more money into the economy causes inflation.

This brings us to Monetary Policy.  The Federal Reserve (central bank) can raise and lower interest rates.  When interest rates are low, people spend money instead of saving it.  This causes inflation.  When interest rates are high, people save money (because saved money earns high interest).  This takes money out of the economy and lowers inflation.

The problem with raising the interest rate to control inflation is that is affects everything.  If you want to by a house and have $500K to spend, you can by a bigger house when interest rates are low.  When they are high, you can only buy a smaller house.  If you own a house and interest rates go up, the value of your house goes down because it is now more expensive for someone to borrow money to buy your house.

Higher interest rates also cause companies to save.  Instead of expanding they save.  They won’t spend $10 million on a new production line if the interest on the money borrowed to buy that line eats up all of the potential profit from that line.  No new line = no new jobs.

We recently lowered our taxes.  Today, we just imposed tariffs.

It should come as no surprise that the Federal Reserve just raised interest rates.

So, point #3:  We can control inflation but it comes at a price. 

From my perspective, we are trying to fix an economy that isn’t broken by pulling on both ends of a rope at the same time.  We cut taxes to to incentivize people to spend more which creates jobs.  We impose tariffs that cause inflation.  We raise interest rates to  control inflation which causes us to save instead of spend which results in job loss.

This is the type of economic policy we get when we don’t have knowledgeable economists working in the White House.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim