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Sunday, April 10, 2016


Don Surber on "Maybe I am wrong about Trump"

The possibility that I am wrong is always out there, lurking in space like a troll waiting to pounce on a misspelling, or worse, a factual error. So how does one know if the meteor of being wrong on an epic scale is about to crash in on one's house?

The place to begin is with what I like about him.

1. Trump is a successful businessman worth $10 billion. He took his family's business from the Queens to Manhattan and the world. The Trump Organization is a worldwide real estate and resort business with 34,000 employees. Not bad for a man who began with a $40 million stake in 1974.

But what about the rumor that he could have done better if he invested in an S and P stock index fund in 1974? This disturbed me so I checked it out. I found this a hoax created by Mother Jones and repeated by Never Trump writers who apparently never question anything written about Trump that confirms their opinion that he is a buffoon. To make to work you have to understate his net worth by 71 percent and have him live on pork and beans for 40 years rather than a lavish penthouse apartment with a jet, a helicopter, and two ex-wives to support.

"Of all the criticisms you could lob at Trump, this is a weirdly weak one. Basically, the man took a $40 million kernel and, while spending lavishly enough to surround himself with all the gold-plated bathroom fixtures his heart desired, managed to do a 26 percent better job growing his fortune than if he had quietly left it to grow in stocks without selling a single share or spending a single dividend check for 41 years. I'd say that's pretty good. How many actual money managers could brag they'd done the same with their clients' cash?" Jordan Weissmann, Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent, wrote.

Oh, and the first stock index fund began in 1975, a year after Trump was supposed to make this imaginary investment in 1974. This would have made the $40 million worth $2.9 billion. His net worth is $10 billion.

But what about the bankruptcies? Four times he went to bankruptcy court for protection from creditors to avoid bankruptcy.

Read the whole thing.


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