We have to ask if anyone is surprised by this? We certainly aren’t. We have to think that our readers are not. We’d be willing to bet that most of the country is not. Trump is a New York City REAL ESTATE GUY.
I can say personally, in my very limited experience, that there is almost nothing about the real estate business that I like, not realtors, not appraisers, and especially not developers. I’ve known a few and they all seem to have this same debt junkie vibe. Trump’s got a lot of that about him, as this very interesting article from The New York Times illustrates in detail.
With that vibe comes a propensity for shady deals. This seems at the core of real estate. This piece of land gets zoned the right way thanks to the help from this or that commissioner who happens also to be a member of the local country club at which the developer also plays golf. That sort of thing.
That sort of thing appears to have happened quite a lot through Fred Trump’s rise (Donald Trump’s father, and the original source of the Trump wealth) and appears to have been true after Donald Trump took over. This is local level crony capitalism. (Though New York sized.) These are deals that the connected are privy to but to which those on the outside are not. This certainly seems to be an important part of the rise of Trump. (Though again, it’s hard to think that this is really news to anyone.) For this Trump deserves to be criticized, and he has been. If there are ever instances of Mr. Trump directly benefitting from the presidency monetarily this should be and must be exposed. That is a standing obligation of the press.
However, the main beef The Times seems to have with Trump is simply that Trump is rich.
It’s a funny thing with some people. Many legitimately rich people (let’s say a net worth of $20 million +) are jealous of people who are richer than they are. I was only exposed to this phenomenon as a financial advisor in my younger years. Being the son of a Naval officer, solidly middle class, I was not familiar with such things. And one get’s a sense as one reads this long article from the Times that this is a factor with the authors. (We have no idea whether the reporters are wealthy or rich). It just seems like they are angry that Trump is rich, and way richer than they are.
They seem annoyed that Fred Trump, at least according to what is being reported, did a masterful job of estate planning. Fred Trump wisely moved assets to his children and shielded these assets from taxation before his death. There DOES seem to be an issue with undervaluing properties, which many would call fraud of a kind, but that is not entirely clear. (Though one can certainly imagine a property developer undervaluing his properties if he possibly can. Whether it was illegal is the question.) But generally it seems The Times is just annoyed that Fred Trump, and then Donald Trump, were able to avoid piles of taxes.
There is nothing wrong with legally avoiding taxes. In fact one is obligated I think to avoid taxes to the degree one legally can. (Tax fraud is a very different matter of course.) But for some reason The Times finds keeping one’s own money unseemly. The Times, in this article also seems to imply that it doesn’t understand why much of the US doesn’t care about Trump’s richness and tax avoidance, and privilege like they do. I mean WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE DEPLORABLES?
There are things the public understands about Trump and accepts.
- He’s a rich guy who was a rich kid.
- He is a shameless self promoter.
- He is brash.
- He is not diplomatic.
- He likes women, a lot.
- He is a guy who came up through New York in the 70s and 80s with Studio 54, probably piles of Peruvian pixie dust around him (though Trump famously doesn’t drink, and perhaps didn’t partake of other substances either), parties at The Hamptons, and all of that.
And yet, a strong core of the country continues to support him, and generally his support has grown. This absolutely KILLS the Dems for whom Trump is the embodiment of white male privilege.
“How can flyover country support this guy” they ask?
Well, for one, because the Dems in the Northeast and California refer to the rest of the country as “flyover country.”
Basically America knows the deal with Trump. They figured he was still none-the-less superior to Hillary Clinton. Consider that. We must always keep that in mind. We must also remember that Barack Obama really pushed this country to the edge socially. His brand of “progressivism” was perceived as deeply damaging to the country by large swathes of America. But mostly “flyover country.” You know where The New York Times sells few subscriptions.
(From The New York Times)
…the documents include more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts. While the records do not include the president’s personal tax returns and reveal little about his recent business dealings at home and abroad, dozens of corporate, partnership and trust tax returns offer the first public accounting of the income he received for decades from various family enterprises.
This investigation seeks to embarrass the President but it seems unlikely to do that. (At this point what would?) Is the president a showman/salesman/self promoter/perhaps worse? Yes. But like we said from the outset, everyone knows the deal with Donald Trump. This article doesn’t really inform the public on much. I mean, who didn’t think Trump benefited greatly from his land developer father?