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Trump And His Real-Life Billionaire Cabinet

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Trump And His Real-Life Billionaire Cabinet

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Donald Trump has long sold himself to a credulous public as a business genius worth many billions. So it was something of an inconvenience when New York Times reporter Timothy O’Brien put Trump’s holdings at barely a quarter of the way to one billion. Trump sued O’Brien for libel (and lost).

There’s nothing shabby about a fortune of $150 million to $250 million, O’Brien’s estimate in his 2005 book, TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald. But it would exclude Trump from the tippy-top of Manhattan wealth, where he’s yearned to be since his youth in middle-class Queens.

A desire to fix any billionaire deficit may account for Trump’s decision to stock his administration with real-life tycoons. The way it works is that they cut Trump into their deals and he lets them influence tax and regulatory laws. This assumes that Trump might participate in such an unseemly trade, heaven forfend.

Trump’s plain folks may be mightily impressed by the Palm Beach spread and the gold-lined private jet, but the super-duper-rich know better. Net worth is what you own only after subtracting what you owe.

When Trump bought the Mar-a-Lago estate for $8 million in 1985, he bragged that he had paid all cash for it. He later admitted that Chase Manhattan Bank had lent him the entire amount. We have no idea how much equity Trump actually controls. Keeping those numbers hush-hush remains the most plausible reason he hasn’t released his tax returns.

Folks, this is not about partisan politics. It’s about money. Example: Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has contributed more to Democrats at the federal level than to Republicans.

During the campaign, Trump ads combined nasty images of Goldman Sachs’ CEO and billionaire investor George Soros, supporter of Democratic causes. Mnuchin happens to be a Goldman Sachs alumnus who ran a hedge fund for Soros.

Trump’s Minister of Evil, Steve Bannon, also spent time at Goldman. As of this writing, As of this writing, Trump is reportedly considering Goldman President Gary Cohn for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Wall Street’s desire for less regulation does not preclude its wanting government help. Mnuchin made hundreds of millions off the failed IndyMac bank, after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sold it to him for a song. The FDIC also agreed to protect Mnuchin and partners from steep losses.

The government’s been good to Mnuchin. On the other hand, he wants to get rid of the Volcker rule, which, simply put, curbs big banks from speculating with government-guaranteed deposits. Wall Street understandably likes those “heads I win, tails taxpayers lose” deals.

The financial press continues to cast a cold eye at Trump’s claims to spectacular wealth. “Far from being a global branding goliath,” The Economist writes, “[the Trump Organization] is a small, middle-aged, and largely domestic property business.”

The branding part — slapping the Trump name on buildings that others own — accounts for 13 percent of sales at most. Half of the group’s worth sits in five buildings, mainly Trump Tower and two other Manhattan properties.

If the family members want to hit the ultimate jackpot, The Economist concludes, “they will have to reinvent a mediocre firm.”

Trump’s a politician with money, yes. But he’s no Nelson Rockefeller, Mitt Romney or Michael Bloomberg.

In naming Mnuchin to Treasury, Trump praised him in a statement: “He purchased IndyMac Bank for $1.6 billion and ran it very professionally, selling it for $3.4 billion plus a return of capital. That’s the kind of people I want in my administration representing our country.”

And, one imagines, that’s the kind of people Trump wants to know a whole lot better. Buckle your seat belts.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: Donald Trump waves to supporters outside the front door of Trump Tower where he lives in the Manhattan borough of New York, October 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar

 

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Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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61 Comments

  1. GODBlessRealAmerica#1 December 6, 2016

    PRESIDENT TRUMP 2017 BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    Make America Great !!!!

    Reply
    1. Stellajcokley December 6, 2016

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj476d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive if you don’t check it
      !mj476d:
      ➽➽
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      Reply
      1. yabbed December 6, 2016

        Flagged as spam. Moderators?

        Reply
    2. charleo1 December 6, 2016

      Idiot! There you got your response, worthless Troll. Now enjoy the nickel.

      Reply
      1. Dan S December 6, 2016

        It felt good when I blocked that boor yesterday

        Reply
        1. charleo1 December 6, 2016

          Amen!

          Reply
          1. jmprint December 6, 2016

            I blocked him as well, no need in putting up with more stupid then we have to.

            Reply
          2. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            I very seldom block anyone. But I figure we have enough cartoon cut and paste idiots mucking up the thread without another one.

            Reply
    3. JPHALL December 6, 2016

      America is already great!

      Reply
  2. Dominick Vila December 6, 2016

    What we are about to see is a return to trickle down economics, and deregulation on steroids. Well, let’s be clear, little is going to trickle down to the little guy, and deregulation simply means changing existing regulations that protect consumers for regulations that benefit the top 1%. The fact that Trump, the founder of Trump “U”, and real estate outfit that taught investors how to take advantage of the misery of others, has surrounded himself with the Wall Street predators that gave us the great recession, and paved the way for the fraudulent activities of ENRON, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Columbia HCA, and people like Bernie Maddoff was to be expected. I bet Al Capone would have loved to live in the 21st century!

    Reply
    1. charleo1 December 6, 2016

      I guess there truly is a sucker born every minute! And all those suckers really start to add up after a while. Or in the case of millions of Americans having fallen victim to what was the largest, and most sophisticated real estate scam to ever be perpetrated. Only to turn and elect a proven scammer who just happens to be a real estate mogul. Now there’s one for the shrinks to examine! Perhaps it is an unprecedented case of mass Stockholm Syndrome? Where millions of captives develop feelings of adoration, sympathy, and trust for their abductor? In any case, I think we’re in deep trouble here. And need serious help of some kind.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila December 6, 2016

        Add to that people believing that a man that has made a fortune out of outsourcing, foreign investments, and selling his name to foreign entrepreneurs, will bring jobs back to America, and our only hope is mass lobotomies.
        Needless to say, there were other factors involved in the decision made by so many fellow Americans…

        Reply
        1. charleo1 December 6, 2016

          I think mass lobotomies is an excellent idea. Can I be first? At least I might get some seep at night! As I have mentioned, my wife is a wonderful Mexican-Amercan girl, who’s family immigrated across the TX. border over 100 years ago. Her brother Pete, (Pedro) is an avid Trump supporter with whom I got into this huge argument earlier this year. (We’ve since agreed to disagree.) My first question to Pete was, how could you? And I never really got a solid answer.
          It was, I don’t care what you say, I’m voting for Trump! Which after a while, and being thoroughly exasperated. I told him I thought that was very stupid of him. Given what Trump was saying about people of his heritage. What he had to know were lies about people whom he had known, gone to school with, and worked along side all of his life. And, I pointed out a vote for Trump was also against his religious upbringing. A thing of which he avows as part of his persona, to be very devoted. What I found with brother in law Pete, was what the Republican Party would discover later that year. And the Country in the general election. That adherents of the blubbering buffoon had made up their minds for reasons even they themselves could not fully explain. And nothing, not facts, nor reason, nor anything else, possibly not even a much needed lobotomy was going to change that.

          Reply
          1. jmprint December 6, 2016

            I have customers, friends and family members that are the same as Pedro, and now some are silent and some are still very much in denial.

            Reply
          2. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            It’s extremely disturbing to me in a vey fundamental way. Because it upends something I always just assumed about the American People. And also about the ultimate wisdom of democracy itself.
            That the People of my Country, of all Countries on this Planet, had some measure of common sense. And for a list as long as my arm, they would never permit such an obviously unqualified individual, being such an unmitigated and proven liar, to become the person they would allow to hold the very lives and futures of their children in his woman groping hands. I guess I wrongly believed we were better than that. Now, I’m forced by the facts, which are after all, very straightforward, to admit we’re not.

            Reply
          3. jmprint December 6, 2016

            My friends that didn’t vote for Trump as myself, because we know who Trump is, are left behind with a mad, depressed, unsettled feeling. We see the damage he is creating on a daily basis and it’s hard to seat idle, while he single handed picks an administration that is so clueless of the average American plights. I feel we are doomed. I feel they have taken our voice, and our rights will be gone shortly. But I will stand and fight diligent, and in their face.

            Reply
          4. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            Got a little dark there, didn’t I? And a little broad brushy too. I’m with you 100% my friend!

            Reply
          5. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            here is an article that I recently read that went a long way to explaining the bigger picture to me:
            http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/extremists-turn-to-a-leader-to-protect-western-values-vladimir-putin/ar-AAl6tVe?li=AA5a8k

            Reply
          6. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            I have had the same kinds of suicidal thoughts…kidding of course. But I understand what you are saying – I have been grappling with the same things and have almost come to the conclusion that this country is full of a lot more ignorant and gullible people (not to mention the racists, etc.) than I ever imagined.

            Reply
          7. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            Exactly. As none of the other factors of the what we like to think of as motivational issues in an election, the economy, national security, foreign wars and entanglements going badly, accounts for Trump. What seems to motivate Trump’s supporters more than anything else, is nativism, cultural protectionism, and the unavoidably racist tinged concepts and ideas of White Nationalism. Being directly linked in some instances to the economic insecurities they feel. Ones they really haven’t taken the time to discern for themselves the root causes. But rather find themselves relying on opportunistic RW sources to, “explain,” to them the dark and conspiratorial forces that are driving the globalism that is taking not only their jobs, but their cultural identities. Ideas that are bordering on Fascism itself. Not that many of his supporters would recognized it, or agree with that. They would need a symbol, lightening bolts, or swastikas. Or some other overt sign. Like a picture of Hitler at his rallies maybe, in order to draw their own conclusions. Otherwise, it all becomes merely a case of a Liberal Press, lying, and casting aspersions upon their hero Trump. Who’s speaking for them, and telling it like is. I think this is a most dangerous time period we’re entering into.

            Reply
          8. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            Excellent article that explains a lot about Trump’s seemingly mysterious affinity for Putin, and Russia’s authoritarian Right.
            The scary thing is this used to be really fringy stuff most Americans would have rejected so fast it would have blown their burning crosses out.

            Reply
          9. Charlotte Sines December 6, 2016

            Interesting article. If all those people who want white supremacy and to stop immigration, who think that Putin is so great, move to Russia. No one is stopping you. America is a country of immigrates from all over the world. Just because a small portion of the population doesn’t like having people here with different skin colors doesn’t mean that is going to change. I am a proud American who is a member of the HUMAN race. Not the white race, not the black, race, not the Asian race, not the Mexican race, not the Native American race. The human race. We all have dreams and hopes and we all bleed red. Skin color is irrelevant. So to all those who want to change our country back to the way it was over a century ago, I say have a nice trip to Russia. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

            Reply
          10. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            Well said. If white supremacists are allowed to continue the takeover, the “ethnic cleansing” we have seen in ignorant uneducated unintelligent parts of the world will be worldwide. Civilization will slip backwards into the neo dark age where ignorance is a virtue and knowledge and enlightenment a vice. I wish for more people like you who understand that we are all one.

            Reply
          11. Charlotte Sines December 6, 2016

            Thanks. I think there are a lot of people who think we are all one. Now we just need to educate the rest. Tough job.

            Reply
          12. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            Tough job when it would appear that more people want to see what makes us different than what makes us the same. Tough job when too many people need to think that their skin color makes them above others.

            Reply
          13. Cathleenhgarcia December 7, 2016

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj311d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !mj311d:
            ➽➽
            ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinanciallJobsCash311TopNetworkGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj311d:….,……

            Reply
          14. latebloomingrandma December 6, 2016

            I forget which columnist wrote that on November 8th, America rejected decency. It makes me profoundly sad for our country. If anything, the Republicans now OWN this and must be held responsible for whatever debacle occurs. Nov. 8th —the next verse of “The Day the Music Died.”

            Reply
          15. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            do you wonder why the press has not jumped on some of the odious things going on with T-rump?

            Reply
          16. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            I agree Republicans absolutely should be held accountable. But they had their fingerprints all over the unjustified Iraq War, as well as Wall Street’s sanctioned scamming, that nearly sank the economy. And when did the American People ever really hold them accountable? They elected a great President, yes! And a Democratic Congress that worked their butts off to reverse a lot of damage. But in two short years, weren’t give a chance to do much more. Then they proceeded to turn around in the very next cycle, and hand the power back to the Republicans to stop the recovery, and everything else they supposedly had just voted for. Sometimes I think we, the good old American People, tend to royally deserve whatever we get!

            Reply
          17. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            I think you have to factor in the fact that many people….many apparently, if they do not fall into the categories of racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic (the knowns) fall into the category of desperately needing to believe – my first guess is that your brother in law is also very “religious”. Would love to know if I am right or wrong on that one.

            Reply
          18. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            Yep! You’re right. An “Evangelical,” Catholic. Whatever that is?

            Reply
          19. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            My theory has been proven once more. First, an “evil-gelical” designation whether Catholic or Southern Baptist means that they believe it is part of their mission to convert the world to their religion or sect. That is what makes them so very obnoxious in my book. Here is why I asked you the question – with all due respect to religious people and I know this will draw fire from many and no offense is intended….just a socio-anthropological theory…to be drawn to religion, especially “evangelical” sect, one must have a NEED to believe, a NEED to have a leader that tells you what do believe and then the act of being evangelical reinforces that belief. “It must be right”. Does that make sense?

            Reply
          20. charleo1 December 6, 2016

            It makes a lot more sense than listening to Pete trying to explain it.
            BTW. Isn’t that ISSL’s mission? To build a caliphate as a platform to first conquer then force the World to convert to their religion, or die?

            Reply
          21. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

            Yep…you are absolutely right. These extremist Muslims are not much different the extremists Christians. Popular theory is that the KKK are the Christian equivalent to Muslim extremists. The mission is to to convert the infidels – or behead (or burn on a cross as the case may be) them.

            Reply
          22. tbs December 6, 2016

            No one is trying to convert anyone! So your theory is all wet with holes!
            You think people who believe are obnoxious…ha, that is funny!
            I am not offended!
            Just for your information, everyone needs someone, thing or whatever!
            You are really insignificant, in this world, even though you think you are not, and I mean no disrespect either to unbelievers!
            We ALL can be replaced in a blink of an eye! That is how insignificant we are!

            Reply
          23. jmprint December 7, 2016

            Not the people that believe in Jesus Christ, but the people that follow the word of the man at the pulpit, even Jesus warned us about them.

            Reply
          24. tbs December 6, 2016

            Maybe you should look into God to see if you understand he IS the leader and will have the final word regardless what you, I, or all the snowflakes think!
            God dislikes evil works and people who plot to do harm to people….but God also uses people, who are strong enough, to get the job God wants done regardless if we like the person or not! So suck it up and see!

            Reply
          25. charleo1 December 7, 2016

            First of all, no human, “understands,” God. And then, you seem to be intimating Donald Trump is some kind of instrument of God. Which is not only blasphemous to the Almighty, but is wrong on so many levels, it’s down right frightening to contemplate anyone would think such a thing.

            Reply
          26. jmprint December 7, 2016

            What are you doing about adulterers? Has God told Trump what to do about some of the hateful people that voted for Trump? Has he mention to Trump about the children born to illegals, that it is wrong to bring harm to these children by deporting their parents. Does God approve of Trumps women abuse? Does He approve of Trumps lack of empathy, when he stole from his employees. And did he approve of Trump raping a 13 year.

            Reply
  3. FireBaron December 6, 2016

    So, Teflon Donnie has surrounded himself with Billionaires. I guess he wants to know how the Real Rich actually live, instead of with the veneer of semi-respectability he attempts to project.

    Reply
    1. yabbed December 6, 2016

      They don’t invite the Trumps to dinner, that’s for certain. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

        especially if they have young girls in the family.

        Reply
        1. tbs December 6, 2016

          You all are very very sick and snowflakes that need your binkie’s! Go grow up, unite and try to be nice for once in your life!
          Besides sick you are so boring and not worth the value you think you sre!

          Reply
  4. Goldbug12 December 6, 2016

    I’d rather have smart successful billionairs running our country rather than political hacks like Barack Hussein Obama who never created anything or had a real job! He sucked off the system his entire life!

    Reply
    1. A_Real_Einstein December 6, 2016

      Trump is a known pedofile. He will not finish his term and will permanently cripple the GOP.

      Reply
      1. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

        from your lips to god’s ear 🙂

        Reply
    2. charleo1 December 6, 2016

      You’re pretty hacky there yourself. And your experience in running a Country amounts to what? So crooks that make billions working a system they payed millions to create, are the very people we had ought to put in charge of the system? John Dillinger was not a politician, but he knew how to rob banks. How do you think he would have done over at the treasury department, or heading up the SEC. making money? Great I assume. How do you suppose you would have done? Would Mr. Dillinger have cared how you made out?

      Reply
      1. jmprint December 6, 2016

        Nope Dillinger like Trump were and ARE thieves.

        Reply
      2. Goldbug12 December 7, 2016

        Being a smart businessman and becoming a billionaire doesn’t automaticaly make you a crook! With enough effort and determination, in America, you can become and do just about anything! That’s why it’s called the land of opportunity!

        Charleo1, you’re probably lazy, on welfare and live in your mother’s basement…….YOU’RE A MORON AND A LOSER!!!

        Reply
        1. charleo1 December 7, 2016

          I see. Because, you know so many billionaires. Or because I happen to disagree with your misinformed, and provably inaccurate conclusions about Trump being either a smart business person, or a billionaire. I therefore must be a lazy no account. Yep, pretty hacky I’d say. Especially since you obviously don’t know any more about me, than you know about Donald Trump. I will tell you this, I do pay more Federal taxes than Trump. So does that make Trump smart, and me a dumb loser? Or make you the dumb loser for considering Trump smart?

          Reply
    3. jmprint December 6, 2016

      That’s because you are stupid and don’t know better. Too blind to see that the electoral pick con man doesn’t give a fck about our country, he wants to increase his earnings and it will take about 4 years, and when he leaves he will have left us in deeper $hit then Bush did, so who cares what you would rather, I don’t.

      Reply
    4. bojimbo26 December 6, 2016

      Oops sorry , thought you were talking about Trumpy .
      Trumpy wants to be called `Mr President` but is only there to nick the money from the Treasury so he can say ” I told you I was a $Billionaire ” .

      Reply
    5. Mama Bear December 6, 2016

      so then tell me, because curious minds want to know…are you (check the box or boxes):
      1. racist
      2. xenophobic
      3. homophobic
      4. misogynistic
      5. uneducated (show us your CV please)
      6. Kristianist
      7. 7 years old

      Reply
    6. I Am Helpy December 6, 2016

      Obama saved 3 million+ jobs just in the auto industry, and far exceeded the employment goals stated by the GOP. He also shaved one trillion dollars off the deficit despite the Bush economic disaster.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. yabbed December 6, 2016

    Donald Trump has no right to call himself a billionaire until he shows his tax returns. He has no right to call himself a successful businessman until he shows his tax returns. We know he has paid no taxes for 20 years while every last one of us have been paying our taxes. I think Warren Buffett summed it up perfectly when he asked what kind of businessman goes bankrupt on casinos? Trump has been bankrupted at least 8 times. He’s a scam artist, nothing more.

    Reply
    1. CPANY December 6, 2016

      His tax returns won’t prove his wealth, or lack of it, because his returns. such as the federal Form 1040, do not contain a balance sheet.

      Reply
      1. jmprint December 6, 2016

        It is equal to a P & L statement, and will show enough, if it didn’t it would have been released already. What is he hiding?

        Reply
        1. CPANY December 6, 2016

          If it’s enough for you, fine. However, an income statement shows the financial results for a given period of time. A balance sheet shows financial condition at a specified point in time. A tax return shows taxable income. They are not the same.

          Reply
        2. CPANY December 7, 2016

          He may be hiding a lot, but his Form 1040 will not tell you what he’s worth because it doesn’t contain a balance sheet.

          Reply
  6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 6, 2016

    “Out with the Old Establishment, in with the New Establishment”—Repeat Several Times.
    .
    After so many iterations, everything will look much worse. Just what Trumplander’s wanted all along, but with more glitz and lovely promises of more manufacturing and drilling jobs. Hopefully, Standing Rock will have sent a message that drilling(and fracking) willy-nilly aren’t viable choices for jobs and energy.

    Reply

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