Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Love America, Worry About American Politics.

Woke in a cold sweat last night after dreaming that the world's largest economy (possibly), and the world's largest military (probably) was under the control of Donald Chump and Sarah Walin.

My nightmare was probably caused by the news that Sarah Palin, she who thought Africa was one country and famously urged Americans to stand by their NORTH  Korean ally has endorsed megalomaniac businessman Donald Trump.

Maybe I shouldn't worry, after all the American people had the good sense to elect Obama twice, even if they didn't vote him enough power to be fully effective. There again I think most of the world's current terrorist and refugee problems can be laid at the feet of Bush and Blair, elected two and three times respectively by the Americans and we British.

The other sign of hope is the Palin effect on McCain. After his defeat the Telegraph newspaper reported as follows: 'In the wake of defeat, aides to presidential candidate Senator John McCain have reeled off examples of how the Alaska governor's ignorance, temper and shopaholic behaviour caused a civil war within the campaign. It also emerged she could not name the nations involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) even though there are only three – the United States, Canada and Mexico – and the agreement had come up in the campaign. According to Carl Cameron of Fox News, aides said she had "real problems with basic civics" such as the different responsibilities of municipal, state and federal government.'

Palin maybe a sideshow but then there's Trump himself. Now I've long advocated the idea that a country is a huge and complex corporation at its core and that it needs to be run by people who've studied, or been in, business. Not by people who've only studied politics.

Trump is selling himself to the American people as a businessman, but the fact is he's a failure as a businessman. He inherited a vast fortune from his father and hasn't always been too clever with it. The respected American paper The Washington Post had this to say: ' Trump has not done nearly as well as other American business magnates, or even a typical middle-class retiree following sound financial advice, as a review of the numbers over the past four decades shows. He is a billionaire today despite this poor performance because when he started his career, his father had already built a colossal real-estate empire. And the wealth Donald Trump has accumulated since then has at times come at the expense of taxpayers or the banks and investors who have lent him money.'

Citing an independent evaluation, Business Week put Trump's net worth at $100 million in 1978. Had Trump gotten out of real estate entirely, put his money in an index fund based on the S&P 500 and reinvested the dividends, he'd be worth twice as much today than he actually is having run his own business himself!

In 2010 Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., filed for bankruptcy for the third time.Then there's Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka and a whole list of other other failures, which in many cases have hurt outside investors who trusted Trump as much, or more, than they hurt him.

That's without noting how the Trumps have worked the system to their personal advantage, Donald Trump's father, Fred, built his real-estate business on federal subsidies, as The Washington Post's Emily Badger has reported. Financing from The US Government isn't available to the typical investor (although homeowners do benefit indirectly from federal subsidies and can deduct interest they pay on their mortgage from their tax bill). The younger Trump has continued that strategy, boasting about his ability to secure taxpayer dollars from local officials, as the Los Angeles Times has reported.

Basically, the question is do you want this kind of man running things America? Please say no.

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