The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Trump and the Tangible
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Marco Rubio’s latest tactic is to denounce Donald Trump as a “con man,” pointing especially to the risible Trump University venture.

But a problem with this line of assault is that the landscape is full of giant buildings with Trump’s name on them, such as the 98-story Trump International Hotel and Tower on a great site on the Chicago River, which the Trump Organization managed to open in the teeth of the financial crisis in 2009. (The Chicago project was a storyline on Trump’s reality show The Apprentice.)

Voters tend to be impressed by the construction of tangible things, especially huge ones patronized by famously rich and demanding celebrities. We’ve all managed, at minimum, home improvement projects and recognize that they require a lot of work and a lot of decision-making. Looking at this enormous luxury hotel / apartment building, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of sweating the details went into it.

A big part of Mitt Romney’s problems in 2012 was that his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction (i.e., laying workers off). He had something to do with Staples, but other than that, the Romney people could never seem to offer much inspiring detail on what he’d been up to.

Romney, himself, seemed unsatisfied by his business career. It was often pointed out that other individuals with his opportunities would have made billions in private equity, but Romney was content with an order of magnitude less money and soon turned to public service projects like the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

 
Hide 91 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. I was just reading an article recently–can’t remember where–that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he’d just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he “spent” his money on America. The guy likes deals, he’s always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs–not consulting jobs, either–are available.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
    , @Ttjy
    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn't recommend putting everything in t-bills?

    How do they know what he even had to invest in 86? Nobody seems to know what he is really worth now either.
    , @Glaivester
    Doesn't that also assume that he inherited his father's entire fortune when he started out in business, when his father actually didn't die until 1999?
    , @Travis
    i saw that article also, but the argument assumes Trump would have been given access to all his Father's wealth when his parents were still alive. His father was worth just $300 million when he passed away in 1999. Trump inherited less than $100 million in 2001 when the estate was finally settled.

    Trump's father only gave money to Donald to invest in productive real estate ventures, his father would not have given Donald the bulk of his wealth when he was still living. Trump's father passed away in 1999, so he would have had just 15 years to grow the $100 million he inherited. Remember that Trump had 4 siblings, and his oldest brother, Fred Jr., died broke, his father gave him nothing but a job running the maintenance department for an apartment complex. Fred Trump would not have given Donald a nickel to invest in US bonds, and he certainly would not have handed over all his wealth to just one of his 5 children.
    , @Phil
    The simplest version of the comparison seems to be that if Trump had taken his $40 million inheritance from his father in 1974, converted it into cash, and invested it in the S&P 500, reinvesting all dividends and spending no money along the way, he'd have about $2.3 billion or so today, depending on how you do the math. Bloomberg computes his actual net worth as $2.9 billion, so he's modestly outperformed the S&P over his career, again depending on how you do the math. That, however, understates his performance. For one thing, if he put all his money in index funds and reinvested all the dividends for 41 years, he'd be dead, because you can't buy food with reinvested dividends. As an investing strategy you can't beat compound returns, but as a strategy for life food has key diversification benefits. Also I feel like Trump has unusually high consumption expenses? For instance, to choose one item at random, I gather that he is currently funding his own campaign for president. That would also eat into his returns.

    The public valuations of Trump's assets may also not be quite apples-to-apples with a market value of the S&P 500. Bloomberg's computation of Trump's net worth basically takes the value of his buildings and golf courses; it "doesn’t value Trump’s brand beyond accounting for cash held in accounts for his licensing deals and business partnerships." But of course the value of the S&P 500 doesn't come from the value of its cash and buildings. It comes from expectations of future earnings. Trump claims that he's worth more than $10 billion because of the value of his brand, which "goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings." That sounds silly when Trump says it about himself, but it is dead right about the S&P, which has had a whole lot of feelings recently. But ultimately its value comes from its claim on earnings, and the S&P price/earnings ratio is about 19.6. Just for laughs, put that multiple on Trump's $300-million-ish of income and you get an organization worth about $6 billion.

    So it seems like Trump has outperformed the S&P 500 over his career. But the main line of criticism is that he has underperformed the S&P over some other, shorter period. Matthews says, "If you compare Trump's performance since 1982, when the stock market started to take off after the early-'80s recession, it looks pretty abysmal." If Trump had taken his 1982 net worth of $200 million, cashed it out, and put it all in an index fund with reinvested dividends, he (would again be dead of not eating, but his heirs) would have $6.3 billion today. Similarly, the Associated Press math has Trump cashing out his $1 billion net worth in 1988 -- shortly after the 1987 stock market crash -- and putting it in index funds worth $13 billion today.

    But of course saying that you should buy and hold index funds is very different from saying that you should build your wealth via private real estate entrepreneurship and then, at the start of a bull market, cash out and put all of your money in an index fund. Market timing is a skill. Comparing actual Donald Trump versus perfect-market-timer Donald Trump sets him up to lose, but it sets everyone up to lose. Trump's 1999 net worth was $1.6 billion. If he had cashed out in December and put that money in the S&P, he'd be worth about $2.7 billion now, again without eating. He's worth more. So you can roughly say that Trump outperformed the S&P from 1974 through 1987, underperformed from 1988 through 1999, and slightly outperformed since.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-03/should-donald-trump-have-indexed-
  2. Working middle class white people better identify with Trump’s fortune than Romney’s fortune, because Trump making his fortune involved the hiring of a lot of working middle class white people to build his big shiny things.

  3. @education realist
    I was just reading an article recently--can't remember where--that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he'd just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he "spent" his money on America. The guy likes deals, he's always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs--not consulting jobs, either--are available.

    These calculations ignore that he’s also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there’s a subconscious connection between Trump’s current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country’s image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York’s gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone's taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn't then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don't acknowledge.
    , @polynikes
    that's an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don't recall many in the 80s and 90s.
    , @Bill P

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
     
    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn't, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you've spent much time with these people, you'll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we'd have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.
    , @Olorin
    Trump has operated at the level of the tangible in more ways than just putting up big shiny celebrity hives.

    I hang with a lot of guys with construction or trades businesses.

    One of the reasons they really like DJT is that they expect him to understand their own frustrations grappling with out-of-date or crumbling infrastructure, trying to build new things that connect with that infrastructure, being eager to start new or renovation infrastructure projects and facing nothing but barriers, and so on.

    They also hate the fact that the dindus are destroying perfectly good infrastructure everywhere they are planted, and most of them have seen things they've built get destroyed in just this way.

    There is an eff-ton of deferred maintenance on civilization, and guys who know how to get that work done are tired of being sent to Dubai (etc.) instead.

    , @Realist
    "These calculations ignore that he’s also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it."

    As opposed to Warren Buffet who lives in a modest home in Omaha of all places.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    It's not just subconscious. Trump made the connection in one of the debates, when Ted Cruz brought up New York values. Trump talked about the values he saw in New York after 9/11 (of course, that wasn't limited to New Yorkers; Americans from all over came to help).
  4. Romney was a vulture capitalist. He looked for companies like KB Toys, in all the malls in Southern California, that had great balance sheets and great credit. He bought them up, loaded them with debt and astronomical management fees, and bankrupted them after sucking all the life out of them. I wondered why KB Toys went out of business. I only found out when Romney ran for President and I started reading up on his career.

    • Replies: @scrivener3
    KB Toys went out of business because of Wallmart and Amazon. I owned a lot of Toys-R-Us and it made money for years but everything changed.
  5. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Oh no, I am sure you are wrong! Why else would the donors be clamoring to release the secret Mittens?

  6. @education realist
    I was just reading an article recently--can't remember where--that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he'd just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he "spent" his money on America. The guy likes deals, he's always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs--not consulting jobs, either--are available.

    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn’t recommend putting everything in t-bills?

    How do they know what he even had to invest in 86? Nobody seems to know what he is really worth now either.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn’t recommend putting everything in t-bills?
     
    Great. The first salvo in World War T-bill.
    , @athEIst
    You can make that much in T-bills?
    Sure, get in your time machine, and set the controls for 1981. Try not to be hit by the VV(Volcker Vortex) or the tripling of oil prices the year before and buy those T-bills(I think they were paying >~18% fixed ) and hold on.
  7. @education realist
    I was just reading an article recently--can't remember where--that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he'd just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he "spent" his money on America. The guy likes deals, he's always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs--not consulting jobs, either--are available.

    Doesn’t that also assume that he inherited his father’s entire fortune when he started out in business, when his father actually didn’t die until 1999?

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A big part of Mitt Romney’s problems in 2012 was that his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction (i.e., laying workers off).

    I like the creative destruction that Trump’s unleashed on the Republican Party and on political correctness.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    It's the same for me as well. After all the criminal damage the neocons have done, and the endless needling of the political correct, it's such a morale boost to witness the Aryan Vulgarian tear into both of them. Funny thing is I really couldn't stand Trump until he ran for office.
  9. I think you underestimate how many middle class and poor people know that Trump is a serial exaggerator (to be kind) but they like him because they don’t think any better of the people he’s running against. My barber told me yesterday that he knows Trump is a liar but so are all of those politicians he’s running against and at least he’s not another career politician.

    My barber also said he enjoyed Trump’s campaign because of the pro wrestling aspect of it – the smack talk, finger pointing, etc. & how Cruz, Rubio etc are having to embrace Trump’s tactics. He thought that it exposes the system for what it really is.

    My white collar friends and co-workers just reference President Camacho from Idiocracy.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    I think you underestimate how many middle class and poor people know that Trump is a serial exaggerator (to be kind) but they like him because they don’t think any better of the people he’s running against
     
    Trump's Teflon is that with almost everything wrong with him, it's even worse with the competition. E.g., Hillary's threatening loose-lipped "bimbos".

    His campaign slogan could be "Who are you to talk?"
  10. @boxty
    Romney was a vulture capitalist. He looked for companies like KB Toys, in all the malls in Southern California, that had great balance sheets and great credit. He bought them up, loaded them with debt and astronomical management fees, and bankrupted them after sucking all the life out of them. I wondered why KB Toys went out of business. I only found out when Romney ran for President and I started reading up on his career.

    KB Toys went out of business because of Wallmart and Amazon. I owned a lot of Toys-R-Us and it made money for years but everything changed.

  11. Is this little dimwitted Marco saying also that billionaire titans of industry like Carl Icahn, Steve Wynn, Elie Hirschfeld, et al., who have known and worked with Trump for decades, and are supporting Trump for President, are ignorant con-man as well??

  12. @education realist
    I was just reading an article recently--can't remember where--that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he'd just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he "spent" his money on America. The guy likes deals, he's always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs--not consulting jobs, either--are available.

    i saw that article also, but the argument assumes Trump would have been given access to all his Father’s wealth when his parents were still alive. His father was worth just $300 million when he passed away in 1999. Trump inherited less than $100 million in 2001 when the estate was finally settled.

    Trump’s father only gave money to Donald to invest in productive real estate ventures, his father would not have given Donald the bulk of his wealth when he was still living. Trump’s father passed away in 1999, so he would have had just 15 years to grow the $100 million he inherited. Remember that Trump had 4 siblings, and his oldest brother, Fred Jr., died broke, his father gave him nothing but a job running the maintenance department for an apartment complex. Fred Trump would not have given Donald a nickel to invest in US bonds, and he certainly would not have handed over all his wealth to just one of his 5 children.

  13. Trump licenses his name. I remember a NYT hit piece on him that quoted from his depositions in some lawsuit. He was asked about his name being on projects that he didn’t build or manage. His answer was that he’s a builder in New York, but that in other places he usually operates through a licence.

    Romney is a better human being, but he would have been a terrible president, even worse than Obama. Obama has slowed down the invade-the-world locomotive a little. Romney would have kept it moving at the pace established by W’s handlers.

    Trump is a less admirable human being, but it seems that he would be a much better president than Romney would have been.

  14. 1/ Given the attention this blog has given to

    a/ the mortgage meltdown

    b/ Donald Trump

    I’m surprise there has been no attention given to the Trump Mortgage Co (2006-2008)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Mortgage

    A flop that was not the biggest cause of the meltdown but still.

    2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump’s name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.

    And its not like he could build buildings abroad and ship them here. He was stuck building them in America (although not always with legal American workers)

    3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can’t get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn’t Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    4/ Can anyone explain why he started the ‘risible’ Trump University?

    • Replies: @iSteveFan
    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I'd support him. Trump is basically running on Pat's platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog's readers could support.
    , @Anon
    What you say is true.

    I just appreciate Trump as a 'wrecker'.

    Another thing. The sleaze factor paradoxically protects him because there is no pretense of being respectable.

    This is how Howard Stern got away with so much stuff. Since he was shameless, you couldn't tag him with anything. He'd just laugh and say So What?

    This is where Romney was vulnerable. He looked some perfect 1950s TV dad. So, the dirt on him made him look really dirty.

    Trump, like Clinton, wears his dirt on his sleeve.

    In another time, I would have been offended by Trump, and in some ways, still am.

    But this nation is so far on morals, decency, sanity, and etc., who cares?

    It's just a matter of who can wreck the system better.

    The system needs to go.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump’s name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman."

    But some of them clearly were his projects.

    How many buildings have Rubio or Cruz built? They have both, like the Clintons, been government creatures their whole lives.
    , @Leftist conservative
    the best is ever the enemy of the good
  15. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone’s taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn’t then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don’t acknowledge.

    • Replies: @Ed
    "Tonight" was originally in New York. The story I heard is that Johnny Carson moved it to Los Angeles to get away from some mafioso who were having some problem with him.

    The late night talk shows got into a rut of just featuring various Hollywood actors flacking their latest projects, plus some comedy routines. The move of "Tonight" back to New York might just help nudge them away from that.
    , @whorefinder

    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone’s taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn’t then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don’t acknowledge.
     
    Fallon's sh0w moved to NYC in part because of what happened to Conan.

    When Conan O'Brien first took over for Leno, he had been based in NYC, but made the decision to move his staff 3000 miles away to LA to be a good company man and make things easier for NBC by keeping the show/studios there and "to be closer to celebrities". The problem was many of Leno's folks and former staff were in LA, as was Leno himself, giving them the opportunity to badmouth Conan right behind his back, and get in the ears of the execs watching the show live. That led to Conan having a much quicker demise.

    When Fallon took over, he and his show deliberately made the choice to avoid LA, thus avoiding Leno's power base and have a Conan Part II debacle.

    Not to mention another major reason: Fallon's show is produced by Lorne Michaels, the guy who makes SNL, and who is based in NYC. Lorne, the control freak, wanted Fallon close enough that he could monitor both shows without hopping on a plane.

  16. @Anonymous

    A big part of Mitt Romney’s problems in 2012 was that his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction (i.e., laying workers off).
     
    I like the creative destruction that Trump's unleashed on the Republican Party and on political correctness.

    It’s the same for me as well. After all the criminal damage the neocons have done, and the endless needling of the political correct, it’s such a morale boost to witness the Aryan Vulgarian tear into both of them. Funny thing is I really couldn’t stand Trump until he ran for office.

  17. @Dignan
    I think you underestimate how many middle class and poor people know that Trump is a serial exaggerator (to be kind) but they like him because they don't think any better of the people he's running against. My barber told me yesterday that he knows Trump is a liar but so are all of those politicians he's running against and at least he's not another career politician.

    My barber also said he enjoyed Trump's campaign because of the pro wrestling aspect of it - the smack talk, finger pointing, etc. & how Cruz, Rubio etc are having to embrace Trump's tactics. He thought that it exposes the system for what it really is.

    My white collar friends and co-workers just reference President Camacho from Idiocracy.

    I think you underestimate how many middle class and poor people know that Trump is a serial exaggerator (to be kind) but they like him because they don’t think any better of the people he’s running against

    Trump’s Teflon is that with almost everything wrong with him, it’s even worse with the competition. E.g., Hillary’s threatening loose-lipped “bimbos”.

    His campaign slogan could be “Who are you to talk?”

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    The other thing is that we've all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I'd guess the average person is exposed to about five or six "boy who cried wolf" outrages of this sort every day. We're all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.
  18. Just last night I walked by Trump Tower and marveled at its beauty — also noticed the big TRUMP sign that is about ten stories up (the elite opinion makers here hated that sign but I kind of like it — at night it lights up and I think it adds a nice touch to the building.)

    Trump Tower in Chicago was used extensively for many scenes for the third Transformer movie. Here you can see it in the background (the human bad guy had an office and it is on fire) and a bunch of guys jump off of it (which they really did using mountain-style ‘flying’ suits):

  19. @Ttjy
    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn't recommend putting everything in t-bills?

    How do they know what he even had to invest in 86? Nobody seems to know what he is really worth now either.

    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn’t recommend putting everything in t-bills?

    Great. The first salvo in World War T-bill.

  20. @anony-mouse
    1/ Given the attention this blog has given to

    a/ the mortgage meltdown

    b/ Donald Trump

    I'm surprise there has been no attention given to the Trump Mortgage Co (2006-2008)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Mortgage

    A flop that was not the biggest cause of the meltdown but still.

    2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump's name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.

    And its not like he could build buildings abroad and ship them here. He was stuck building them in America (although not always with legal American workers)

    3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can't get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn't Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTgbQM_go2E

    4/ Can anyone explain why he started the 'risible' Trump University?

    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I’d support him. Trump is basically running on Pat’s platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog’s readers could support.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    The other Republicans are Jack Kemp. Trump is Cookie Gilchrist.

    I should stop with the Bills references, though, as after Kemp and Gilchrist came OJ Simpson... That doesn't bode well!
    , @rod1963
    You won't get that from them. Their job is to just smear Trump and create FUD.

    They don't get it for many of us, Trump is our collective middle-finger at the establishment that has betrayed our country and people for their 20 pieces of silver. The critics can say what they want, the fact they are screaming like stuck pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse is good enough for me at this point.

    Also given the fact that almost every element of our so-called society has it in for Trump, tells me I'm on the right side. All these groups, intellectuals, MSM organs, etc. Never lifted a finger for the country and instead rationalized it's gutting because some some executives and bankers living in the Hampton's or Greenwich got a bit wealthier in the name of neoliberalism.

    One other thing. Consider Trump a pressure relief valve of a sort. If that pressure is not allowed to vent, there is good chance of things going pear shaped for the establishment and it's supporting class. I just don't think there is anymore tolerance for crap by the elites, it's all too obvious now. This is why Trump is going like gang busters.

    , @anony-mouse
    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He's not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Here's another thing that causes me to lean toward Trump. There are several positions Republicans are supposed to take that I don't agree with, and even though Trump has to claim to agree with them, I don't believe him and that makes me like him better.

    For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he'll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn't talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do.

    Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he's pro-life, but I don't believe he's that concerned about it. I prefer that.
  21. @Reg Cæsar

    I think you underestimate how many middle class and poor people know that Trump is a serial exaggerator (to be kind) but they like him because they don’t think any better of the people he’s running against
     
    Trump's Teflon is that with almost everything wrong with him, it's even worse with the competition. E.g., Hillary's threatening loose-lipped "bimbos".

    His campaign slogan could be "Who are you to talk?"

    The other thing is that we’ve all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I’d guess the average person is exposed to about five or six “boy who cried wolf” outrages of this sort every day. We’re all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.

    • Replies: @whorefinder

    The other thing is that we’ve all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I’d guess the average person is exposed to about five or six “boy who cried wolf” outrages of this sort every day. We’re all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.
     
    Trump's really running a meta-campaign on these levels. He's mocking the PC-folks, baiting them, and then going so over the top outrageous they "literally can't even", making his fans roar and boosting him in the polls. And then he decided that if Obama could spend one night a week on the Daily Show and the The Tonight Show answering softball questions, he could do such nonsense better, since he's got more TV experience as a reality star.

    In other words, Trump's trolling. gloriously.
  22. Trump U?

    Was it taught by Tom Vu?

  23. “But a problem with this line of assault is that the landscape is full of giant buildings with Trump’s name on them, such as the 98-story Trump International Hotel and Tower on a great site on the Chicago River, which the Trump Organization managed to open in the teeth of the financial crisis in 2009. (The Chicago project was a storyline on Trump’s reality show The Apprentice.)

    “Voters tend to be impressed by the construction of tangible things, especially huge ones patronized by famously rich and demanding celebrities.”

    A TRUMP WALL is very tangible. It would be gaudy, to be sure. And yet, somehow many voters would appreciate it being there on the border.

    During the last debate, Trump made reference to the Great Wall of China and the reason it was built (‘to keep out…’) and it was over 2,500 miles long, and large portions of it are still standing.

    Yup, Trump Wall. Has a nice ring to it, and if done correctly, it too can be built to last.

  24. @education realist
    I was just reading an article recently--can't remember where--that sneered at Trump because he would have made more money if 30 years ago he'd just put it all in T-bills.

    That largely ignores the many jobs that Trump provided. So basically, he "spent" his money on America. The guy likes deals, he's always wanting more, and he often loses. But in the meantime, actual jobs--not consulting jobs, either--are available.

    The simplest version of the comparison seems to be that if Trump had taken his $40 million inheritance from his father in 1974, converted it into cash, and invested it in the S&P 500, reinvesting all dividends and spending no money along the way, he’d have about $2.3 billion or so today, depending on how you do the math. Bloomberg computes his actual net worth as $2.9 billion, so he’s modestly outperformed the S&P over his career, again depending on how you do the math. That, however, understates his performance. For one thing, if he put all his money in index funds and reinvested all the dividends for 41 years, he’d be dead, because you can’t buy food with reinvested dividends. As an investing strategy you can’t beat compound returns, but as a strategy for life food has key diversification benefits. Also I feel like Trump has unusually high consumption expenses? For instance, to choose one item at random, I gather that he is currently funding his own campaign for president. That would also eat into his returns.

    The public valuations of Trump’s assets may also not be quite apples-to-apples with a market value of the S&P 500. Bloomberg’s computation of Trump’s net worth basically takes the value of his buildings and golf courses; it “doesn’t value Trump’s brand beyond accounting for cash held in accounts for his licensing deals and business partnerships.” But of course the value of the S&P 500 doesn’t come from the value of its cash and buildings. It comes from expectations of future earnings. Trump claims that he’s worth more than $10 billion because of the value of his brand, which “goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.” That sounds silly when Trump says it about himself, but it is dead right about the S&P, which has had a whole lot of feelings recently. But ultimately its value comes from its claim on earnings, and the S&P price/earnings ratio is about 19.6. Just for laughs, put that multiple on Trump’s $300-million-ish of income and you get an organization worth about $6 billion.

    So it seems like Trump has outperformed the S&P 500 over his career. But the main line of criticism is that he has underperformed the S&P over some other, shorter period. Matthews says, “If you compare Trump’s performance since 1982, when the stock market started to take off after the early-’80s recession, it looks pretty abysmal.” If Trump had taken his 1982 net worth of $200 million, cashed it out, and put it all in an index fund with reinvested dividends, he (would again be dead of not eating, but his heirs) would have $6.3 billion today. Similarly, the Associated Press math has Trump cashing out his $1 billion net worth in 1988 — shortly after the 1987 stock market crash — and putting it in index funds worth $13 billion today.

    But of course saying that you should buy and hold index funds is very different from saying that you should build your wealth via private real estate entrepreneurship and then, at the start of a bull market, cash out and put all of your money in an index fund. Market timing is a skill. Comparing actual Donald Trump versus perfect-market-timer Donald Trump sets him up to lose, but it sets everyone up to lose. Trump’s 1999 net worth was $1.6 billion. If he had cashed out in December and put that money in the S&P, he’d be worth about $2.7 billion now, again without eating. He’s worth more. So you can roughly say that Trump outperformed the S&P from 1974 through 1987, underperformed from 1988 through 1999, and slightly outperformed since.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-03/should-donald-trump-have-indexed-

    • Replies: @JVO
    It's horseshit and everyone pushing this should know better. Forty years of smooth sailing, he just had to push the big follow-the-s&p button (in low tech 1974) for this large amount of money and there would have been no errors, slippages, unavoidable taxable distributions, commissions, management fees, whatever other fees.
    It's the kind of thing otherwise intelligent (or not) people say when they're extremely jealous of someone.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical when "Truth" brought it up, considering that Trump's father didn't pass away until 1999. Now I remember why: it helps make their math work, since it has him investing near the decade low, after the brutal 1973-1974 bear market (see tweet below).

    There are a few other problems with this. Where are they getting the $40 million from? Wiki has an estimated net worth of $250-$300 million for Fred Trump in 1999. If Fred Trump's fortune compounded at a 4% annual rate over the previous 25 years, it would have been ~$110 million in 1974; if it compounded at a higher percentage rate, it would have been less than that in 1974. If Fred Trump decided to give his kids an equal share all of his money in 1974, Trump's share would likely have been $22 million or less, not $40 million.

    Then there's the other obvious problem: Fred Trump was a real estate developer. Chances are, the bulk of his wealth was in real estate in 1974. Now, you might ask, couldn't Trump have sold his portion of the real estate if his father gave it to him, to invest it in the stock market, seeing that the stock market was in the toilet? Sounds great until you remember that the New York City real estate market was pretty bad then too, with the city's fiscal crisis (it almost went bankrupt the following year), stagflation, crime, etc.

    The whole thing is just complete b.s. If you're curious about the origin of these hypotheticals in general, they've long been a tool of mutual fund salesmen. The silliest one I remember hearing when I worked for a mutual fund company was someone saying you'd be better off putting $24 in the S&P 500 in 1626 instead of buying Manhattan with it. Never mind that the index itself wouldn't exist for another ~330 years.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/703882638197723136
  25. @Ivy
    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone's taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn't then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don't acknowledge.

    “Tonight” was originally in New York. The story I heard is that Johnny Carson moved it to Los Angeles to get away from some mafioso who were having some problem with him.

    The late night talk shows got into a rut of just featuring various Hollywood actors flacking their latest projects, plus some comedy routines. The move of “Tonight” back to New York might just help nudge them away from that.

  26. Jean-Marie Le Pen sent a tweet out today saying “if I were an American I’d vote for Donald TRUMP…. May God protect him!”

  27. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @anony-mouse
    1/ Given the attention this blog has given to

    a/ the mortgage meltdown

    b/ Donald Trump

    I'm surprise there has been no attention given to the Trump Mortgage Co (2006-2008)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Mortgage

    A flop that was not the biggest cause of the meltdown but still.

    2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump's name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.

    And its not like he could build buildings abroad and ship them here. He was stuck building them in America (although not always with legal American workers)

    3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can't get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn't Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTgbQM_go2E

    4/ Can anyone explain why he started the 'risible' Trump University?

    What you say is true.

    I just appreciate Trump as a ‘wrecker’.

    Another thing. The sleaze factor paradoxically protects him because there is no pretense of being respectable.

    This is how Howard Stern got away with so much stuff. Since he was shameless, you couldn’t tag him with anything. He’d just laugh and say So What?

    This is where Romney was vulnerable. He looked some perfect 1950s TV dad. So, the dirt on him made him look really dirty.

    Trump, like Clinton, wears his dirt on his sleeve.

    In another time, I would have been offended by Trump, and in some ways, still am.

    But this nation is so far on morals, decency, sanity, and etc., who cares?

    It’s just a matter of who can wreck the system better.

    The system needs to go.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Morally Trump puts LBJ and the Kennedys to shame, just the media didn't cover their 'colourful' backgrounds in those days.
  28. Romney had a “fire in the belly” problem (the lack thereof). Jeb had a similar deficiency. Or was it “low energy”?

    Trump seems quite robust in this area.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Romney had a “fire in the belly” problem (the lack thereof). Jeb had a similar deficiency. Or was it “low energy”?

    Trump seems quite robust in this area.
     
    That fire has its genesis in parts below the belly.
  29. @iSteveFan
    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I'd support him. Trump is basically running on Pat's platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog's readers could support.

    The other Republicans are Jack Kemp. Trump is Cookie Gilchrist.

    I should stop with the Bills references, though, as after Kemp and Gilchrist came OJ Simpson… That doesn’t bode well!

  30. Romney got rich on an updraft of easy Fed induced credit, that and the magic underwear of course.

  31. There has been a 30 year bull bond market, 20/20 hindsight.

  32. For all the rhetoric surrounding Trump University, apparently most of the students rated it very highly and did not consider it a scam university. http://www.98percentapproval.com/
    Besides, there’s no way it could be any worse than a Sociology or Gender Studies degree.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Of course it was a scam. Whether it's legally a scam or not will depend on what the courts decide. But there's an entire mature seminar industry of which Trump University was a part that is based on bogus promises and empty presentations for paying suckers. They're scams by any reasonable definition, but they try to avoid liability through agreements they have with their customers, and most people generally don't want to admit being suckers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYxHLhsRyTA
  33. @Ivy
    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone's taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn't then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don't acknowledge.

    The national focus on New York also got sharper when Jimmy Fallon took over at the Tonight Show after Jay Leno mercifully quit phoning it in from Burbank. The new show, although not to everyone’s taste, is much more attuned to a younger, more circumspect audience. Cause, effect, both, coincidence? In any event, people probably notice New York more now, and if they didn’t then Trump would speak louder. Many Americans really want to feel proud of their country, which the parties don’t acknowledge.

    Fallon’s sh0w moved to NYC in part because of what happened to Conan.

    When Conan O’Brien first took over for Leno, he had been based in NYC, but made the decision to move his staff 3000 miles away to LA to be a good company man and make things easier for NBC by keeping the show/studios there and “to be closer to celebrities”. The problem was many of Leno’s folks and former staff were in LA, as was Leno himself, giving them the opportunity to badmouth Conan right behind his back, and get in the ears of the execs watching the show live. That led to Conan having a much quicker demise.

    When Fallon took over, he and his show deliberately made the choice to avoid LA, thus avoiding Leno’s power base and have a Conan Part II debacle.

    Not to mention another major reason: Fallon’s show is produced by Lorne Michaels, the guy who makes SNL, and who is based in NYC. Lorne, the control freak, wanted Fallon close enough that he could monitor both shows without hopping on a plane.

  34. @Cagey Beast
    The other thing is that we've all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I'd guess the average person is exposed to about five or six "boy who cried wolf" outrages of this sort every day. We're all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.

    The other thing is that we’ve all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I’d guess the average person is exposed to about five or six “boy who cried wolf” outrages of this sort every day. We’re all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.

    Trump’s really running a meta-campaign on these levels. He’s mocking the PC-folks, baiting them, and then going so over the top outrageous they “literally can’t even”, making his fans roar and boosting him in the polls. And then he decided that if Obama could spend one night a week on the Daily Show and the The Tonight Show answering softball questions, he could do such nonsense better, since he’s got more TV experience as a reality star.

    In other words, Trump’s trolling. gloriously.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Everything about Trump is "meta".
  35. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    that’s an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don’t recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    • Replies: @anon
    besides batman and superman, I don’t recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    Besides Batman and Superman, you still don't see many from DC. Marvel puts out all the other ones. They put out a Punisher movie in the 80s, but it was such a bomb that maybe that scared them off.

    The 90s did have the X-Men cartoon, and the Batman cartoon, which I really loved. The character of Harley Quinn was actually created for the cartoon, and then brought into the comics and movies.

    I wish DC would try to put out a new Swamp Thing movie, but they'd probably screw it up as badly as they did the Green Lantern one.
    , @Anonym
    Comic book movies have become popular I think in part/mostly due to CGI being so effective these days. Batman could be done quite well with stunts earlier because Batman did not need to involve CGI. He doesn't have X-Ray vision nor can he shoot powers from his fingertips. He's just a gadget-loving vigilante.

    Superman (1978) was pretty cheesy, but worked quite well given the good cast. A lot of the more recent comic book movies have been done better than the earlier ones. Probably the directors have been better as well, along with exceptional casting. The Nolan brothers, Christian Bale, Michael Caine... every chance it's going to be an imdb 8+. Could they have made a Superman movie with 1978 technology and exceeded imdb 8+? My guess is they would have passed.

    I could be wrong though, there were some movies made in earlier eras with great special effects, Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner, even most of 2001. Maybe the Nolans could have done it, or Cameron, Ridley or McTiernan could have done it back in that era. Why didn't they?
    , @whorefinder
    Although Christopher Reeve's Superman and Burton's Batman were hits, they gradually succumbed to diminishing returns, ending in the hated Superman IV and Batman and Robin, respectively, which dragged steam out of a lot potential copycats (and the failure of Supergirl didn't help matters) .

    What's more, at the time each became a hit (Superman: 1978; Burton's Batman: 1989), other studios were not prepared with copycats; basically, studios believed that the reason Superman and Batman succeeded were due to the huge name recognition, and, in Batman's case, Burton's weird genius. The studios simply didn't have supero genre movies; they did have action movie genres, built around either common man (Dirty Harry, Die Hard, Commando) or weird scifi unknown to the audience before hand (Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, Predator).

    By the early 2000s, however, with old action-genre heroes too old, and the western thoroughly dead, studios were hungry for a genre with a formula that would reliably bring straight men to the theater. So they released X-Men and Spiderman to see if they could be forumlas. Spiderman worked better than X-Men, because it didn't require a number of high paid actors to fill the roles, but merely 1-2 (hero and villain). After seeing Spiderman in the theater, I remember thinking, "They set a template." Lo and behold, they followed it: every comic book movie since (besides Nolan's Batman) has followed Spiderman's formula, and made Marvel a mint.

    The superhero genre is brand new, an early 2000s invention.

  36. I have this nightmare that the GOP convention will go into extra periods, and finally be decided on penalty kicks.

    On the bright side, the other party’s convention might be hit by the Zika virus. They’ve already cornered the microcephalic vote.

  37. @Ttjy
    You can make that much in T-bills? Should I put all of my 401k in t-bills then? Vanguard doesn't recommend putting everything in t-bills?

    How do they know what he even had to invest in 86? Nobody seems to know what he is really worth now either.

    You can make that much in T-bills?
    Sure, get in your time machine, and set the controls for 1981. Try not to be hit by the VV(Volcker Vortex) or the tripling of oil prices the year before and buy those T-bills(I think they were paying >~18% fixed ) and hold on.

  38. “his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction”

    Yep, I remember seeing this ad:

    and thinking “it’s all over”.

    • Replies: @DCThrowback
    Great point and this was a great ad. David Stockman, in his must read book "The Great Deformation", dismantles Romney's time at Bain in a similar fashion; essentially the Federal Reserve's easy money policies + the tax effects of taking on leveraged debt allowed private equity firms to load up poor performers, puff up their numbers, then take them public...then allowing the greater fools to deal with the aftermath.
    , @Anonym
    That is a brilliant ad. I would say, what idiots the GOPe were to run Romney, and what an idiot Romney is to run with that record. However, the US did elect a community organizer for president with a lot of help from the media, so what do I know.
  39. @iSteveFan
    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I'd support him. Trump is basically running on Pat's platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog's readers could support.

    You won’t get that from them. Their job is to just smear Trump and create FUD.

    They don’t get it for many of us, Trump is our collective middle-finger at the establishment that has betrayed our country and people for their 20 pieces of silver. The critics can say what they want, the fact they are screaming like stuck pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse is good enough for me at this point.

    Also given the fact that almost every element of our so-called society has it in for Trump, tells me I’m on the right side. All these groups, intellectuals, MSM organs, etc. Never lifted a finger for the country and instead rationalized it’s gutting because some some executives and bankers living in the Hampton’s or Greenwich got a bit wealthier in the name of neoliberalism.

    One other thing. Consider Trump a pressure relief valve of a sort. If that pressure is not allowed to vent, there is good chance of things going pear shaped for the establishment and it’s supporting class. I just don’t think there is anymore tolerance for crap by the elites, it’s all too obvious now. This is why Trump is going like gang busters.

  40. @iSteveFan
    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I'd support him. Trump is basically running on Pat's platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog's readers could support.

    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He’s not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.

    • Replies: @iSteveFan
    How are those guys on immigration?
    , @Mr. Anon
    "I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second."

    Paul went out of his way to distance himself his Dad. I liked Rand Paul on a few issues, but he was too willing to sell his soul to make himself a more conventional mainstream Republican. Plus he went out of way to "win" the black vote, which was even less likely for him to do than for Sanders.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    You're missing it when you don't finish the sentence. Kasich isn't very strong on the law and order; is quite PC; except for the fracking industry ad the auto bailout, OH would still be at the low end of US job creation. Walker and Christie aren't running anymore.

    Paul? Really? Seriously? The enterprise zones in Detroit guy? That was one of his major policy platforms. Might as well start campaigning for Jeb! Oh wait, another failed candidacy. Seriously, Paul had no real support.

    Also, uh, how strong are Paul, Kasich, etc. on the question of immigration? See?

    We get it, you don't like Trump. And you may tend to believe that listing some of his less than stellar issues are going to sink his candidacy (though admittedly up to now it hasn't worked, perhaps one day it will).

    But, if we are to be consistent, you also have to mention the other side as well. You want to talk about Hillary's imperfections? Is she the ideal candidate for her party? Perhaps she is, but then again, is she the right candidate to win the presidency?

    It goes both ways.

    , @Harry Baldwin
    There's a lot I like about Rand Paul, but I didn't like his pandering to blacks and the Black Lives Matter movement. I also wouldn't trust him on immigration.
  41. Leftist conservative [AKA "Trump Kills Last Mosquito, Places Tiny Make America Great Hat On ZikaHead Baby"] says: • Website

    • Replies: @Anonym
    I was thinking the idea of that picture with the wall and Trump was that Trump was going to be the next Pope as well as the next president, when I realized that wall is not the Vatican wall. It would be funnier with that picture of Trump, and a big TRUMP logo photoshopped high up on what is obviously the Vatican wall.

    Because hey, Trump wasn't given much of a chance to win the nomination let alone the presidency. Who is to say he won't be Pope some day.
    , @epebble
    The reality of What a Donald Trump presidency might actually look like:

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-trump-presidency-20160228-story.html

    That seems to be less exciting than Schwarzenegger or Ventura administrations. My guess is that it will flame out like Carter administration.
  42. Trump is wrong about a lot of things. But Rubio said nothing, when asked, against women being drafted – that showed that he is not up to the standard of an average-testosterone American male. He lost millions of potential votes with that exercise of cowardice. Cruz would be right on every significant issue and I wish he would be the next president but he spent the first 30 to 40 years of his life in a self-indulgent fog of teacher’s pet arrogance. If he had spent even 18 months in the military, or at blue-collar summer jobs, he would have ditched the arrogance decades ago, but he didn’t. So now he is relatively unequipped to connect with the average voter; maybe in ten or twenty years he will figure that out, but for now, forget about it. Romney was even worse than Cruz – he had a decent Christian Mormon upbringing but he foolishly became, in the prideful years of his life, someone who performed , in the governor’s job he was given by fate, little better than a pro-choice Bean-town atheist governor would have performed, showing his contempt for the Lord as a liberal Massachusetts governor in a way that shocked people who understood what advantages he had had in life. He repented, but way too late – even a mostly uninformed electorate is wary of a man who is blessed with dozens of grandchildren but who clearly did not intellectually and philosophically grow up until his mid to late 50s.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Cruz would be right on every significant issue and I wish he would be the next president but he spent the first 30 to 40 years of his life in a self-indulgent fog of teacher’s pet arrogance. If he had spent even 18 months in the military, or at blue-collar summer jobs, he would have ditched the arrogance decades ago, but he didn’t.
     
    That's our leadership class (sic) in a nutshell.
  43. @anony-mouse
    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He's not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.

    How are those guys on immigration?

  44. @iSteveFan
    The problem with people listing all the negatives of Trump is that they give us no alternatives. Yes, Trump has skeletons. Yes, Trump has done stuff we are not proud of. He is a bragger, womanizer, etc.

    OK, fine. Now whom do you suggest we vote? Most people on this blog consider immigration to be the biggest single issue. What other candidate is going to tackle it? With Trump we get a slim chance of attacking this issue versus zero chance with the others.

    If Pat Buchanan were running, I'd support him. Trump is basically running on Pat's platform of immigration, trade and to some extent non-intervention.

    So if you are going to slam Trump, and in some cases rightly so, please give us an alternative that we could support with a straight face. Not one that a neocon could support. Not one that a progressive could support. But one that the majority of this blog's readers could support.

    Here’s another thing that causes me to lean toward Trump. There are several positions Republicans are supposed to take that I don’t agree with, and even though Trump has to claim to agree with them, I don’t believe him and that makes me like him better.

    For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he’ll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn’t talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do.

    Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he’s pro-life, but I don’t believe he’s that concerned about it. I prefer that.

    • Agree: Das
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he’ll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn’t talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do. Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he’s pro-life, but I don’t believe he’s that concerned about it. I prefer that."

    Agree. What has all that anti-abortion posing got anyone for the last thirty years?

    I suspect that Trump might be telling the truth about issues I care about, and I suspect he might be lying about the issues I don't care about. That's the best I'm likely to get, so I'll take it.

    Or as someone else put here said a few days ago: All the other candidates are promising to punch me in the face. Trump is not promising to punch me in the face. So I'll vote for Trump.
    , @jack o'fire

    Trump says he’s pro-life, but I don’t believe he’s that concerned about it. I prefer that.
     
    Exactly. If I could advise Trump about his stance on abortion I'd tell him to continue his message as is but always mention his commitment to family. He shows them off, they appear on TV for him. He is proud of them. What better way to counter the perception that he's weak on the matter.
  45. @Harry Baldwin
    Here's another thing that causes me to lean toward Trump. There are several positions Republicans are supposed to take that I don't agree with, and even though Trump has to claim to agree with them, I don't believe him and that makes me like him better.

    For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he'll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn't talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do.

    Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he's pro-life, but I don't believe he's that concerned about it. I prefer that.

    “For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he’ll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn’t talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do. Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he’s pro-life, but I don’t believe he’s that concerned about it. I prefer that.”

    Agree. What has all that anti-abortion posing got anyone for the last thirty years?

    I suspect that Trump might be telling the truth about issues I care about, and I suspect he might be lying about the issues I don’t care about. That’s the best I’m likely to get, so I’ll take it.

    Or as someone else put here said a few days ago: All the other candidates are promising to punch me in the face. Trump is not promising to punch me in the face. So I’ll vote for Trump.

  46. @anony-mouse
    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He's not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.

    “I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second.”

    Paul went out of his way to distance himself his Dad. I liked Rand Paul on a few issues, but he was too willing to sell his soul to make himself a more conventional mainstream Republican. Plus he went out of way to “win” the black vote, which was even less likely for him to do than for Sanders.

  47. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn’t, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you’ve spent much time with these people, you’ll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we’d have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck.

    And GUNS--most of all, guns! I know, I hang out with these guns.
    , @Anonymous
    You're right, but your example is actually way off. Harleys are terribly made and overpriced, and they've stayed in business by pushing high priced bikes to mid-life crisis yuppies. Working class white guys look for barn finds, old bikes you can pick up for a few hundred dollars in the winter and fix up.
    , @Olorin
    This is absolutely true.

    These are the guys--and even a good number of women--who staff the volunteer-run steam train museums and lines, the museums of radio, telecommunications, and computers, the museums of planes, farm equipment, dams/electrification, historic naval and merchant vessels, and so on.

    These are the Civilization Geeks. They can tell you concretely and with dollar signs and data points why Treasury-class high endurance cutters were the most cost effective naval vessels ever built, and where they were built, and by whom, and for what reasons.

    They can tell you why the Hiawatha beaver-tail observation car was the best passenger train observation car ever built, and why the Big Boy locomotive is worth driving a thousand miles to see in operation.

    They can stand before the NASA mission control console in the Seattle Boeing Museum of Flight, and tell you what switches were used in it, for what uses, and how that related to various challenges in various missions, and how they were solved.

    Any dozen of them know more about civilization and how it works than any 50,000 college professors who got their tenured jobs in "critical theory," and they've devoted their entire lives to keeping civilization running for everyone.

    These are the people who create the wealth that parasites lust to attach themselves to...and get bashed for doing so. They are also the people expected to pay the bill for those who are tearing down civilization and replacing it with r-breeding-strategy, Space To Destroy, violent nonviolence Dindunomics.

    , @Winthorp
    This is right on the mark and casts Trump's wall and slogan in a brilliant light. Each of these guys probably has an image of what kind of wall they'd build, how they'd go about it. If the construction was happening in the neighborhood, sure as hell they'd stand around and observe. Some years hence they'll watch cable TV documentaries about the titanic undertaking. Warms my heart, actually.
  48. @anony-mouse
    1/ Given the attention this blog has given to

    a/ the mortgage meltdown

    b/ Donald Trump

    I'm surprise there has been no attention given to the Trump Mortgage Co (2006-2008)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Mortgage

    A flop that was not the biggest cause of the meltdown but still.

    2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump's name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.

    And its not like he could build buildings abroad and ship them here. He was stuck building them in America (although not always with legal American workers)

    3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can't get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn't Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTgbQM_go2E

    4/ Can anyone explain why he started the 'risible' Trump University?

    “2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump’s name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.”

    But some of them clearly were his projects.

    How many buildings have Rubio or Cruz built? They have both, like the Clintons, been government creatures their whole lives.

  49. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @polynikes
    that's an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don't recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    besides batman and superman, I don’t recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    Besides Batman and Superman, you still don’t see many from DC. Marvel puts out all the other ones. They put out a Punisher movie in the 80s, but it was such a bomb that maybe that scared them off.

    The 90s did have the X-Men cartoon, and the Batman cartoon, which I really loved. The character of Harley Quinn was actually created for the cartoon, and then brought into the comics and movies.

    I wish DC would try to put out a new Swamp Thing movie, but they’d probably screw it up as badly as they did the Green Lantern one.

  50. ISn’t Paul Ryan an open borders type or at least a squish. I think he has the crazy libertarian no borders thing

    • Replies: @anon
    Paul Ryan was recorded as saying "America is a thing that does not stop at our borders." He is one of the globalist enemy.
  51. @Phil
    The simplest version of the comparison seems to be that if Trump had taken his $40 million inheritance from his father in 1974, converted it into cash, and invested it in the S&P 500, reinvesting all dividends and spending no money along the way, he'd have about $2.3 billion or so today, depending on how you do the math. Bloomberg computes his actual net worth as $2.9 billion, so he's modestly outperformed the S&P over his career, again depending on how you do the math. That, however, understates his performance. For one thing, if he put all his money in index funds and reinvested all the dividends for 41 years, he'd be dead, because you can't buy food with reinvested dividends. As an investing strategy you can't beat compound returns, but as a strategy for life food has key diversification benefits. Also I feel like Trump has unusually high consumption expenses? For instance, to choose one item at random, I gather that he is currently funding his own campaign for president. That would also eat into his returns.

    The public valuations of Trump's assets may also not be quite apples-to-apples with a market value of the S&P 500. Bloomberg's computation of Trump's net worth basically takes the value of his buildings and golf courses; it "doesn’t value Trump’s brand beyond accounting for cash held in accounts for his licensing deals and business partnerships." But of course the value of the S&P 500 doesn't come from the value of its cash and buildings. It comes from expectations of future earnings. Trump claims that he's worth more than $10 billion because of the value of his brand, which "goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings." That sounds silly when Trump says it about himself, but it is dead right about the S&P, which has had a whole lot of feelings recently. But ultimately its value comes from its claim on earnings, and the S&P price/earnings ratio is about 19.6. Just for laughs, put that multiple on Trump's $300-million-ish of income and you get an organization worth about $6 billion.

    So it seems like Trump has outperformed the S&P 500 over his career. But the main line of criticism is that he has underperformed the S&P over some other, shorter period. Matthews says, "If you compare Trump's performance since 1982, when the stock market started to take off after the early-'80s recession, it looks pretty abysmal." If Trump had taken his 1982 net worth of $200 million, cashed it out, and put it all in an index fund with reinvested dividends, he (would again be dead of not eating, but his heirs) would have $6.3 billion today. Similarly, the Associated Press math has Trump cashing out his $1 billion net worth in 1988 -- shortly after the 1987 stock market crash -- and putting it in index funds worth $13 billion today.

    But of course saying that you should buy and hold index funds is very different from saying that you should build your wealth via private real estate entrepreneurship and then, at the start of a bull market, cash out and put all of your money in an index fund. Market timing is a skill. Comparing actual Donald Trump versus perfect-market-timer Donald Trump sets him up to lose, but it sets everyone up to lose. Trump's 1999 net worth was $1.6 billion. If he had cashed out in December and put that money in the S&P, he'd be worth about $2.7 billion now, again without eating. He's worth more. So you can roughly say that Trump outperformed the S&P from 1974 through 1987, underperformed from 1988 through 1999, and slightly outperformed since.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-03/should-donald-trump-have-indexed-

    It’s horseshit and everyone pushing this should know better. Forty years of smooth sailing, he just had to push the big follow-the-s&p button (in low tech 1974) for this large amount of money and there would have been no errors, slippages, unavoidable taxable distributions, commissions, management fees, whatever other fees.
    It’s the kind of thing otherwise intelligent (or not) people say when they’re extremely jealous of someone.

  52. Off/On Topic:

    Buffet released his famous annual letter today. In it he makes the astounding assertion that American families and children are doing better today than ever. To prove this he brings out stats on how Americans were doing in 1907. Of course he only talks about GDP stats, nothing of social problems or crime.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    1907?

    That's the year before the Model T came out ...

  53. @Harry Baldwin
    Here's another thing that causes me to lean toward Trump. There are several positions Republicans are supposed to take that I don't agree with, and even though Trump has to claim to agree with them, I don't believe him and that makes me like him better.

    For example, in the last debate Rubio and Cruz were pledging their unwavering support for Israel. Trump says he'll be the best friend Israel ever had, but he doesn't talk about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that sort of extreme stuff like the others do.

    Rubio and Cruz are fanatically anti-abortion. Trump says he's pro-life, but I don't believe he's that concerned about it. I prefer that.

    Trump says he’s pro-life, but I don’t believe he’s that concerned about it. I prefer that.

    Exactly. If I could advise Trump about his stance on abortion I’d tell him to continue his message as is but always mention his commitment to family. He shows them off, they appear on TV for him. He is proud of them. What better way to counter the perception that he’s weak on the matter.

  54. @jimmyriddle
    "his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction"

    Yep, I remember seeing this ad:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVqi8fuPDs

    and thinking "it's all over".

    Great point and this was a great ad. David Stockman, in his must read book “The Great Deformation”, dismantles Romney’s time at Bain in a similar fashion; essentially the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies + the tax effects of taking on leveraged debt allowed private equity firms to load up poor performers, puff up their numbers, then take them public…then allowing the greater fools to deal with the aftermath.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My favorite was when a big private equity company went public.
  55. @Leftist conservative
    http://i.imgur.com/LPtLiN9.jpg

    I was thinking the idea of that picture with the wall and Trump was that Trump was going to be the next Pope as well as the next president, when I realized that wall is not the Vatican wall. It would be funnier with that picture of Trump, and a big TRUMP logo photoshopped high up on what is obviously the Vatican wall.

    Because hey, Trump wasn’t given much of a chance to win the nomination let alone the presidency. Who is to say he won’t be Pope some day.

  56. @anony-mouse
    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He's not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.

    You’re missing it when you don’t finish the sentence. Kasich isn’t very strong on the law and order; is quite PC; except for the fracking industry ad the auto bailout, OH would still be at the low end of US job creation. Walker and Christie aren’t running anymore.

    Paul? Really? Seriously? The enterprise zones in Detroit guy? That was one of his major policy platforms. Might as well start campaigning for Jeb! Oh wait, another failed candidacy. Seriously, Paul had no real support.

    Also, uh, how strong are Paul, Kasich, etc. on the question of immigration? See?

    We get it, you don’t like Trump. And you may tend to believe that listing some of his less than stellar issues are going to sink his candidacy (though admittedly up to now it hasn’t worked, perhaps one day it will).

    But, if we are to be consistent, you also have to mention the other side as well. You want to talk about Hillary’s imperfections? Is she the ideal candidate for her party? Perhaps she is, but then again, is she the right candidate to win the presidency?

    It goes both ways.

  57. @anony-mouse
    I was assuming people here would go for Paul the second. He's not his Dad (people make kids not copies) but still. Also Kasich, Walker, and the Fat Man.

    There’s a lot I like about Rand Paul, but I didn’t like his pandering to blacks and the Black Lives Matter movement. I also wouldn’t trust him on immigration.

  58. @Bill P

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
     
    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn't, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you've spent much time with these people, you'll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we'd have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.

    They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck.

    And GUNS–most of all, guns! I know, I hang out with these guns.

  59. Leftist conservative [AKA "Trump Kills Last Mosquito, Places Tiny Make America Great Hat On ZikaHead Baby"] says: • Website
    @anony-mouse
    1/ Given the attention this blog has given to

    a/ the mortgage meltdown

    b/ Donald Trump

    I'm surprise there has been no attention given to the Trump Mortgage Co (2006-2008)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Mortgage

    A flop that was not the biggest cause of the meltdown but still.

    2/ A substantial number number of the buildings with Trump's name on them have about as much to do with him as the George Foreman grills have to do with George Foreman.

    And its not like he could build buildings abroad and ship them here. He was stuck building them in America (although not always with legal American workers)

    3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can't get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn't Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTgbQM_go2E

    4/ Can anyone explain why he started the 'risible' Trump University?

    the best is ever the enemy of the good

  60. @polynikes
    that's an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don't recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    Comic book movies have become popular I think in part/mostly due to CGI being so effective these days. Batman could be done quite well with stunts earlier because Batman did not need to involve CGI. He doesn’t have X-Ray vision nor can he shoot powers from his fingertips. He’s just a gadget-loving vigilante.

    Superman (1978) was pretty cheesy, but worked quite well given the good cast. A lot of the more recent comic book movies have been done better than the earlier ones. Probably the directors have been better as well, along with exceptional casting. The Nolan brothers, Christian Bale, Michael Caine… every chance it’s going to be an imdb 8+. Could they have made a Superman movie with 1978 technology and exceeded imdb 8+? My guess is they would have passed.

    I could be wrong though, there were some movies made in earlier eras with great special effects, Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner, even most of 2001. Maybe the Nolans could have done it, or Cameron, Ridley or McTiernan could have done it back in that era. Why didn’t they?

  61. @jimmyriddle
    "his business career, while no doubt energetic and cognitively demanding, mostly involved intangible financial abstractions and what PR people like to call creative destruction"

    Yep, I remember seeing this ad:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVqi8fuPDs

    and thinking "it's all over".

    That is a brilliant ad. I would say, what idiots the GOPe were to run Romney, and what an idiot Romney is to run with that record. However, the US did elect a community organizer for president with a lot of help from the media, so what do I know.

  62. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill P

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
     
    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn't, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you've spent much time with these people, you'll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we'd have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.

    You’re right, but your example is actually way off. Harleys are terribly made and overpriced, and they’ve stayed in business by pushing high priced bikes to mid-life crisis yuppies. Working class white guys look for barn finds, old bikes you can pick up for a few hundred dollars in the winter and fix up.

  63. We need to pay more attention to tangible things. We’ve abstracted ourselves right up our own asses and out of a country.

    Thank you, Steve, for pointing out the tangible evidence of Donald Trump’s ability and desire to do actual work. It’s a line of thinking I’ve had for a while.

  64. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Obamadon_Imbecilis
    For all the rhetoric surrounding Trump University, apparently most of the students rated it very highly and did not consider it a scam university. http://www.98percentapproval.com/
    Besides, there's no way it could be any worse than a Sociology or Gender Studies degree.

    Of course it was a scam. Whether it’s legally a scam or not will depend on what the courts decide. But there’s an entire mature seminar industry of which Trump University was a part that is based on bogus promises and empty presentations for paying suckers. They’re scams by any reasonable definition, but they try to avoid liability through agreements they have with their customers, and most people generally don’t want to admit being suckers.

  65. @polynikes
    that's an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don't recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    Although Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Burton’s Batman were hits, they gradually succumbed to diminishing returns, ending in the hated Superman IV and Batman and Robin, respectively, which dragged steam out of a lot potential copycats (and the failure of Supergirl didn’t help matters) .

    What’s more, at the time each became a hit (Superman: 1978; Burton’s Batman: 1989), other studios were not prepared with copycats; basically, studios believed that the reason Superman and Batman succeeded were due to the huge name recognition, and, in Batman’s case, Burton’s weird genius. The studios simply didn’t have supero genre movies; they did have action movie genres, built around either common man (Dirty Harry, Die Hard, Commando) or weird scifi unknown to the audience before hand (Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, Predator).

    By the early 2000s, however, with old action-genre heroes too old, and the western thoroughly dead, studios were hungry for a genre with a formula that would reliably bring straight men to the theater. So they released X-Men and Spiderman to see if they could be forumlas. Spiderman worked better than X-Men, because it didn’t require a number of high paid actors to fill the roles, but merely 1-2 (hero and villain). After seeing Spiderman in the theater, I remember thinking, “They set a template.” Lo and behold, they followed it: every comic book movie since (besides Nolan’s Batman) has followed Spiderman‘s formula, and made Marvel a mint.

    The superhero genre is brand new, an early 2000s invention.

    • Agree: Travis
  66. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    Trump has operated at the level of the tangible in more ways than just putting up big shiny celebrity hives.

    I hang with a lot of guys with construction or trades businesses.

    One of the reasons they really like DJT is that they expect him to understand their own frustrations grappling with out-of-date or crumbling infrastructure, trying to build new things that connect with that infrastructure, being eager to start new or renovation infrastructure projects and facing nothing but barriers, and so on.

    They also hate the fact that the dindus are destroying perfectly good infrastructure everywhere they are planted, and most of them have seen things they’ve built get destroyed in just this way.

    There is an eff-ton of deferred maintenance on civilization, and guys who know how to get that work done are tired of being sent to Dubai (etc.) instead.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "One of the reasons they really like DJT is that they expect him to understand their own frustrations grappling with out-of-date or crumbling infrastructure, trying to build new things that connect with that infrastructure, being eager to start new or renovation infrastructure projects and facing nothing but barriers, and so on."

    Excellent point. Trump can relate better with common blue collar workers than ever Kasich and Rubio. Both men continually bring up the fact that their parents came from humble beginnings as if that should give them bonus points for caring about the frustrations of ordinary folks. But how's that been working out?

    Kasich has spent his entire adult life working in DC. He hasn't been anywhere near a construction site or factory. Neither has Rubio been anywhere near maids and bartenders. Why should they continually get free passes just because their parents did these jobs?

    Kasich never "created" jobs and he certainly never ran a tangible business that blue collar workers can relate to.
  67. @Bill P

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
     
    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn't, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you've spent much time with these people, you'll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we'd have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.

    This is absolutely true.

    These are the guys–and even a good number of women–who staff the volunteer-run steam train museums and lines, the museums of radio, telecommunications, and computers, the museums of planes, farm equipment, dams/electrification, historic naval and merchant vessels, and so on.

    These are the Civilization Geeks. They can tell you concretely and with dollar signs and data points why Treasury-class high endurance cutters were the most cost effective naval vessels ever built, and where they were built, and by whom, and for what reasons.

    They can tell you why the Hiawatha beaver-tail observation car was the best passenger train observation car ever built, and why the Big Boy locomotive is worth driving a thousand miles to see in operation.

    They can stand before the NASA mission control console in the Seattle Boeing Museum of Flight, and tell you what switches were used in it, for what uses, and how that related to various challenges in various missions, and how they were solved.

    Any dozen of them know more about civilization and how it works than any 50,000 college professors who got their tenured jobs in “critical theory,” and they’ve devoted their entire lives to keeping civilization running for everyone.

    These are the people who create the wealth that parasites lust to attach themselves to…and get bashed for doing so. They are also the people expected to pay the bill for those who are tearing down civilization and replacing it with r-breeding-strategy, Space To Destroy, violent nonviolence Dindunomics.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    Well put! These are also the guys that feel lost in a economy driven by finance and not by production.
  68. @Bill P

    The basis of Trump’s success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.
     
    Working class white guys absolutely love craftsmanship. If they didn't, Harley Davidson would have gone out of business long ago.

    If you've spent much time with these people, you'll find that their favorite topics of conversation are not sports and beer, but rather beautiful machines and buildings. They never fail to have an opinion on a bridge, a tower, a plane, a car or a truck. If you think about it, without these people we'd have none of these things. There are some profound implications there.

    This is right on the mark and casts Trump’s wall and slogan in a brilliant light. Each of these guys probably has an image of what kind of wall they’d build, how they’d go about it. If the construction was happening in the neighborhood, sure as hell they’d stand around and observe. Some years hence they’ll watch cable TV documentaries about the titanic undertaking. Warms my heart, actually.

    • Replies: @Winthorp
    White working class men have been consuming cable TV documentaries on mega-construction projects for years, as if in preparation for the purpose to which they are now being called.

    Trump says we're going to build a wall, media react with disbelief. They react with: "Here's how I'd do it."
  69. @Name Withheld
    Off/On Topic:

    Buffet released his famous annual letter today. In it he makes the astounding assertion that American families and children are doing better today than ever. To prove this he brings out stats on how Americans were doing in 1907. Of course he only talks about GDP stats, nothing of social problems or crime.

    1907?

    That’s the year before the Model T came out …

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    There was book review piece in the FT last weekend ( http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/80c3164e-d644-11e5-8887-98e7feb46f27.html ) that said that the biggest increase in incomes and productivity in the US was from 1870 to 1970, and if progress had continued at the same rate until now, average incomes in the US would be > $90k instead of ~$50k.
  70. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    “These calculations ignore that he’s also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.”

    As opposed to Warren Buffet who lives in a modest home in Omaha of all places.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    no he doesn't.

    people like buffet are worse liars than trump and that's a good example.

    buffet owns a house in Nebraska and spins a cute story about being the Oracle of Omaha etc etc.

    but lol if you think be actually lives there all winter and not in his plutocrat mansions in Laguna Beach, etc.
  71. @Winthorp
    This is right on the mark and casts Trump's wall and slogan in a brilliant light. Each of these guys probably has an image of what kind of wall they'd build, how they'd go about it. If the construction was happening in the neighborhood, sure as hell they'd stand around and observe. Some years hence they'll watch cable TV documentaries about the titanic undertaking. Warms my heart, actually.

    White working class men have been consuming cable TV documentaries on mega-construction projects for years, as if in preparation for the purpose to which they are now being called.

    Trump says we’re going to build a wall, media react with disbelief. They react with: “Here’s how I’d do it.”

  72. @Steve Sailer
    These calculations ignore that he's also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it.

    By the way, I think there's a subconscious connection between Trump's current popularity and how 9/11 made people feel solidarity with New Yorkers, with Trump as the rest of the country's image of a New Yorker.

    Post 9/11, Americans seem to be prouder of New York's gaudiness than they were before. It helps explain some of the popularity of superhero movies, such as Spider-Man in 2002.

    The basis of Trump's success was betting big on New York in the late 1970s. His optimism succeeded because of all the wealth generated in intangible ways on Wall Street from 1982 onward. But Trump represents wealth that everybody can understand and identify with: building big beautiful buildings.

    Everybody has managed a home improvement project or two, so we can understand that putting up huge buildings where the fit and finish are good enough for celebrities must be a difficult job.

    It’s not just subconscious. Trump made the connection in one of the debates, when Ted Cruz brought up New York values. Trump talked about the values he saw in New York after 9/11 (of course, that wasn’t limited to New Yorkers; Americans from all over came to help).

  73. @Anon
    What you say is true.

    I just appreciate Trump as a 'wrecker'.

    Another thing. The sleaze factor paradoxically protects him because there is no pretense of being respectable.

    This is how Howard Stern got away with so much stuff. Since he was shameless, you couldn't tag him with anything. He'd just laugh and say So What?

    This is where Romney was vulnerable. He looked some perfect 1950s TV dad. So, the dirt on him made him look really dirty.

    Trump, like Clinton, wears his dirt on his sleeve.

    In another time, I would have been offended by Trump, and in some ways, still am.

    But this nation is so far on morals, decency, sanity, and etc., who cares?

    It's just a matter of who can wreck the system better.

    The system needs to go.

    Morally Trump puts LBJ and the Kennedys to shame, just the media didn’t cover their ‘colourful’ backgrounds in those days.

  74. @Phil
    The simplest version of the comparison seems to be that if Trump had taken his $40 million inheritance from his father in 1974, converted it into cash, and invested it in the S&P 500, reinvesting all dividends and spending no money along the way, he'd have about $2.3 billion or so today, depending on how you do the math. Bloomberg computes his actual net worth as $2.9 billion, so he's modestly outperformed the S&P over his career, again depending on how you do the math. That, however, understates his performance. For one thing, if he put all his money in index funds and reinvested all the dividends for 41 years, he'd be dead, because you can't buy food with reinvested dividends. As an investing strategy you can't beat compound returns, but as a strategy for life food has key diversification benefits. Also I feel like Trump has unusually high consumption expenses? For instance, to choose one item at random, I gather that he is currently funding his own campaign for president. That would also eat into his returns.

    The public valuations of Trump's assets may also not be quite apples-to-apples with a market value of the S&P 500. Bloomberg's computation of Trump's net worth basically takes the value of his buildings and golf courses; it "doesn’t value Trump’s brand beyond accounting for cash held in accounts for his licensing deals and business partnerships." But of course the value of the S&P 500 doesn't come from the value of its cash and buildings. It comes from expectations of future earnings. Trump claims that he's worth more than $10 billion because of the value of his brand, which "goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings." That sounds silly when Trump says it about himself, but it is dead right about the S&P, which has had a whole lot of feelings recently. But ultimately its value comes from its claim on earnings, and the S&P price/earnings ratio is about 19.6. Just for laughs, put that multiple on Trump's $300-million-ish of income and you get an organization worth about $6 billion.

    So it seems like Trump has outperformed the S&P 500 over his career. But the main line of criticism is that he has underperformed the S&P over some other, shorter period. Matthews says, "If you compare Trump's performance since 1982, when the stock market started to take off after the early-'80s recession, it looks pretty abysmal." If Trump had taken his 1982 net worth of $200 million, cashed it out, and put it all in an index fund with reinvested dividends, he (would again be dead of not eating, but his heirs) would have $6.3 billion today. Similarly, the Associated Press math has Trump cashing out his $1 billion net worth in 1988 -- shortly after the 1987 stock market crash -- and putting it in index funds worth $13 billion today.

    But of course saying that you should buy and hold index funds is very different from saying that you should build your wealth via private real estate entrepreneurship and then, at the start of a bull market, cash out and put all of your money in an index fund. Market timing is a skill. Comparing actual Donald Trump versus perfect-market-timer Donald Trump sets him up to lose, but it sets everyone up to lose. Trump's 1999 net worth was $1.6 billion. If he had cashed out in December and put that money in the S&P, he'd be worth about $2.7 billion now, again without eating. He's worth more. So you can roughly say that Trump outperformed the S&P from 1974 through 1987, underperformed from 1988 through 1999, and slightly outperformed since.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-03/should-donald-trump-have-indexed-

    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical when “Truth” brought it up, considering that Trump’s father didn’t pass away until 1999. Now I remember why: it helps make their math work, since it has him investing near the decade low, after the brutal 1973-1974 bear market (see tweet below).

    There are a few other problems with this. Where are they getting the $40 million from? Wiki has an estimated net worth of $250-$300 million for Fred Trump in 1999. If Fred Trump’s fortune compounded at a 4% annual rate over the previous 25 years, it would have been ~$110 million in 1974; if it compounded at a higher percentage rate, it would have been less than that in 1974. If Fred Trump decided to give his kids an equal share all of his money in 1974, Trump’s share would likely have been $22 million or less, not $40 million.

    Then there’s the other obvious problem: Fred Trump was a real estate developer. Chances are, the bulk of his wealth was in real estate in 1974. Now, you might ask, couldn’t Trump have sold his portion of the real estate if his father gave it to him, to invest it in the stock market, seeing that the stock market was in the toilet? Sounds great until you remember that the New York City real estate market was pretty bad then too, with the city’s fiscal crisis (it almost went bankrupt the following year), stagflation, crime, etc.

    The whole thing is just complete b.s. If you’re curious about the origin of these hypotheticals in general, they’ve long been a tool of mutual fund salesmen. The silliest one I remember hearing when I worked for a mutual fund company was someone saying you’d be better off putting $24 in the S&P 500 in 1626 instead of buying Manhattan with it. Never mind that the index itself wouldn’t exist for another ~330 years.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical...
     
    Anybody that remembers 1974 knows exactly why. As you pointed out, Dave, starting out with 1974 is common for any snake oil salesman pitching some indexed product. It's a market bottom. You will soon see 2009 used for similar purposes.
    , @EriK

    The whole thing is just complete b.s.
     
    Exactly right Dave.
  75. @DCThrowback
    Great point and this was a great ad. David Stockman, in his must read book "The Great Deformation", dismantles Romney's time at Bain in a similar fashion; essentially the Federal Reserve's easy money policies + the tax effects of taking on leveraged debt allowed private equity firms to load up poor performers, puff up their numbers, then take them public...then allowing the greater fools to deal with the aftermath.

    My favorite was when a big private equity company went public.

  76. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Realist
    "These calculations ignore that he’s also spent a lot of money on living large. He could have lived in a hut and saved all his money, but he seems to have had a pretty good time spending it."

    As opposed to Warren Buffet who lives in a modest home in Omaha of all places.

    no he doesn’t.

    people like buffet are worse liars than trump and that’s a good example.

    buffet owns a house in Nebraska and spins a cute story about being the Oracle of Omaha etc etc.

    but lol if you think be actually lives there all winter and not in his plutocrat mansions in Laguna Beach, etc.

  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical when "Truth" brought it up, considering that Trump's father didn't pass away until 1999. Now I remember why: it helps make their math work, since it has him investing near the decade low, after the brutal 1973-1974 bear market (see tweet below).

    There are a few other problems with this. Where are they getting the $40 million from? Wiki has an estimated net worth of $250-$300 million for Fred Trump in 1999. If Fred Trump's fortune compounded at a 4% annual rate over the previous 25 years, it would have been ~$110 million in 1974; if it compounded at a higher percentage rate, it would have been less than that in 1974. If Fred Trump decided to give his kids an equal share all of his money in 1974, Trump's share would likely have been $22 million or less, not $40 million.

    Then there's the other obvious problem: Fred Trump was a real estate developer. Chances are, the bulk of his wealth was in real estate in 1974. Now, you might ask, couldn't Trump have sold his portion of the real estate if his father gave it to him, to invest it in the stock market, seeing that the stock market was in the toilet? Sounds great until you remember that the New York City real estate market was pretty bad then too, with the city's fiscal crisis (it almost went bankrupt the following year), stagflation, crime, etc.

    The whole thing is just complete b.s. If you're curious about the origin of these hypotheticals in general, they've long been a tool of mutual fund salesmen. The silliest one I remember hearing when I worked for a mutual fund company was someone saying you'd be better off putting $24 in the S&P 500 in 1626 instead of buying Manhattan with it. Never mind that the index itself wouldn't exist for another ~330 years.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/703882638197723136

    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical…

    Anybody that remembers 1974 knows exactly why. As you pointed out, Dave, starting out with 1974 is common for any snake oil salesman pitching some indexed product. It’s a market bottom. You will soon see 2009 used for similar purposes.

  78. @Dave Pinsen
    I was wondering why they used 1974 as a starting point for this hypothetical when "Truth" brought it up, considering that Trump's father didn't pass away until 1999. Now I remember why: it helps make their math work, since it has him investing near the decade low, after the brutal 1973-1974 bear market (see tweet below).

    There are a few other problems with this. Where are they getting the $40 million from? Wiki has an estimated net worth of $250-$300 million for Fred Trump in 1999. If Fred Trump's fortune compounded at a 4% annual rate over the previous 25 years, it would have been ~$110 million in 1974; if it compounded at a higher percentage rate, it would have been less than that in 1974. If Fred Trump decided to give his kids an equal share all of his money in 1974, Trump's share would likely have been $22 million or less, not $40 million.

    Then there's the other obvious problem: Fred Trump was a real estate developer. Chances are, the bulk of his wealth was in real estate in 1974. Now, you might ask, couldn't Trump have sold his portion of the real estate if his father gave it to him, to invest it in the stock market, seeing that the stock market was in the toilet? Sounds great until you remember that the New York City real estate market was pretty bad then too, with the city's fiscal crisis (it almost went bankrupt the following year), stagflation, crime, etc.

    The whole thing is just complete b.s. If you're curious about the origin of these hypotheticals in general, they've long been a tool of mutual fund salesmen. The silliest one I remember hearing when I worked for a mutual fund company was someone saying you'd be better off putting $24 in the S&P 500 in 1626 instead of buying Manhattan with it. Never mind that the index itself wouldn't exist for another ~330 years.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/703882638197723136

    The whole thing is just complete b.s.

    Exactly right Dave.

  79. While not minimizing the risk and effort it takes to develop 1000 foot luxury residential towers I think Trump’s preservation and renovation of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s magnificent estate, Mar a Lago was a wonderful achievement. I recall Steve Sailer writing a piece on the difficulty he had doing this too.

    The said reality is that many of the great mansions built by America’s wealthiest families have either had to be torn down ( few of today’s rich can afford to maintain them) or turned into museums ( the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Hearst Estates) Mar a Lago is an actual club where, if you can afford it ( I can’t) you can reside just as a house guest of Mrs. Post and her husband , E.F. Hutton would have 80 years ago!

    • Replies: @res

    The said reality is that many of the great mansions built by America’s wealthiest families have either had to be torn down ( few of today’s rich can afford to maintain them) or turned into museums ( the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Hearst Estates) Mar a Lago is an actual club where, if you can afford it ( I can’t) you can reside just as a house guest of Mrs. Post and her husband , E.F. Hutton would have 80 years ago!
     
    This is a great Trump example. Taking an existing, valuable, but degraded asset and renewing it using the market. Contrast that to the other examples you gave which only work financially because (I believe) they were donated and generally don't have to pay their own way (admission fees vs. maintenance). I wonder how a financial analysis of those estates taking into account all costs (e.g. the initial tax deduction) to the government would pencil out. One counterpoint, those of us who can't afford Mar a Lago can tour those other estates.

    I just wonder if it is possible to do something similar for our infrastructure without major negative consequences for accessibility.
  80. @Anonymous
    ISn't Paul Ryan an open borders type or at least a squish. I think he has the crazy libertarian no borders thing

    Paul Ryan was recorded as saying “America is a thing that does not stop at our borders.” He is one of the globalist enemy.

  81. Reform Bid Said to Be a No-Go for Trump

    The new interim head of the Reform Party, Pat Choate, described Mr. Trump as a “hustler” last night, and said he had never believed that Mr. Trump had any interest beyond promoting himself and a new book that happened to be published at exactly the time he started his light schedule of campaign travel.

    “Donald Trump came in, promoted his hotels, he promoted his book, he promoted himself at our expense, and I think he understands very fully that we’ve ended the possibilities for such abuse of our party,” Mr. Choate said. “We’re taking our party back to our very principles, and exploiters such as Donald Trump will not be able to exploit us again — and he realizes it.”

    “We saw no evidence that he was a serious candidate at all,” Mr. Choate said. “All this was, was a serious hustle of the media, and I think the media should send him a massive bill on it.”

    Mr. Trump apparently anticipated such speculation — which, in fact, is fairly common in political circles — and in his statement went out of his way to say that this was more than a frolic. “For those who suggest that this has just been a promotion, I want to strongly deny that,” he said.

    He said that although his book and his businesses had probably benefited from the exposure his campaign generated, “I did not launch my exploratory campaign for that reason.”

    Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.

    “The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” he said in his statement. “This is not company I wish to keep.”

    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/politics/camp/021400wh-ref-trump.html

  82. @Olorin
    Trump has operated at the level of the tangible in more ways than just putting up big shiny celebrity hives.

    I hang with a lot of guys with construction or trades businesses.

    One of the reasons they really like DJT is that they expect him to understand their own frustrations grappling with out-of-date or crumbling infrastructure, trying to build new things that connect with that infrastructure, being eager to start new or renovation infrastructure projects and facing nothing but barriers, and so on.

    They also hate the fact that the dindus are destroying perfectly good infrastructure everywhere they are planted, and most of them have seen things they've built get destroyed in just this way.

    There is an eff-ton of deferred maintenance on civilization, and guys who know how to get that work done are tired of being sent to Dubai (etc.) instead.

    “One of the reasons they really like DJT is that they expect him to understand their own frustrations grappling with out-of-date or crumbling infrastructure, trying to build new things that connect with that infrastructure, being eager to start new or renovation infrastructure projects and facing nothing but barriers, and so on.”

    Excellent point. Trump can relate better with common blue collar workers than ever Kasich and Rubio. Both men continually bring up the fact that their parents came from humble beginnings as if that should give them bonus points for caring about the frustrations of ordinary folks. But how’s that been working out?

    Kasich has spent his entire adult life working in DC. He hasn’t been anywhere near a construction site or factory. Neither has Rubio been anywhere near maids and bartenders. Why should they continually get free passes just because their parents did these jobs?

    Kasich never “created” jobs and he certainly never ran a tangible business that blue collar workers can relate to.

  83. @whorefinder

    The other thing is that we’ve all had our sense of outrage numbed by two things over the last few years:

    1) The seemingly endless string of goofball publicity stunts by supposedly serious and respectable politicians. Obama is the undisputed master of this but there are so many imitators.

    2) The literally endless amount of politically correct screeching and shaming we all get hit with anytime we interact with the media or web. I’d guess the average person is exposed to about five or six “boy who cried wolf” outrages of this sort every day. We’re all totally numb to it now. Only the teenage girls and gays can manage the level of moral hysteria demanded of us.
     
    Trump's really running a meta-campaign on these levels. He's mocking the PC-folks, baiting them, and then going so over the top outrageous they "literally can't even", making his fans roar and boosting him in the polls. And then he decided that if Obama could spend one night a week on the Daily Show and the The Tonight Show answering softball questions, he could do such nonsense better, since he's got more TV experience as a reality star.

    In other words, Trump's trolling. gloriously.

    Everything about Trump is “meta”.

  84. @Olorin
    This is absolutely true.

    These are the guys--and even a good number of women--who staff the volunteer-run steam train museums and lines, the museums of radio, telecommunications, and computers, the museums of planes, farm equipment, dams/electrification, historic naval and merchant vessels, and so on.

    These are the Civilization Geeks. They can tell you concretely and with dollar signs and data points why Treasury-class high endurance cutters were the most cost effective naval vessels ever built, and where they were built, and by whom, and for what reasons.

    They can tell you why the Hiawatha beaver-tail observation car was the best passenger train observation car ever built, and why the Big Boy locomotive is worth driving a thousand miles to see in operation.

    They can stand before the NASA mission control console in the Seattle Boeing Museum of Flight, and tell you what switches were used in it, for what uses, and how that related to various challenges in various missions, and how they were solved.

    Any dozen of them know more about civilization and how it works than any 50,000 college professors who got their tenured jobs in "critical theory," and they've devoted their entire lives to keeping civilization running for everyone.

    These are the people who create the wealth that parasites lust to attach themselves to...and get bashed for doing so. They are also the people expected to pay the bill for those who are tearing down civilization and replacing it with r-breeding-strategy, Space To Destroy, violent nonviolence Dindunomics.

    Well put! These are also the guys that feel lost in a economy driven by finance and not by production.

  85. @Anon7
    Romney had a "fire in the belly" problem (the lack thereof). Jeb had a similar deficiency. Or was it "low energy"?

    Trump seems quite robust in this area.

    Romney had a “fire in the belly” problem (the lack thereof). Jeb had a similar deficiency. Or was it “low energy”?

    Trump seems quite robust in this area.

    That fire has its genesis in parts below the belly.

  86. @middle aged vet
    Trump is wrong about a lot of things. But Rubio said nothing, when asked, against women being drafted - that showed that he is not up to the standard of an average-testosterone American male. He lost millions of potential votes with that exercise of cowardice. Cruz would be right on every significant issue and I wish he would be the next president but he spent the first 30 to 40 years of his life in a self-indulgent fog of teacher's pet arrogance. If he had spent even 18 months in the military, or at blue-collar summer jobs, he would have ditched the arrogance decades ago, but he didn't. So now he is relatively unequipped to connect with the average voter; maybe in ten or twenty years he will figure that out, but for now, forget about it. Romney was even worse than Cruz - he had a decent Christian Mormon upbringing but he foolishly became, in the prideful years of his life, someone who performed , in the governor's job he was given by fate, little better than a pro-choice Bean-town atheist governor would have performed, showing his contempt for the Lord as a liberal Massachusetts governor in a way that shocked people who understood what advantages he had had in life. He repented, but way too late - even a mostly uninformed electorate is wary of a man who is blessed with dozens of grandchildren but who clearly did not intellectually and philosophically grow up until his mid to late 50s.

    Cruz would be right on every significant issue and I wish he would be the next president but he spent the first 30 to 40 years of his life in a self-indulgent fog of teacher’s pet arrogance. If he had spent even 18 months in the military, or at blue-collar summer jobs, he would have ditched the arrogance decades ago, but he didn’t.

    That’s our leadership class (sic) in a nutshell.

  87. @unit472
    While not minimizing the risk and effort it takes to develop 1000 foot luxury residential towers I think Trump's preservation and renovation of Marjorie Merriweather Post's magnificent estate, Mar a Lago was a wonderful achievement. I recall Steve Sailer writing a piece on the difficulty he had doing this too.

    The said reality is that many of the great mansions built by America's wealthiest families have either had to be torn down ( few of today's rich can afford to maintain them) or turned into museums ( the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Hearst Estates) Mar a Lago is an actual club where, if you can afford it ( I can't) you can reside just as a house guest of Mrs. Post and her husband , E.F. Hutton would have 80 years ago!

    The said reality is that many of the great mansions built by America’s wealthiest families have either had to be torn down ( few of today’s rich can afford to maintain them) or turned into museums ( the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Hearst Estates) Mar a Lago is an actual club where, if you can afford it ( I can’t) you can reside just as a house guest of Mrs. Post and her husband , E.F. Hutton would have 80 years ago!

    This is a great Trump example. Taking an existing, valuable, but degraded asset and renewing it using the market. Contrast that to the other examples you gave which only work financially because (I believe) they were donated and generally don’t have to pay their own way (admission fees vs. maintenance). I wonder how a financial analysis of those estates taking into account all costs (e.g. the initial tax deduction) to the government would pencil out. One counterpoint, those of us who can’t afford Mar a Lago can tour those other estates.

    I just wonder if it is possible to do something similar for our infrastructure without major negative consequences for accessibility.

  88. 3/ Given that Trump hires foreigners for his Palm Beach Resorts because he can’t get Americans to do those hot-weather seasonal jobs doesn’t Steve owe an apology to all those farmers he criticized in the past for doing the same.

    Which farmer staked his campaign on closing the borders, again (or loudly endorsed Trump)? ‘Cause he’d be fine by me.

    Agree. What has all that anti-abortion posing got anyone for the last thirty years?

    Everybody with any sense knows it’s a pose. It’s like everyone understands that nothing’s going to be done, so why spend political capital on it?

    that’s an interesting thought on superhero movies. besides batman and superman, I don’t recall many in the 80s and 90s.

    Special effects have come a long way since then.

    Anon: there was a Swamp Thing movie in the 80s, IIRC. Darkman was a comic book/superhero movie, if not directly based on a comic. As was Robocop. Flash Gordon started as a comic IIRC, they made that movie in the 80s. There were more, I’m sure. There were several more in this thematic space, like Buckaroo Banzai and Big Trouble in Little China. There were lots of small comic flops later, especially in the 90s. Tank Girl, Barbed Wire, etc.

    Morally Trump puts LBJ and the Kennedys to shame

    If you bring up the fact that the Kennedys were bootleggers libs act like it’s ancient history.

  89. @Leftist conservative
    http://i.imgur.com/LPtLiN9.jpg

    The reality of What a Donald Trump presidency might actually look like:

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-trump-presidency-20160228-story.html

    That seems to be less exciting than Schwarzenegger or Ventura administrations. My guess is that it will flame out like Carter administration.

  90. @Steve Sailer
    1907?

    That's the year before the Model T came out ...

    There was book review piece in the FT last weekend ( http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/80c3164e-d644-11e5-8887-98e7feb46f27.html ) that said that the biggest increase in incomes and productivity in the US was from 1870 to 1970, and if progress had continued at the same rate until now, average incomes in the US would be > $90k instead of ~$50k.

  91. Trump is alpha. End of story. All the others like Romney lack cajones. I think Christie has a pair though.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS