Essex column: Trump won’t look out for you
October 1, 2016
I've wondered why so many people think that a self-proclaimed billionaire New York real estate investor and developer would stand up for the interests of the ordinary American.
The fact is, of course, that he won't. Donald Trump is interested in elevating himself, in his own glory and riches. We should expect no less from a businessman who plasters his name on his properties, feels the need to tell us he has "a very good brain" and has stopped giving money to his own "charitable" foundation. (Which makes illegal political donations and improperly paid for a portrait of Trump to be placed in one of his properties.)
If debate watchers were listening closely last week, they heard him say in his own words how much he cares about the average working stiff.
The topic was bringing back jobs.
"Let's stop for a second here and remember where we were eight years ago," Hillary Clinton said. "We had the worst financial crisis, the worst since the 1930s, in large part because of the policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street and created a perfect storm. In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said back in 2006, 'Gee, I hope it does collapse because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.' Well, it did collapse."
Trump couldn't contain himself.
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"That's called business, by the way," he interjected.
Clinton then correctly pointed out that "9 million people lost their jobs, 5 million people lost their homes and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out."
That's just business to a rich guy who can turn a buck or a million on it.
Just like it's business when you profit when your casinos are failing:
"Even as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well," the New York Times found.
"He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen."
And yet millions of voters are betting the future of America on this supposed business acumen.
On the matter of taxes, almost all of us pay them. We don't know if Trump does because he makes phony excuses to not do what every presidential nominee has done for the last 40 years and release his tax returns.
Nobody cares for taxes, but they are how our roads are built, how our schools are built and run, how our military is financed, how our police are equipped and paid, and so much more. Few of us can afford the accountants and lawyers needed to avoid paying something that resembles our fair share. Most of us, at some level, recognize that taxes are necessary.
Let's turn again to the debate and another instance in which Trump couldn't hold his tongue while Clinton talked about his refusal to release his returns:
"Maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes because the only years that anybody has ever seen were a couple of years when had he to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax. So _"
Said the man with the "very good brain," "That makes me smart."
No, it doesn't. It makes you rich and irresponsible. Rich people can avoid taxes if they don't care about their country.
The anger that Trump has ridden to the Republican nomination is fueled in part by that rich-guy attitude that includes the notion that it's smart to use your wealth to get out of paying for those basic services that make our country a good place to live.
As disgusting as it is that Trump openly judges women by their appearance and slammed one of his beauty pageant winners for gaining weight — and then doubled and tripled down on the old insult in a childish Twitter rant — the cavalier disdain evident in these two interjections show his truest colors.
He's the guy who, defending a cruel attack on the parents of a fallen U.S. soldier, said he'd made lots of sacrifices. Like the sacrifice he made in winning $150,000 in 9/11 recovery money for an undamaged building he owned not far from the Twin Towers.
That's his track record. In his own words, he says it was good business to cheer for a collapse that set back the lives and future security of many of the people who now think he will represent their interests better than the woman who was largely responsible for insuring 8 million American children.
Trump doesn't give a crap about you, about the poor, about inner-city blacks, about anyone but himself. He is a selfish child in need of attention, affirmation and adoration. To trust him to lead us is to trust an adolescent with your car and your money.
Randy Essex is publisher and editor of the Post Independent.
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