Donald Trump loves to tout his experience in the private sector and his campaign suggests that it will allow him to work miracles for the US economy. His supporters are impressed by the massive profits he reports. However, there are important distinctions to be made among types of profit. On the one hand, there are high returns on capital investments by any means necessary. On the other hand there is what Charles Koch refers to, in a book by the same name, as good profit. This distinction may mean that Trump lands closer to Hillary on economic matters than he would like you believe.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment on Trump’s resume is the transformation of the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into a new business called the Grand Hyatt. But how did Trump manage such a feat? It helped that he received a little bit of favoritism from then-mayor Abraham Beame. It also didn’t hurt that he was able to exploit New York’s urban development system to leave taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses. What Trump certainly did not do was create superior value for customers, utilize efficient innovations, or conduct himself with integrity.
What’s more, Donald doesn’t fall far from the tree. Donald’s father, Fred Trump, scored his biggest development contracts thanks to government subsidies. Leaning on government institutions like the Federal Housing Administration allowed Trump to pass his risk on to taxpayers. Once again, great personal profits but not good profit.
Trump’s style isn’t a breathe of fresh air. It stinks of the same-old Washington kleptocracy. Consider the similarities between the deals that made the Trump family rich and the 2011 Solyndra scandal. Solyndra received over $500 million thanks to Obama’s administration for a start-up solar company. It was a risky allocation of taxpayer money and when the company failed, it was the taxpayers who got burned.
Our economy does not need more of the same. We need someone who believes that society can be made better by mutual benefit, not government picked winners and losers. We need to believe that, by working together, we can all be winners. When Americans go to the voting booth this time, they need to elect a candidate who doesn’t represent the oligarchy. No such candidate will come from either of the major parties. If there is to be any meaningful change in the US economic climate, it will have to come from a third party.
Thankfully, we have a libertarian candidate in the running. As the 29th Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson got government out of the way by utilizing his veto power in an unprecedented way. Within his first six months in office, Johnson blocked over 200 new pieces of legislation. The results speak for themselves. The unemployment rate declined throughout most of Johnson’s eight years in office. When he left, official unemployment was about one percentage point lower than when he took office and about on par with the national average. However, if you ask Johnson he’ll tell you that he didn’t create a single job while in office. That’s because he understands that people working together for mutual benefit create jobs, not government.
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