Friday, February 26, 2016

Fact Checking The Donald

I watched the incredibly depressing Republican spitball mean debate last night. Insults were hurled back and forth and towels were snapped. But finally, someone confronted Donald on the biggest scam of his entire personna: the whole concept of what a brilliant business man he is. Yes, he's a billionaire, but he never admits that he started off on third base--the son of a man who was worth $200 million. Rubio nailed him on this last night, and Donald exploded.

The Washington Post fact checker checked into this...

“I took $1 million and I turned into $10 billion.”
— Trump

Trump lowballs one number and highballs the other. Trump has suggested he got his start when he obtained a $1 million loan from his father. “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,” he told NBC in October, which he claimed he had pay back with interest. “A million dollars isn’t very much compared to what I built.”

But that ignores the fact that he joined his father’s thriving real estate business after college and that he relied on his father’s connections as he made his way in the real estate world. Nor does it count the estimated $40 million he received as an inheritance in 1974.

(Note: Rubio at one point in the debate said Trump inherited $200 million. That’s believed to be the value of the father’s company, but Trump had to split it with his four siblings.)

Many experts doubt he is really worth as much as $10 billion. Bloomberg News pegged his net worth at $2.9 billion, based on an analysis of his personal financial disclosure form.

Max Ehrenfreund of The Washington Post’s Wonkblog documented that Trump’s business performance was actually relatively poor given the massive real estate assets that he inherited from his father. Citing an independent evaluation, Business Week put Trump’s net worth at $100 million in 1978. Ehrenfreund said that had Trump gotten out of real estate entirely, put his money in an index fund based on the S&P 500 and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth twice as much — $6 billion — today.

Don't get me wrong. He still has to do things the other candidates don't (make payrolls, create budgets, etc). But lets see how the rest of us would have done with the same advantages. Suddenly it's not so impressive, is it?