By Nomi Prins | 16 September 2018
TOM DISPATCH (THE NATION INSTITUTE) — There’s a clear pattern to Donald Trump’s life. Put simply: He gets away with it. Yes, sometimes (but not usually) he has to pay a penalty, but generally he has a knack for leaving others holding the bag. He’s stiffed untold numbers of people (plumbers, painters, cabinet-makers, waiters, lawyers, bartenders) whom he hired to do something — almost anything — for him; he stiffed undocumented immigrants who worked for him; he stiffed the students of Trump University (until they got a $25 million settlement); he stiffed American workers at his Mar-a-Lago and other private clubs, hiring cheaper foreign guest workers instead; and above all, the most successful businessman of all time (by his own account) took down five casinos in Atlantic City as his business empire of that moment crashed and burned — and somehow he came away with the money, leaving his investors holding the bag and his casino workers losing millions of dollars in retirement savings. As the New York Times put it, “[E]ven as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. 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.”
In other words, there’s a record of “success” that Donald Trump brought to the presidency. The only real question is: When things begin to go badly for this country, who will he stiff this time? It’s not unreasonable to assume that, as with so many previous crews enamored of The Donald, he’s taking this country and his base, in particular, for the ride of their lives and when this particular roller coaster goes down, who will go down with it? Based on his history so far, not him. Or for the first time in his life — and think about this as you read the latest piece by TomDispatch regular Nomi Prins, author most recently of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World — could Donald Trump be stiffing not just us, but himself? Tom
The Donald in Wonderland
Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With President Trump
By Nomi Prins
Once upon a time, there was a little-known energy company called Enron. In its 16-year life, it went from being dubbed America’s most innovative company by Fortune Magazine to being the poster child of American corporate deceit. Using a classic recipe for book-cooking, Enron ended up in bankruptcy with jail time for those involved. Its shareholders lost $74 billion in the four years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2001.
A decade ago, the flameout of my former employer, Lehman Brothers, the global financial firm, proved far more devastating, contributing as it did to a series of events that ignited a global financial meltdown. Americans lost an estimated $12.8 trillion in the havoc.
Despite the differing scales of those disasters, there was a common thread: Both companies used financial tricks to make themselves appear so much healthier than they actually were. They both faked the numbers, thanks to off-the-books or offshore mechanisms and eluded investigations … until they collapsed. […]