The Billionaire

Thinking about yesterday’s NYT article on Trump’s taxes, it appears that not only is Trump not a billionaire, he’s hardly even a businessman. He has two enterprises – his image as a businessman, and cheating on taxes.

He doesn’t own the assets that make him appear wealthy, his businesses do. He doesn’t buy his haircuts or dinners, he invests in businesses that take a loss on them.

He’s hardly even a millionaire, given that his assets mainly exist to pay his personal expenses, his profits almost zero out, and his personal debt of $300 million far outweighs his profit.

On the whole the Trump Organization is a grift, a fake, an illusion, a con. It only appears to be a legit business because of the scale of the lie.

Update: Forbes makes the case that his assets are still at least $1B > his debt:

In fact, Trump is a multibillionaire, worth $2.5 billion, by our count. His portfolio, which includes commercial buildings, golf properties and branding businesses, is worth an estimated $3.66 billion before debt. The president has a fair amount of leverage—adding up to a roughly $1.13 billion—but not enough to drag his net worth below a billion dollars.

3 thoughts on “The Billionaire

  1. What percent does he own of those properties? What percent does he own of his own companies, especially after sent and all other liabilities are netted out? This is the homework NYT still can improve upon … Factor in dollar cost averaging, and scale guys investment return to today’s dollars (or rubles, if you prefer), then finish him off with net profit or loss, how he did vs CPI, and whether he’d have done better investing his money in CDs, S&P 500, or a competitor, such as Hilton.

    1. I basically agree with your angle on questioning their calculations, though I’m not sure whether to defer to the authority of the writer, who is more or less a specialist and has more time to put in.

      About whether he’d have done better investing elsewhere, he started with $400M from his father 40 years ago. Forbes argues that he’s now worth a bit more than 2B, which is about 5X. The Nasdaq grew 24X in that period. All Trump had to do was nothing and he’d have made much more money.

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