I hear often that people may not like what one of our US Presidential candidates says about people, but at least he is a business leader and knows finances. Are we really sure about that, as the evidence I see from policy statements, comments and history seems to run counter to that argument? Yes, he is a successful sales person, but business is littered with sales people who have been disasters as business managers. The key reason are the skills that made them great sales people do not often translate to management.
Most financial experts and pundits view Brexit as a poor move on the UK’s part. The financial reaction to markets, currency, budgets, real estate, etc. that is already happening is a sign of headwinds in the future. Many companies who placed Europe headquarters and plants in the UK are considering moving them. It will only get worse should Scotland and/ or Northern Ireland leave the UK. Yet, there was Donald Trump in Scotland, saying how a great a thing Brexit is the day following. He did not even bother to note where he was standing, as Scotland voted to stay in the EU if they could.
Also puzzling is Trump’s tax plan. As measured by the Tax Foundation and other tax expert organizations, his tax plan would increase our $19 Trillion debt by almost $12 Trillion over the next ten years, a more than 60% increase. It should be also noted he has said he will eliminate the debt in eight years. How? With an annual budget of $4 Trillion, how do you plan to do that with a $12 Trillion debt increase. How would you do it without it, is a more realistic question, which he has no answer for. Maybe we should take him at his word, as he has told us “I know taxes better than anyone. Better than anyone in history.” Even if that was the case, it is his math I am concerned about.
Further, his stance against globalization runs counter to what business and GOP leaders advocate for. While people have lost jobs over the last 35 years, it is due to a variety of factors, including technology, outsourcing, offshoring, downsizing, industry obsolescence, etc. Business has always chased cheaper labor and will continue to do so. The key worry should be technology as new manufacturing plants in the US do not have three thousand workers, they have three hundred.
But, like Brexit, what is not factored in is the number of foreign companies who have their North American headquarters and plants in the US. These plants employ American workers. So, globalization arguments must look holistically at the pros and cons, so we can avoid the mistake of a Brexit decision. Trump should know this as he has taken great advantage of cheaper labor from abroad. Yet, he does not want to tell the whole story as it does not fit easily on a bumper sticker.
So, we should look at the man’s history. His companies have taken advantage of the bankruptcy process on four occasions. He will say many companies do that, but many do not do it four times, and companies the size of his tend not to do it all. But, his judgment on other businesses is something to look at with several failures that did not go the bankruptcy route. He likes to counter the three class action court cases alleging misrepresentation by him and Trump University as the students were satisfied per surveys. The surveys were taken early in the process, but let me ask if Trump University was so successful, why is it not still in business?
Trump is a successful business man, but I would not deem him to be a good leader of people or business. Good leaders deflect credit to others, while poor leaders tend to pat themselves on the back too much. It is all me. How many times have we heard him say how smart he is and how stupid others are? Back to the math, he said if he was President, the Supreme Court decision against Texas’ abortion clinic laws which led to closures, would have been the other way around with the justice he would appoint. Mr. Trump, the decision was 5 to 3. You would have still lost. And, so we will we, if this candidate with all of his bigotry, ego, thin-skin and financial skills wins.