Saturday, March 2, 2024

Champion of Working Men and Women?

Trump’s track record with unions isn’t as simple as he’d like to paint it. Though he spent much of the 2016 campaign railing against free trade deals and neoliberal economic policies that contributed to the decline of the American manufacturing sector and the outsourcing of blue-collar jobs, that’s just about the limit of his union-friendly perspective. As president, he sided with capital and managerial interests over labor at nearly every turn, appointing corporate-friendly lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board, supporting right-to-work laws that limited union organizing and dues collections in Republican states, and promising to veto the PRO Act, a bill that would override those state laws and boost labor organizing rights. Even at his rally, he talked up the tax cuts he passed in 2017, without mentioning that they disproportionately benefited corporations and corporate leaders.

- Christian Paz, Vox, September 28, 2023

Donald Trump likes to portray himself as a champion of the working class, and an astute businessman.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  However, Trump's supporters don't care about the facts.  They support him out of raw emotion, fueled by fear.  The facts do not resonate with those who have been fed a steady diet of lies from Fox News, although moderate Republicans and independents may be persuaded not to vote for Trump.

A 15,000-word New York Times report contradicted Trump's portrayal of himself as self-made billionaire who built up his fortune from a $1 million loan from his father, Fred Trump.  According to the 2018 Times report,  Trump and his father evaded gift and inheritance taxes by establishing a sham corporation and undervaluing assets.  In other words, they committed outright fraud.

According to The New York Times, ex-President Donald Trump procured at least $413 million from his father through the years, much of it from tax dodges.  The Times' information on the Trump finances was obtained  from over 100,000 pages of financial documents, including private tax returns.

If you think Trump is a clever businessman, think again!  Trump has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six times for his companies.  This has been fact-checked buy The Washington Post.  During the 1980s, Trump was considered to be a dashing real estate investor.  When the state of New Jersey legalized gambling, Trump made a huge bet that Atlantic City would enjoy prosperity.  Accordingly, he obtained possession of three casinos, The Taj Mahal, the Trump Plaza and the Trump Castle, which by 1991 couldn't pay their debts.  By 1992, they had all declared bankruptcy.  

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows companies to restructure or wipe out much their debt to other companies, creditors and shareholders while remaining in business under the management of a bankruptcy court.
Trump's debt was restructured, not liquidated.  

In November of 1992, A fourth property, the Plaza Hotel in New York, also declared bankruptcy after accumulating millions in debt.  A 49 per cent stake in the luxury hotel was given to Citibank and five other lenders.  Trump remained chief executive, but without being paid.  His role in the everyday operations of the hotel was taken away.  

Trump married his second wife, Marla Maples, at the swank property, overlooking Manhattan's Central Park.  According to Newsweek, Trump officially relinquished ownership of the Plaza Hotel in 1995.  He sold it for $325 million, losing around $83 million in the change of ownership;

Trump's three casino bankruptcies occurred during the recession of the early 1990s and the Gulf War, which further exacerbated the difficulties in Atlantic City's gambling industry.  After 1992, Trump placed his casino holdings into a new company called Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts.  It went bankrupt in 2004, after amassing $1.8 billion in debt.  Trump Entertainment Resorts, the company that emerged from that restructuring declared bankruptcy in 2009 after being hit by the 2008 recession.  

Trump has never filed personal bankruptcy, only corporate bankruptcy associated with his business dealings.  He claims that he has never gone bankrupt, which is probably a half-truth.  However, the way his current legal woes are mounting, he may be forced to declare personal bankruptcy as he struggles to pay the $454 million he owes from his New York fraud trial.

It is a total fallacy that Donald Trump is a champion of working men and women.  Would a champion of the working man support tax breaks for billionaires?  During the recent autoworkers strike, it was President Joe Biden who stood alongside the picketers.  Biden became the first sitting president of the United States to join a picket line.  

- Joanne

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