Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glass houses?

Unless you've been living under a rock (or busy throwing one at a glass house), you know that Donald Trump is an unofficial presidential hopeful in 2012. Lately, the Donald has been garnering lots of attention for preparing to tell Barack Obama "You're fired" and pissing off most of the country along the way. I get it. These guy shows up with his bad hair, not a lick of political experience and attacks the incumbent. Not a way to make friends.

I was ignoring most of this because it's typical political bullshit. Every election (and pretty much every day in between) is a giant smear campaign. Nobody gets elected on merit anymore. It's all about making "the other guy" look more incompetent, inept and generally like a lower class person. Politics are where the flaws meet the magnifying glass these days. Gone are the days of finding the right man for the job. It's always about the lesser of two evils. It's shame that we can't find the right person, but rather, the one who is not as bad.

I took notice today, however, when I saw people attacking Trump's character and credentials to be president over his financial woes in the past. It is true that bankruptcy was a part of Trump's life in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009, but let's keep things in perspective. Trump didn't buy a car he couldn't afford. He didn't run up $30,000 in unsecured credit card debt. He didn't file for personal bankruptcy because he can't manage his finances or balance a checkbook.

In each case, it was corporate bankruptcy and, further, Chapter 11 which provides immediate relief from oppressive debt and allows a company the opportunity to reorganize. This is different Chapter 7, under which the company ceases to operate. What does this mean? It means that in Trump's deals he accrued debt and used Chapter 11, created by the federal government, not Trump, to negotiate debt deals. He's not running a startup company that can be bootstrapped. These are super expensive real estate and land deals with high value investors.

So because we've associated the word bankruptcy with Donald Trump, he's unfit financially to run the country at one of it's peaks of national debt. Has anyone decided to finish the story and realize that after each of those filings, his companies not only survived, but did very well?

If a man can take something on the brink of extinction and successfully negotiate existing US laws (without being fraudulent like, say, WorldCom, Tyco, Global Crossing, Enron, Adelphia) and create opportunity, capital and success, then isn't he actually MORE fit to run the country while it's in financial straits?

I'm not saying I'd vote for Donald Trump for president. I'm not even saying you need to entertain the idea of voting for Donald Trump for president. All I'm saying is that you should spend more time promoting your guy and less time pulling down the other. If you have to be negative, maybe it's because your guy doesn't have any redeeming qualities of his own.

Maybe it's not about your guy at all. Maybe you don't like Trump - fair enough. I, frankly, couldn't care less what you feel about him. The fact remains that the average US household has almost $15,000 in credit card debt at 14.73% for a total of $2.4 trillion dollars in consumer debt. So, where exactly do you get off criticizing Donald Trump about owning these companies, using the laws as they are intended and making these companies even better?

I suppose the Trump thing is a vehicle for the real message. Tell the truth. Don't lie. Tell the whole truth. Don't leave parts out. Tell nothing but the truth. Don't add or fabricate where convenient. If the guy sucks, then let it be known, but don't skew facts to make your point. It undermines your credibility. It strengthens your opponent. Overall, you look like an idiot.

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