Donald Trump’s announcement to run for President of the United States on June 6, 2015 was a colossal shock for much of the American public. His appeal to many Americans is his promise to lead the country like a CEO leads a business, not like a career politician. Trump claims he has been successful in business and understands how to fix America’s problems. Let’s unpack some of the details.
In 1968, Trump earned an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He then joined his father in their family business of real estate which is now known as The Trump Organization. Trump has often claimed that he is a self-made man; critics say it is not true because he was given a $14 million dollar loan from his father to start his professional career. It is important to remember, however, that even though Trump had a head start in his career, that does not mean he was not diligent and hardworking.
Through the years there is no question Trump has created a successful empire. BusinessWeek reported that last year alone the company earned $608 million dollars in revenue which yielded $325 million dollars in profits. The majority of earnings is from real estate transactions. Trump’s holdings include office properties, hotels and golf courses. In fact, he owns properties in nine states and seven countries; the majority of which is in New York. One of his famous hotels, The Trump International Hotel and Tower, has been a five star property since 2001. And his golf course in Scotland, The Trump Turnberry, is one of the most elite courses in the world. In the past Trump was invested in casinos, but all are now closed resulting in millions of debt.
Being that the majority of Trump’s business interests are private, their success (or lack of) is not public information. However, the New York Times recently released tax information from his 1995 tax return showing The Trump Organization lost $916 million. Because of this, Trump does not have to pay income tax for at least the next 18 years. When criticized on the matter, Trump responded with “that makes me smart.”
Is it time to put a business mogul ahead of a politician? Trump thinks so and has gone on record saying, “I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line. Perhaps it’s time America was run like a business.” Now it is time for the American people to decide.