Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Trump's Obfiscation of Income?

It seems that every time Mr. Trump refers to how much he earns, that the figure is not only highly impressive. While on the disclosure finance form he reported that he made $557 million last year, in September he revised the figure during a debate. He verbally reported that he earned more than $694 million, just over $1.9 million per day.

As evidenced by his two ice rinks it seems he has the Midas touch. He reported that the two rinks he earned him more than $13 million in personal income. The gross income must be staggering, and extrapolating the $13 million to be at least double for the gross, by assuming a net of 50% of gross dollars gives a gross of $26 million. Accounting for other related income at the rinks, it means he is netting well over $1,400 per hour ice rental. To have that net income, the rental rates must be at least a staggering $2,800+/hour. If his rate is well less than 50% of gross say 35%, the rental rates per hour would be well over $3,500 (in 1987 Trump reported that his Wollman rink had a profit of $500,000 on income of $1.5 million).   

Is it possible that the $13 million figure is gross income? The hourly ice rental would be high, and in light of the 1987 Wollman figures, the $13 million would seem to be an inflated gross. If the $13 million is not inflated and is only gross, then Trump defines personal income differently than commonly understood, thereby a significant obfuscation. The redefinition seems to be in keeping with how he seems to continually inflate, redefine and obfuscate, connect and recombine unrelated information, and create grand statements without evidence or even when the facts say otherwise.

If the $13 million figure is gross, then all his other financial statements regarding income must be viewed with askance. Hence the $694 million figure is likely gross. After accounting for salaries, utilities, property upkeep and mortgage, his net income would be a fraction of what he has stated, possibly as little as a 20th, and he may well be losing significant money in some of his operations that he says makes money (much like a capital campaign firm stating that all their campaigns are successful, even those that fall short by 75% for they argue campaign success as it made money for the organization, even though the organization paid much of what they made to the firm and had no money to do even a portion of the capital project they desired).

Even when a critical look and drill down on specific properties and figures seem not to be close to making sense, Mr. Trump asks people to accept his word regarding his wealth and success. He asks the nation to trust him without verification or questioning. Not only will I not accept his word when statements contradict reasoning and evidence, but his repeated use of “trust me” increases my skepticism and reinforces my distrust for use of such statements is a common approach used by despots over the centuries who have channeled populist dreams, frustrations, fears and desires. 

Despots ask that we trust without verifying that data. Despots use a kernel of truth to obfuscate and refine reality. Throughout history despots intimidate and threaten those who question and challenge their statements.  Despots talk of others lack of transparency while lacking transparency themselves. That he admires other despots, such as V. Putin, increases by skeptical view of him. My conclusion is to take what is presented, and his lack of transparency in light of history over the centuries, and view the lack of transparency, inflated statements, obfuscation and volume of  unsubstantiated statements as a being from a highly disingenuous and dishonest person. As mentioned in an earlier blog, he is likely to win the White House, but at the end of the day, I fear that at the end of his term, American democracy's shining light will be flickering and the presidency greatly harmed.   

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