Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trumpism and the “Dollar-ocracy”

American nationalism is not a harmless pageant but national triumphalism. In most countries the national anthem is played only at international events, not at domestic games. Saluting the flag and making a pledge of allegiance to one’s nation in schools are practices usually reserved for dictatorships. What is American “exceptionalism” that places it above and outside accepted international law?  Republican front-runner and now Presidential favourite, Donald Trump, has promised to deport every last one of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States, the whole lot of them, while as a bonus banning Muslims from the country.

How did Trump get really rich? His answer is in his book "The Art of the Deal." Our answer is much simpler. Trump's father, Fred. Donald Trump went from rich to even richer, which is very much more easily accomplished than rags to riches.

Trump's father found a government program that provided funds for private builders to build housing for lower and middle-income people. Trump Snr. got a loan of $10.3 million from the Federal Housing Administration and then built the required houses, Shore Haven Apartments, for about $1 million less than that. Fred Trump had found a cash cow, and a way to milk it, and he kept on milking it until he was one of the biggest landlords in New York's outer boroughs.

Donald Trump initially intended to follow in dad's footsteps and go big on the housing loan program, constructing low- and middle-income housing in Manhattan. Unfortunately for Trump New York City canceled the program in 1975 - just as he was about to get his hands on the udder teats.

Where Trump did shine was in his Manhattan real estate investments. But here again, the key wasn't deals. In this case, he inherited control and eventually one-quarter ownership of a family organization worth about $200 million in 1974, and invested heavily in Manhattan. Back in 1974, $200 million was worth something: close to $800 million in today's money. Manhattan real estate took off in a spectacular fashion - average land prices went up by well over 6,000% between 1973 and the present day. That means Trump could have bought pieces of Manhattan real estate at random - and at fair market prices without bothering to negotiate - and still achieved those returns. To this day, despite all of his other business ventures, New York real estate makes up about 60% of the value of his personal portfolio. For sure had Trump bet his millions of dollars in capital on a property recovery in Detroit, his life story would have been rather different.

Backing Hillary Clinton — no matter how hard you hold your nose — will not do: Voting for Clinton solidifies the notion that no matter how regressive a figure the Democratic Party nominates, progressives and others will vote for them. This mindset turns voters into robots. While Clinton stresses what she allegedly share in common with Sanders supporters she is entrenched with the establishment in her ties to Wall Street, corporate power and hawkish U.S. foreign policy. There is every indication that a Clinton presidency would be a major boost to corporate and Wall Street control over the U.S. and the world — as well as a major boost to perpetual U.S. wars into the coming decades with quite certain devastating results.

Voters need to have “somewhere to go” or they will continue to be a plaything of the elites like Trump, playing an Oscar winning role that actor-cum-president Ronald Reagan would have been proud of. Or such as Hilarity Clinton adopting whatever position that will garner her more votes. There is a discernable populism spreading through the United States that rejects Establishment politicians. Just where it eventually ends up cannot be predicted. We do, however, confidently predict that neither Trump or Clinton will run capitalism in the interest of the vast majority who make up the working class in America. Whoever wins in November, the American ruling class will have been successful. It is virtually indisputable that whoever in the Oval Office the capitalist class will continue to do their utmost to get more out of us for less by intensifying the exploitation process and attacking our living standards. This can only set the scene for the intensification of class struggle, a struggle which is our only hope in resisting the attacks of capital. But no-one should be in any doubt that the only way that our problems can be really solved is when such a defensive class struggle transforms itself into a pro-active struggle which finally abolishes capitalism itself.

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