Friday, August 12, 2016

Long-Time Admirer Hints the Kind of Financial Education President Trump Plans to Offer Americans

by Nomad

An article in a magazine for the unashamed 1% by one of Donald Trump's avid supporters and long time pal claims that  Trump isn't merely a billionaire property developer. He is more than the Republican nominee, Trump is a teacher and he has lesson to teach all of America. 

For People Who Like to Dream of Being Rich

If the ads are anything to go by, the target audience for Jetset magazine is not the average Donald Trump voter. 
The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. 

Not the kind of person who may be shopping around for a Tom George yacht ("Because you can.") an Island retreat in the Bahamas or a Magellan Jet. 
The pitch for one yacht maker aims at the snob appeal. "We Don't Need Everyone to Read This."
Outside of the ads, the articles include: 

The Beauty of Believing- Critical Factors in Business
OPM- (Other People's Money) The Power of Using Debt 

According to its mission statement, Jetset Magazine is "the definitive authority on connoisseurship for ultra-affluent consumers." It's safe to assume that JetSet is a magazine for the the most pampered of the 1%. 
But perhaps I am wrong. 
It could just be a magazine for people who feverishly dream of becoming the pampered rich. 

Back in 2015, JetSet magazine had another article that caught my eye, It was entitled "Why America Needs Donald Trump." The article is full of glossy photos of Donald Trump. One shows the mogul seated at an empty walnut table abroad his private jet, looking decisive- or bored, or petulant. Who knows.

With the plentiful peppering of "we" and "I", the author of the article, Robert Kiyosaki, offers an insider's insight into the man named Trump. 
Only a person who has known Trump on a personal level, it seems, can explain this very complicated man. The author wants to share a few things, personal things, about Mr. Trump.

Uncontrolled or Out of Control? 

But first of all, there's one thing you have to know.
Trump, says Kiyosaki, is for real. Really real.
Meaning, perhaps, that Trump isn't a cartoon. He isn't some kind of ugly, silly prank on American voters. That news might have come as a relief a year ago. 
Not so much anymore.
Today, the "reality" of Trump is much more worrying. At this point, it would be more comforting to think Trump was a cruel practical joker.

Mr. Kiyosaki explains why everybody loves (or should love) Trump.
Trump's success can partily be attributed to his willingness to speak his mind, regardless of whether or not it's politically correct. This is exactly what America needs from its elected officials... Donald [Kiyosaki, as Trump's close buddy, doesn't bother with formalities.] has shown that he's not afraid to speak the truth.
The Washington Post noted that back in 2007, while giving a deposition for one of the many lawsuits he was involved in, Trump told (and was caught telling) easy to prove lies.
The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath.
Thirty times, they caught him.
During his campaign, he has continued this trend. After awarding Trump the "The Lie of the Year" in 2015, the fact-checking site, Polifact could barely keep up with the inaccurate and misleading statements. Here's a list which must be updated daily.

Nonetheless, Kiyosaki insisted in his article:
He's the only politician who has had the courage to call out all of the other candidates for taking massive sums of money from wealthy donors."
The premise is, therefore, that a candidate that doesn't need the donations from wealthy donors must be more honest than any other candidate. 
The problem Kiyosaki fails to point out is there's no difference between the uncontrolled candidate and the candidate that is wildly out of control
The Republican establishment- what's left of it- has had to learn this the hard way.

Trump, according to Kiyosaki, is the guy who will put a stop to the crisis of confidence in Washington.  No wonder our country is in financial trouble and why millions of everyday Americans love Donald Trump. Americans are sick and tired of corporate and political greed and incompetence in this country. 

Ironic, since Trump has stood before his audience and boasted about being greedy
“I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy – I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?
Who would have guessed it?

Trump as the Wise Instructor

Mr. Kiyosaki reveals a bit more of his relationship with Trump.
You see, Donald and I met as teachers. As teachers, we both spoke on the importance of financial education.
I've thought of Trump as a lot of things- many of which cannot be uttered around people with delicate sensibilities- but being a teacher came last on my list. 
Kiyosaki explains. 

He and Trump met at a large real estate investor forum at Javits Convention Center in New York in 2004. 
(Javist was, in fact, one of Trump early property development projects. Young Mr. Trump reportedly used his powerful family connections to the mayor and the governor to secure development rights.) 

When Kiyosaki and Trump met, they surely must have seen in each other kindred spirits, soulmates. The pair toured together around the world, co-wrote two books and somewhere along the way, they fell in love. In a purely platonic sense, as far as I know. 

What Americans need, Kiyosaki writes, is a president who is willing to teach them the hard lessons about financial education. He could unite this country, says Kiyosaki, 
"by sharing with the nation what he has shared with me, by adding to his platform the idea of financial education for everyone. It would be an idea that's time has come. Who would object to teaching our kids about money?"
Who, indeed? Still, it's hard not to overlook Trump's series of bankruptcies. Fiddle-dee-dee, says Kiyosaki. Going bankrupt is a common business practice. 
Ask the successful people. 
They know. You don't know. 
Kiyosaki is willing to enlighten us. Trump, like so many entrepreneurs, merely used bankruptcy laws to "corporate advantage as a business tool."

In 2015, Chris Wallace pointed out to Trump how, when Trump Entertainment Resorts which went bankrupt in 2009, lenders to the company lost over a billion dollars and over 1,100 people were laid off. Actually, Trump Entertainment Resorts and its predecessors have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection four times, in 1991, following construction of the $1-billion Trump Taj Mahal, and in 2004, 2009 and, (under differrent ownership) in 2014. 
Trump's attitude was unrepentant. 
[T]hese lenders aren't babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice sweet little people that you think, OK?
Should have known better. Yep. The people who got stiffed had it coming. 

In fact, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, Trump's tactics have also behind bitter tales among business owners who say he shortchanged them. He was able to get away with such practices only because he had enough legal muscle to keep any lawsuits in the courts for years.
He didn't cheat anybody. He was merely offering these lenders and those hapless small business owners a "teaching moment." And he is ready to offer that experience to the American public too.

We ought to feel honored that Trump is willing to give the entire nation this free education, I suppose. 

As the Trump University scam showed, there were plenty of people who spent all of their savings trying to learn the secret of Trump's success. Rolling Stone pulls no punches when describing Trump's "university." (Parathesis are in order because it was never accreditted.)
Trump U targeted susceptible victims, played on their emotions, encouraged them to commit fraud on financial aid applications, up-sold them to the hilt, and misled them about post-grad employment opportunities and salaries.
The other side of the political spectrum is just as critical. The National Review ("the voice of the conservative movement") gives us this snapshot of one of Trump's victims:
In his affidavit, Richard Hewson reported that he and his wife “concluded that we had paid over $20,000 for nothing, based on our belief in Donald Trump and the promises made at the [organization’s] free seminar and three-day workshop.”
In fact, $20,000 is only a mid-range loss. Many others were “scammed” out of something closer to $60,000.  Still other scam victims saw their credit histories destroyed because they borrowed on the promises that Trump and his university made. 
As lawyer and one-time student of the phony university, Sherri Simpson,  declared, "all of it was just a fake."
Incidentally that's a partial quote. The full quote is:
All of it was just a fake. America, do not make the same mistake that I did with Donald Trump. I got hurt badly and I’d hate to see this country get hurt by Donald Trump.

A painful lesson for those who trusted Donald Trump. Of course, you can't say these people didn't get an education in finance, courtesy of Trump. 
Yet, these people too were not "babies." They should have known better. 

In the Kiyosaki piece, there's a Trump quote found  which, like a lot of things uttered by Trump, has a ring of irony. Trump describes his sympathy for the people who were devastated by the Great Recession:
You know who gets hurt? The people who worked hard, lived frugally, and saved their money. They did it the way you're supposed to.. now they go to the bank, and they're geeting nothing on their savings."
The truth is that description could apply equally to many- if not most- of Trump's victims.

Who the Hell is Kiyosaki?

Nevertheless,  Kiyosaki believes that Donald is "the only person qualified to lead us out of this global financial crisis. He is the right person at the right time in our history."
We have to take Kiyosaki's word for that. A lot of people think that President Obama has already led the nation out of the global financial crisis created by the last Republican administration. 

But then, isn't it fair to ask, who the hell is Kiyosaki?

Writing for Slate's MoneyBox earlier this year, journalist Helaine Olen, is happy to give us some clues. 
The personal finance guru is, it seems, in the middle of a legal dispute with his former sponsor, the seminar company, The Learning Annex. Kiyosaki reported owed nearly $24 million to the seminar promoters.  And now, understandably, the lawyers want to know where all that money went. 

Olen cites the Wall Street Journal which reported:
[T]he Learning Annex is petitioning a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wyoming to unseal a lawsuit pertaining to the bankruptcy of one of Kiyosaki’s company’s, Rich Global LLC, which has been closed to the public since it was filed in 2014. The Learning Annex’s interest? Well, the Kiyosaki-controlled company declared bankruptcy in 2012, after the Learning Annex won an almost $24 million judgment against it.
Why exactly the The Learning Annex petitioned the court is not clear. The Wall Street Journal noted earlier this year:
Lawyers for Learning Annex LLC, which has accused Mr. Kiyosaki of moving “tens of millions of dollars plus other lucrative assets” among his companies to avoid making royalty payments, are now arguing to unseal an August 2014 lawsuit that appears to cover similar ground.
Write that off as Kiyosaki's strategic use of bankruptcy. As he says, it's a common practice among a certain type of successful businessmen.
Rich Global said in 2012 it would never move around funds in advance of a bankruptcy filing... The Learning Annex is skeptical of Rich Global’s claims. It further believes that this case in Wyoming—filed against Rich Global and a number of other Kiyosaki-controlled corporate entities by the lawyer tasked with helping it pay off its debts—revolves around the same issue. So the Learning Annex would like to open it up so the public—which would include the Learning Annex’s lawyers and forensic accountants—can see what’s up.
Kiyosaki is reluctant to lift his petticoats unless the courts force the issue. Perhaps in his eyes, revealing the details of this bankruptcy is a little too much like revealing trade secrets, the content of his seminars. 

Back in his day, the guru Kiyosaki had a unique message for his audience. It was not a message of prudence, of careful consideration or of sacrifice. No, his advice was far more basic.
Invest in multiple businesses and homes, preferably with someone else’s money. He claimed readers could find investments that “have returns of 100 percent to infinity. Investments that for $5,000 are soon turned into $1 million or more.” In another book, he suggested it was easy to short stocks with a margin account in which you had no money on deposit.
Suckers fell for it like a slapstick clown on a banana peel.

In fact, Slate has been warning about Kiyosaki and his dubious advice as far back as 2002.  Even then, there was a lot of skepticism to the Kiyosaki's financial advice book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  
Even the book smacked of a species of shadiness.
For instance, throughout the book, there are reportedly references to books, audio tapes, courses, and seminars. Kiyosaki claims that this was his path to success, financial education. And anybody willing to empty out his bank account and destroy his credit can follow Kiyosaki's road to riches. 
However much money Kiyosaki did or didn't make in the past, he's making a fortune by selling the idea that he holds the key to your financial future.
Again, he got super wealthy making people think he got super wealthy by knowing something they didn't. 
The schtick behind the Rich Dad books was that Kiyosaki was sharing secret money-making strategies of the wealthy with his wage slave readers. The tips ran the gamut from ridiculous to illegal and downright hurtful and included advocating for insider trading, arguing for the purchase of multiple real estate properties with little or no money down and telling followers they could purchase stocks on margin via unfunded brokerage accounts.
Another critic, American businessman, author and former real estate investor John T. Reed, has said Kiyosaki's book "contains much wrong advice, much bad advice, some dangerous advice, and virtually no good advice." 
Reed calls it "one of the dumbest financial advice books I have ever read. It contains many factual errors and numerous extremely unlikely accounts of events that supposedly occurred."

Ultimately, Kiyosaki's wisdom was based on.. nothing. Except tricking the naive to believe in something without proof.
In other words, a confidence game.

Come to think of it, that's just about the same thing Trump is doing in his campaign. No wonder they are such close buds.