CSotD: Broke, Busted, Disgusted …

Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) sums up the situation as we head into the weekend: Trump has a major debt hanging over his head and no comfortable way to pay it.

To be accurate, it’s not $454 million that he’s got to raise. When you add in the cost of the bond, or, as the fellows he may end up dealing with might say, the vig, it comes to about $550 million.

And he already had to pony up about $100 million for E. Jean Carroll, which includes some vigorish and keeps growing because Dumbass won’t shut his mouth about her and she’s willing to keep collecting as long as he’s willing to keep blabbing.

As Benson suggests, he isn’t gonna find the money he needs in his piggy bank.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Jack Ohman — Tribune

Pedro X. Molina — Counterpoint

People are crowing that Trump is broke and that he’s not a billionaire, but that’s not how it works. He may or may not be a billionaire.

Ohman and Molina question whether he’s got the money, and it’s a reasonable question, given that he owes the $454 million because he was found guilty of lying about his worth. And that he’s got a jaw-dropping record of saying things that don’t turn out to be true.

But it’s less important to know if it’s true than to know if it matters.

First of all, there’s a point at which estimating anybody’s wealth becomes both theoretical and irrelevant. Once they’re up in eight figures, you can round things out without it making a whole lot of difference.

Second, estimating net worth gets into the weeds fast, because you can “own” 20 apartment houses without actually owning any of them free and clear. Whatever Trump’s properties are worth, it’s likely they’re highly mortgaged and otherwise indebted.

He may not be underwater, but he’s not swimming around in coins like Scrooge McDuck. Nobody really does that.

However much money he’s actually got, however, he’s also lost a lot of it, and Matt Wuerker (Politico) points out that, as Trump scrambles for cash, he may be regretting having tried to sell wine and water and airplane tickets, however he feels about getting to sit on a golden toilet.

After all, the toilet goes with his general preference for living in a Byzantine bordello, as Nadav Kander captured his NYC digs when Time Magazine named him Man of the Year.

Mr. I’ve-Got-A-Degree-From-Wharton had a clever financial strategy, which was to be born to a wealthy father who kept giving him more money to replace what he’d pissed away, though now there are rumors that he may have taken advantage of the old man’s growing dementia in requesting those infusions.

Well, Fred and the money are both gone and Deutsche Bank apparently isn’t feeling too generous either.

MAGAts can echo Trump’s accusations that the fines are all bogus and the lawsuits are a witch hunt, but I doubt they’ll be able to raise the money Dear Leader needs by selling their NFTs and golden sneakers.

Some people are wondering aloud why his billionaire friends don’t bail him out, but Alan Moir makes the cogent point that “billionaire friend” may well qualify as an oxymoron in the first place, while it’s certainly true that few people become billionaires by making foolish moves with their money.

As I’ve pointed out many times, commercial real estate is a full-contact sport with few rules, but when someone starts breaking those few rules, it makes everyone in the game a little nervous.

This may not be like the Sopranos, but, then again, if you screw up, don’t expect to be invited over for tea.

John Darkow brings up a potentially unsettling possibility echoed in a corner of Wuerker’s cartoon, which is to wonder if maybe Dear Leader has a few things of value in his bathroom.

Assuming the feds did a thorough search, it seems unlikely. I’d also assume this wouldn’t be the best time to approach Trump to purchase any documents he might have stuffed away somewhere. I’ll bet the powers that be are keeping a close eye on the boy right now.

Though it does raise the question of whether, when a new president moves into the White House, they change all the locks? Not that I’d expect Himself to have keys to the place, mind you, but somebody on his staff must have.

If I were Joe, I’d have kept Major and Commander around, just to be sure.

Ann Telnaes charts the change from Time’s Man of the Year, who came to Washington with promises to break the rules and our current Dear Leader, who, having failed to spark a revolution in the streets his first time around, has returned with promises of a more overt, well-powered, deliberate overthrow of the American system.

David Horsey, by contrast, doesn’t focus on Trump’s change in political goals, but traces instead his overall development from a reasonable if blunt personality into a nakedly ambitious creature with no social skills.

It’s reasonable to ask which is true: Telnaes’ portrait of a more pragmatic, less diplomatic political actor or Horsey’s view of a more holistic degeneration. At which point it’s also reasonable to go back to Dr. Johnson:

MURRAY. ‘It seems to me that we are not angry at a man for controverting an opinion which we believe and value; we rather pity him.’

JOHNSON. ‘Why, Sir; to be sure when you wish a man to have that belief which you think is of infinite advantage, you wish well to him; but your primary consideration is your own quiet. If a madman were to come into this room with a stick in his hand, no doubt we should pity the state of his mind; but our primary consideration would be to take care of ourselves. We should knock him down first, and pity him afterwards.”

Samuel Johnson lived in an intellectual bubble. As Pat Bagley notes, we have to deal with a reality in which there is a genuine threat looming while a significant portion of American voters don’t see it as a threat at all.

We’ll see results in November, but we’d better start looking around now.

Meanwhile, a little schadenfreude won’t hurt ya, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Broke, Busted, Disgusted …

  1. One of the concerns about Trump’s debt is that some foreign power will pony up, leaving Trump (and if he’s the next president, all of us) in their control.

    1. Saudi Arabia already spends tens of millions of dollars lobbying U.S. politicians, as does AIPAC (which, since it’s not a foreign organization, can also directly fund politicial campaigns). Even tiny Liberia spends millions influencing U.S. politics.

      Obviously, a U.S. politician being literally in debt to a foreign power would be much more extreme and grotesque.

      But then that’s Trump in a nutshell: a much more extreme and grotesque version of the ugliness and corruption of our “mainstream” politics. Trump is not an aberration, he’s the culmination of trends that have been around for a long time.

  2. All commentary about this situation fades into total insignificance if money comes from a foreign entity. Trump will then be in a debt America will have to pay, possibly for years, decades, and centuries, to come. So while we giggle and react to his problems with righteous opinion, he may accomplish his objectives using our money and democracy. Who will be laughing then ? Because he is a psychopath with malignant narcissistic personality disorder, any psychiatric authority (try the DSM Version 5) will predict, accurately, what he is likely to do next. He has only one objective – himself, and he is incapable of caring for anyone else.

    1. The only real question is whether Saudi Arabia or Putin will be first to bail him out.

  3. Mockery in cartooning is a well-established form of commentary, so I won’t apologize for giggling in the face of a pompous jerk. The more central question is what does he have that a foreign government would want? As noted above, he should be just about out of classified documents, unless he’s got another stash somewhere, and this would be a risky time to approach him, since he’s no doubt under tight surveillance.

    Which leaves the potential for him being re-elected. It might be worth investing in that possibility, but the money would be traceable and there are any number of reasons why those who mock Trump are likely to be digging in to make sure he doesn’t get re-elected. If you need one more reason, sure, but his relationship with Putin and other dictators has long been on the table.

  4. I’ve assumed that TFG’s billionaire boys club isn’t rushing to prop up his empire because they’d get better return buying up the assets directly in the eventual yard sale. Buzzards need a carcass.

  5. We can mock Trump and revel in all the schadenfreude we want, but the harsh reality is there is still a large portion of the population that believes Trump is God’s Chosen Savior of the USA.

    Those are the ones who truly terrify me.

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