At a rally in Colorado yesterday, Donald Trump barely flinched from the myriad of controversies swirling around him this week. Rather than attacking the facts of a New York Times article that found the “successful” businessman had lost almost a billion dollars in a single year, the GOP nominee leaned into the controversy saying he has “a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required like anybody else.”
As a cornerstone of Trump’s platform is that he is a successful billionaire, it is unthinkable to himself that he could have made some bad decisions that would account for the losses. Trump is also unable to admit that he has ever, ever made a mistake. So what is there to do? Blame the economy, of course.
The news media is now obsessed with an alleged tax filing from the 1990s at the end of one of the most brutal economic downturns in our country’s history.If you remember the early ’90s, other than, I would say, 1928, there was nothing even close. The conditions facing real estate developers in that early ’90 period were almost as bad as the Great Depression of 1929 and far worse than the Great Recession of 2008. Not even close.
What had been a booming economy in the era of Ronald Reagan changed dramatically and the business landscape changed with it. Bank failures and collapse, the absolute total destruction of the savings and loan industry, and the implosion of the retail market and real estate in general, something we’ve never seen anything like it.
Firstly, a candidate for the President of the United States should know that the Great Depression started after the stock market crash of October 1929, not in 1928.
The 1990s were bad for Trump because he made a lot of bad decisions in the late 198os. He borrowed millions at loan shark interest rates to prop up properties that were failing, and ultimately did fail. The AP notes that Trump’s Atlantic City Trump Castle defaulted on loans in June of 1990: months before the recession began. Trump sold “junk bonds” at 14% interest in some of these casinos that weren’t making enough money to cover the payments to investors. Trump, along with a lot of other investors, was left holding the bag when they went belly up.
The Great Recession (which actually began in 2007, not 2008) was much, much worse for the average American compared to the recession of 1990. America lost 8.6 million jobs during the Great Recession, compared to just 1.6 million jobs in 1990. The recession of 1990-1991 lasted just 8 months, as the Great Recession lasted 18 months, with near recession numbers for almost three years. There is no measure by which the 1990 recession was worse than the 2008 recession, except perhaps Donald Trump’s personal business failings.
During the recession in 1990 the unemployment rate peaked at 7.8% for one month. During and after the Great Recession, the unemployment rate stayed above 7.8% for four years, peaking at well over 10%.
Just because a recession was very, very bad for Donald Trump does not mean that that recession was that bad for the world at large. Because really, at the end of the day, isn’t it all about Donald Trump?