Guess who’s the big­gest loser?

The News-Times - - OPINION - By Stephan Lesher Stephan Lesher is a re­tired jour­nal­ist and a res­i­dent of South­bury.

When my late brother-in-law, who was in the gar­ment in­dus­try, en­coun­tered a per­son he be­lieved un­trust­wor­thy or oth­er­wise un­re­li­able, he would de­scribe him as “a marked-down guy.”

For Don­ald Trump, a man so shorn of any sem­blance of de­cency or moral­ity or even fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge of is­sues with which the pres­i­dency must deal on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, we know that he lives to di­min­ish his foes by call­ing them “losers,” “heaters,” “dumb,” “idiots,” “mo­rons,” “stupid,” “dummy,” and “dis­gust­ing.”

Even in my th­e­saurus, I can­not find ad­e­quate ad­jec­tives to de­scribe Trump and so I have per­son­ally set­tled on ei­ther “hu­man de­tri­tus” or “po­lit­i­cal pornog­ra­phy,” that is, pure filth that has no re­deem­ing so­cial value.

So I yield to the bril­liant writer Philip Roth to de­scribe Trump as he did year ago in cor­re­spon­dence with the New Yorker Mag­a­zine when he drew par­al­lels be­tween Trump and avi­a­tor Charles Lind­bergh, who fea­tures promi­nently in Roth’s novel, “The Plot against Amer­ica,” as an iso­la­tion­ist pres­i­dent dur­ing the 1940s.

Roth said, “It is eas­ier to com­pre­hend the elec­tion of an imag­i­nary pres­i­dent like Charles Lind­bergh than an ac­tual pres­i­dent like Don­ald Trump. Lind­bergh, de­spite his Nazi sym­pa­thies and racist pro­cliv­i­ties, was a great avi­a­tion hero who had dis­played tremen­dous phys­i­cal courage and aero­nau­ti­cal ge­nius in cross­ing the At­lantic in 1927. He had char­ac­ter and re­ally had sub­stance and, along with Henry Ford, was, world­wide, the most fa­mous Amer­i­can of his day. Trump is just a con artist.”

Roth de­scribed Trump as “hu­manly im­pov­er­ished, ig­no­rant of govern­ment, of his­tory, of sci­ence, of phi­los­o­phy, of art, in­ca­pable of ex­press­ing or rec­og­niz­ing sub­tlety or nu­ance, des­ti­tute of all de­cency and wield­ing a vo­cab­u­lary of 77 words that is bet­ter called Jerk­ish that Eng­lish.”

Roth was not alone in think­ing that Trump’s limited vo­cab­u­lary in­di­cates a low in­tel­lect and a lack of ed­u­ca­tion. When Trump’s speeches were run through the Flesch-Kin­caid Grade Level As­sess­ment, an Amer­i­can read­abil­ity test, an­a­lysts found Trump’s vo­cab­u­lary to be at the level of an av­er­age fourth-grader, or 9-year-old, in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem.

So it was un­sur­pris­ing to me to learn from The New York Times that as a busi­ness­man, Trump was the big­gest loser of them all. The emo­tion­ally twisted nar­cis­sist had cre­ated a phony myth of him­self as a self-made billionair­e who built an em­pire on what he por­trayed as a rel­a­tively small mil­lion-dol­lar loan from his fa­ther when, in re­al­ity, Daddy had forked over more than $400 mil­lion to Don­ald, of­ten to bail him out of fi­nan­cial jams.

An Oc­to­ber New York Times ex­posé had showed how Don­ald and other mem­bers of the Trump fam­ily en­gaged in sham fi­nan­cial schemes dur­ing the 1990s, in­clud­ing what the news­pa­per de­scribed as “in­stances of out­right fraud” to avoid pay­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in taxes on the real es­tate for­tu­nate Fred Trump passed on to his chil­dren.

Some of the same re­porters ob­tained “print­outs from Trump’s of­fi­cial In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice tran­scripts” that fur­ther un­der­mine the self-pro­moted fic­tion of Trump as a highly suc­cess­ful self-made busi­ness­man. In re­al­ity, be­tween 1985 and 1994, Trump’s core busi­nesses lost money ev­ery sin­gle year, and his ac­cu­mu­lated losses came to more than $1 bil­lion. And year af­ter year, Trump lost more money than nearly any other in­di­vid­ual Amer­i­can tax­payer based on com­par­ing Trump’s re­sults with de­tailed in­for­ma­tion the IRS com­piles on an an­nual sam­pling of high-income earn­ers.

His core busi­nesses lost in 1990 and 1991 more than $250 mil­lion each year, more than dou­ble those of the near­est tax­pay­ers in the IRS in­for­ma­tion for those years, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per. In other words, this self-de­scribed fi­nan­cial ge­nius and deal maker was the big­gest loser in the coun­try for two years in a row.

So it ap­pears that among the 10,000 lies and mis­lead­ing state­ments Trump has made since be­com­ing pres­i­dent, a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age rep­re­sented lies about him­self and his imagined achieve­ments.

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