Der Furor

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It has become fashionable, especially among Democrats, to call Donald Trump the new Hitler. Of course, when people do this it conjures up mental images of German panzers rolling into Poland and France while Jews are rounded up and carted off to be murdered. And this is what many of Trump’s critics want you to think.

Well I’m going to jump on the bandwagon (because I want to be part of the in crowd /sarc). Trump is like Hitler.

But it has nothing to do with Adolph’s World War II antics.

In the 1920s, the Nazi Party was a small ineffectual organization with a passionate core that wasn’t likely to amount to much. Then the Depression hit. Suddenly millions of Germans were unemployed and desperate for answers to the nation’s problems. So Hitler, a colorful and fervent, if long-winded, speaker took the Nazi roadshow to beer halls across the country.

Before packed houses composed primarily of struggling workers, Hitler bellowed about the sorry state of Germany and how the people had been sold out. Who sold them out? The government, the industrialists, the Communists, and the Jews! It was “us” versus “them”. If all good Germans would simply unite with Hitler then they could crush their enemies and make Germany great again!

Sound familiar?

Despite the long length of Hitler’s speeches they were always short on detail or anything resembling an identifiable plan. But they didn’t need these things because they were meant to appeal to the emotional furor of the masses. People were angry and Hitler intended to ride that wave of anger into power. As history has proven, the strategy of emotional appeal worked.

Flash forward to 2016.

After eight years of the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, Americans are angry. This anger led to the rise of the Tea Party resulting in a Republican takeover of Congress when the GOP promised to shrink government, kill Obamacare, and put Americans back to work. They did none of these things. In fact, they grew the government, caving into the President’s demands every time he dug in his heels.

Feeling betrayed, the electorate was ripe for wooing by a populist “outsider” candidate … and along came the blustering hyperbole of Donald Trump.

He launched his campaign not by laying out a plan to spur growth and limit government interference in our lives, but by attacking a popular bogeyman – illegal Mexican immigrants. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Some? Try almost all. Study after study has shown that immigrants, no matter where they come from or what their legal status, are half as likely as native-born Americans to commit the crimes of which the Donald accuses them.

He then went after another favorite scapegoat – Muslims. Suggesting we might need to create a database of all Muslims in the US (or maybe we can tattoo serial numbers on them?), he called for surveillance of all mosques and a blanket ban on any Muslims coming into the US. Recently he claimed that 27% – 35% of all Muslims are militants who want to attack America. When challenged about that extreme figure, Trump responded, “Why don’t you take a look at the Pew poll that came out very recently or fairly recently, where I think the number — I mean, I could be corrected, it’s whatever it is — but it’s something like 27% are, you know, really very militant …” Pew has since issued a statement that they have never conducted such a poll.

So it’s obvious Trumps bigotry and xenophobia is based in myth and pure BS, but how about his stance on issues that actually make a difference in the daily lives of Americans like:

Healthcare – “Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, no, no, the lower 25% that can’t afford private. But … I am going to take care of everybody.” You may be asking yourself how is he going to do this? Trumps answer, “The government’s gonna pay for it.” And where does the government get the money it uses to pay for stuff? That’s right, YOU! Trump is going to make you pay for everyone’s healthcare. Even Obamacare isn’t this enormous.

But it gets worse. The Donald makes his complete ignorance of healthcare economics obvious when he explains how he’ll save money by hard-nosed negotiating with the drug companies. “If we competitively bid drugs in the United States, we can save as much as $300 billion a year.” The total amount spent on drugs in 2014 is $298 billion. Raise your hand if you think the drug companies are going to start giving away free drugs just because the orange-haired loud mouth is negotiating with them.

Trade – Trump wants to slap 35% – 45% tariffs on goods from China and Mexico because he thinks this will bring jobs home to America. He also claims he will force Apple to make all of their products in the US. Assuming he can get away with violating US laws and international treaties, what would be the effect of this?

His ultra-high tariffs would do two things, neither of them good:

  1. They would make the price of goods go up for the American consumer. It’s not China or Mexico who would be paying these tariffs, it’s you – adding roughly $775 to your annual shopping bill according to the American Action Forum.
  2. Do you think China and Mexico are going to just sit back and let the US screw them? Hell no! They’ll slap godawful tariffs on US exports to their countries. GM, Boeing, Nike, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Apple, Intel, and Procter & Gamble are just some of the companies who would suffer mightily under such a regime. Layoffs are the logical result. America wouldn’t gain jobs, it would lose them.

And what if he could force Apple to make all their stuff in America? Kiss your $400 i-Phone goodbye because it will now cost $1,600 to pay the union wage rate.

A man who has driven four companies into bankruptcy is not a man who understands how business or the economy works.

Eminent Domain – Trump thinks the government has the right to take your property, even if it is NOT for a public use. This bears repeating – He … thinks … the … government … has … the … right … to … take … your … property. Why? Because FYTW!

The Police State – “When you have people that are beheading if you’re a Christian and frankly for lots of other reasons, when you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security.” This is Trump’s justification for supporting the Patriot Act and government spying on Americans. Never mind that zero people have ever been beheaded in America for being a Christian, the world is just too dangerous for you to be free.

But Trump’s supporters don’t care that he lies, or doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that some of what he says is downright scary. All that matters to them is that he’s not a Washington insider and that he’s loud and obnoxious when he insults those who are. Trump is an arrogant egomaniacal bully and to his supporters that is a plus.

This is the same appeal used by the Austrian Corporal who dragged Europe into a decade of hell.

Trump will never make America great. Trump is an asshole and you’ll get from him exactly what you would expect to come from an asshole.

Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of Five Ways to Beat the Market and The Golden Age of Distance Running.

About Author

Wayne Middlesteadt is a 1986 graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from Georgia State University. Currently working as a financial writer and track and field historian, his latest book is Five Ways To Beat The Market.