Point-Counterpoint bonus round

By Reade Brower and Randall Poulton | Nov 21, 2019

Reade and Randy have decided to try to show, by example, what civil discourse looks like. Reade tries to understand Randy and Randy respectfully answers his questions. In the end, were minds changed or “aha” moments achieved? Probably not. But is this better than name-calling, abasing or trying to out-yell each other? Randy and Reade think so. Reade’s point is morality matters; Randy may not disagree, but is willing to overlook it in the name of a “smoking economy,” one Reade describes as throwing gasoline on a fire.

Let’s take this online to Village Soup (Knox and Waldo counties) and see what you think and have to add. As a courtesy to us, please keep it respectful. Thanks!


“Randy, interesting points, but six bankruptcies “good” because he’s had lots of businesses? As an entrepreneur with about 50 businesses to date, including several “lack of successes” ending in closures, never has a vendor gone unpaid. Never was the mode of operation to consistently not pay workers, as Trump does in non-bankruptcy situations. Giving Trump the benefit of the doubt and a 10% margin of error, still loads of lies; how is that OK? Finally, what about Trump’s fake university bilking people of life savings, his fake nonprofit court-ordered shutdown, and his recent $2 million fine for stealing donations from veterans he claims to “love”?”


Reade, I respect the way you have done business. It is the right way. As for who got hurt by Trump's business failures, I know that the primary losers were lenders; both banks and bond holders. This happens. I invested in VERSO and lost everything. That was my decision (and a poor one!). Trump (and VERSO) made lots of people richer and some people poorer. I don't believe what Trump did was any less scrupulous than when General Motors filed for bankruptcy. And, please don't say Trump stole money from veterans. What happened was Trump's people commingled campaign donations with Trump Foundation donations. This is wrong, and sloppy, but no harm was done. The court did not impose any penalties, interest or damages and all the money raised for veterans eventually got to the intended charities.


Randy, it’s not the stockholders or banks being bilked I fret about; it is all the laborers he has cheated over the years. And, you say the Trump Foundation was “sloppy” and no harm done? Why did a court have to order him to pay the $2 million? If it was sloppy, fix it and pay it before the court orders you to. Was it also “sloppy” that Trump University was shut down for malfeasance? When there is a lot of smoke, usually there is fire.


Reade, I get that you disagree with how Trump did business. I, too, have heard Trump's business bankruptcies sometimes hurt some small vendors. That is sad and I agree that is wrong. But it is legal. And, remember, 99% of Trump's business did not end in bankruptcy. All the money Trump raised for charity has been given to charity. The Trump University matter was settled out of court. Trump maintains he would have won in court, but my guess is his insurance company decided to settle. Unfortunately, with lawsuits, it is often cheaper to settle than fight. The smoke you see may be the economy cooking. The Dow set another high yesterday!

Comments (3)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 22, 2019 06:56

"The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. .??.??. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’ "

-Alexander Hamilton, a few years after Federalist 68, when serving in the Washington administration

Posted by: Ben and Leslie Fuller | Nov 21, 2019 22:35

Is there a reason that neither of you addressed the administrations abysmal environmental record? From rolling back the clean water act to an attempt to shut down NOAA.  Let alone the bigger climatic picture.

Neither of you really addressed the tariff war with China, the one that has had a direct impact on our local industries.

And I note that Mr. Poulton pretty much ducked the vendor stiffing; the vendors stiffed were not part of bankruptcies, just the normal way of doing business. Dispicable.  Mr. Poulton like most apologists note that the national debt went up greatly in the Obama years but fail to acknowledge that it was because of the bailouts of the depression on 2008 which came about due to W. Perhaps we should have let the big guys fail: certainly none of those responsible have ended up paying.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 21, 2019 10:37

Oh yeah.  That Dow high says a lot about nothing.  Wall Street long ago cut ties with Main street and low unemployment means even less than nothing when it takes tree jobs to just stay alive.


"...  since Trump took office, the national debt has actually increased by $3 trillion, fueled in large part by his massive tax cut for the rich and corporations.

"In nearly three years, it rose 15% — from $19.9 trillion to $22.9 trillion, according to the latest numbers from the Treasury Department," the report noted. Despite what Trump has repeatedly called "the greatest economy in history," the Trump tax cuts have meant less revenue while spending has increased.


And the business sector is feeling the stress.



"A measure of hiring by US businesses fell to the lowest level in seven years in the third quarter as trade tensions increasingly weighed on the economic outlook.


The decline was at least partly driven by trade disputes between the Trump administration and major economies, the business economists said. Tariffs have dimmed the outlook for an economy that had already been expected to slow this year. "

“Important parts of the economy are lagging. Manufacturing production is down over the past year; combined with weakness in shipping and very hard times in agriculture, around a fifth of the economy is effectively in recession,” he noted. “In particular, manufacturing employment has been falling in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, states that chose Trump by tiny margins in 2016, giving him a win in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote.”


“Probably even more significant, there has been a dramatic decline, almost a collapse, in business confidence,” he then warned. “You can see this collapse several ways. One is through surveys of business executives, who spent Trump’s first two years being very bullish, but have now become remarkably pessimistic.”


“So what happened to the Trump boom? The collapse in confidence began late last year, when it became clear that Trump was serious about waging trade war on China; it continued as evidence accumulated that the 2017 tax cut was a big fizzle, doing basically nothing to boost business investment and providing at most a brief sugar high to overall growth,” he continued. “Business interests spent a long time in denial, but now even they are facing up to the reality that Trump and his team are very strange people who have no idea what they’re doing — and the uncertainty that reality implies.”


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