Trump and the Bulldozer Effect

Josh Barro offers an interesting insight into the way Donald Trump thinks from Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal”.

here is the quote

“What the bulldozers and dump trucks did wasn’t important, I said, so long as they did a lot of it.”

What was this all about?

Trump wanted to partner with Holiday Inn to build a casino in Atlantic City. Trump owned a piece of land off the boardwalk and told Holiday Inn that construction was already underway. But it wasn’t.

So in advance of a site visit by Holiday Inn executives, he directed his construction manager to hire dozens of pieces of heavy equipment to move dirt around on the site, digging holes and filling them back up if necessary.

Holiday Inn folks were impressed and invested. The end of the story?

… less than 18 months after the Trump Plaza opened, the partnership with Holiday Inn had deteriorated to the point that Holiday Inn was suing him. In 1992, the Trump Plaza went bankrupt.

The moral of the story

In business, Trump’s strategy for when his counterparties figured out he was screwing them was to tie them up in litigation, get paid to go away, and then find new marks. He could find somebody else to fool with a bunch of useless bulldozers: new investors, new lenders, new customers.

Now picture Donald Trump signing an endless series of executive orders as president. A lot of noise.  But is it just more bulldozers and dump trucks?  The illusion of activity?

you decide.


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