1/10 Four years ago we knew Trump’s refusal to divest would have political consequences. Now we know it had big financial consequences as well.

In fact, the decision to retain his assets cost Trump an estimated $1.6 billion. Let’s break down the math.
2/10 When Trump took office, we estimated his fortune was worth $3.5 billion (or $3.495B, to be exact). If he had sold everything off, he *might* have had to pay capital gains taxes, which would have cost him a lot of money.
3/10 The New York state capital gains taxes would have been 8.82%. The federal capital gains taxes would have been 20%. And then there’s another 3.8% tax on top of that. So the total would be 32.62% taxes. As we know, Trump does not like to pay big taxes.
4/10 Trump would have paid those taxes on the gains he had made—not on his entire fortune. But because it’s difficult to pinpoint those gains, and to be even more conservative, we’ll apply that capital gains tax to his *entire* fortune for our calculation.
5/10 That means that after selling everything, Trump would have been worth $3,495,000,000 * (1-0.3262) = 2,354,931,000 on Jan. 21, 2017. That’s a big drop. He could have spent a lot of time talking about the big sacrifice he took to take office with clean hands.
6/10 Trump could have then put that $2.355B into a broad-based fund tracking the S&P 500, which would have allowed him to avoid conflicts of interest while still capturing upside of the market.
7/10 And boy, was there upside, as Trump would be the first to tell you. The S&P 500 increased 69.59% while he was in office. With his whole fortune reinvested in the market, then, it would have jumped to 2,354,931,000 * (1+0.6959) = $3.994B.
8/10 We now estimate Trump is worth $2.4 billion (or $2.356 billion, to be exact). So his refusal to divest cost him an estimated $3.994 billion - $2.356 billion = $1.638 billion.
9/10 Obviously there are different scenarios you could run. What if he hadn’t had to pay capital gains tax? What if he had invested more in bonds than stocks? And so on. It’s hard to pin down an exact number on a hypothetical. But $1.6B seems like a fair, conservative estimate.
10/10 Bottom line: Trump’s refusal to divest was a huge blunder for a man who prides himself on his business acumen. If he had just listened to the ethics experts, his presidency would have been cleaner and his fortune would now be much bigger. forbes.com/sites/danalexa…

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More from @DanAlexander21

19 Oct 20
1/ Lenders will expect Trump’s businesses to pay back an est. $900M from 2021 to 2024. If the president is reelected, that debt would come due during his 2nd term in office.

We know this because we have the documents. Let’s go through them one-by-one. forbes.com/sites/danalexa…
2/ We’ll start in a San Francisco office tower, where Trump holds a 30% interest alongside publicly traded Vornado, which discloses the debt. As of June, it was $543M, but I’m estimating that’s down to $541M now, and Trump’s share is therefore $162M. It’s due September 2021.
3/ Next up: Trump Tower, where the president has an $100 million loan maturing 9/6/22, as you can see in this debt prospectus. It’s an interest-only loan, so Trump has not paid down the principal at all. Debt coming due in 2nd term so far: $262M.
Read 8 tweets
11 Oct 20
1/ Trump has indeed lost a fortune as president. One of the great ironies is that if he'd just divested at the start, then plowed the proceeds into the S&P 500, Trump would have avoided all these ethics complications--and he would be hundreds of millions of dollars richer today.
2/ That's what the ethics experts suggested that he do at the time. Trump, however, insisted on hanging onto his properties. At the time, it wasn't heard to tell that this was a risky political decision, which could mire his presidency in ethical controversies.
3/ But at the start of the presidency, it was difficult to tell whether this would be a good or bad *business* decision.

Would Trump make money on the presidency? Or would politics damage his companies? We didn't know, because no one had really done something like this before.
Read 8 tweets
10 Oct 20
1/ Hats off to the New York Times, which published its latest installment in its tax series today. In my eyes, this is the most impressive follow-up they have done to the original story. I’ll be sharing additional thoughts here over the next hour or so. nytimes.com/interactive/20…
2/ The story describes a waterfall of potential conflicts of interest, connected to money coming into Trump's hotels and clubs from various tycoons, lobbyists, foreign governments and so on. This type of reporting is extremely difficult. Let me explain why.
3/ According to federal guidelines, the president has to disclose who pays him money directly, even if the payments are as small as a couple hundred bucks. But the rules do not require the president to disclose payments that flow through his companies. It's a massive loophole.
Read 14 tweets
9 Oct 20
1/ The New York Times released their latest installment in their terrific Trump taxes series today. I've got some thoughts on this one as well, which I'll be outlining here over the next hour or so. nytimes.com/interactive/20…
2/ The story really includes two stories. First, there's one about cash flowing out of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Second, there's another about a train project that Trump's partner in the hotel has talked to about the president. We'll start with the cash.
3/ On 9/15/2016, weeks before the election, Trump signed a document to secure a $30M loan against the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, which he owns in a 50-50 partnership with fellow billionaire Phil Ruffin. You can see the amount and the signature on these documents.
Read 15 tweets
9 Oct 20
1/ In a Trump Tower press conference, held nine days before he took office, Donald Trump described his plan to separate his business from his presidency. Over the last few years, the key pillars of that plan have crumbled. Let’s go through them one-by-one. c-span.org/video/?421482-…
2/ Promise 1 of Trump’s ethics plan: “No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency,” his attorney said. Trump did at least one new foreign deal anyway.

(See the promise at 31:57 of the video below.)
3/ We know that the president did new a new foreign deal in office because he himself admitted it—on a financial disclosure report filed with federal ethics officials. You can see here that he sold $3.2M of land in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29, 2018. extapps2.oge.gov/201/Presiden.n…
Read 10 tweets
8 Oct 20
1/ On the topic of China, it's worth remembering that the president's business has accepted millions of dollars from a state-owned bank in China while Trump has served in office. Here's how it worked.
2/ Here's a debt prospectus, tied to Trump Tower, which shows that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China paid annual rent of roughly $1.9 million to Trump Tower Commercial LLC. You can see that the lease was set to expire on 10/31/2019 -- midway through Trump's first term. Image
3/ If there is any question about who owns Trump Tower Commercial LLC, see Trump's financial disclosure report, which shows that the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust owns 100%, through several shell companies. Here's the document: extapps2.oge.gov/201/Presiden.n…
Read 8 tweets

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