No person has every talent necessary to run something as large and complex as the American federal government. Knowing your weaknesses and getting people on your staff that can plug those holes is a large part of being a competent manager. The technological advances that have come with the passage of time only exacerbated that challenge. President Trump and I are close in age and have a very similar education from world class management schools. When we were in school the laptop computer didn’t exist. As President he has the entire federal bureaucracy at his disposal. A competent manger would use that to his advantage. Donald Trump is incompetent. Let’s explore.
One of the major catalysts for this posting was Jeff Guo’s article in Friday’s Washington Post entitled; Trump just said he can’t ‘find a country where we actually do well.’ We just did. Guo was referring to Trump’s constant rants that everybody beats us in trade deals. Guo found 15 countries with which we run a trade surplus in goods of between $27.5 billion and $1.9 billion with. They are: Hong Kong 27.5, the Netherlands 24.2, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 19, Belgium 15.3, Australia 12.7, Singapore 9.1, Panama 5.7, Chile 4.1, Brazil 4.1, Argentina 3.9, Qatar 3.8, the Dominican Republic 3.1, Egypt 2, Guatemala 2, and the Bahamas 1.9.
If we just look at manufactured goods the top 15 are: Canada 42.8, Hong Kong 22.1, the Netherlands 19.3, the UAE 17, Belgium 16.2, Saudi Arabia 15.1, Australia 14.1, Brazil 8.99, Singapore 7.42, Columbia 5.7, Chile 5.38, Qatar 4.03, Argentina 4.02, Peru 2.73 and Kuwait 2.73.
Here are the net total trade surpluses (again in billions of dollars) with six major countries: Hong Kong 31.7, Brazil 25.2, Singapore 17.5, the United Kingdom 12, Saudi Arabia 6.3 and Canada 6.1.
When analyzing the number the country that stuck out to me was Canada with the huge disparity depending on the category you looked at. The reason is that we import a lot of oil from Canada. Keep that in mind the next time you here one of those misleading ads from the American Petroleum Institute (API) that slickly talk about North American energy sources. Simply put, Canada is not the United States!
The question is where did Guo get all those numbers from? Was it some secret unnamed source? No, it was the Census Bureau which is an executive branch federal agency. In other words the people at the Census Bureau work for Trump. All the “fine-tuned machine” at the White House had to do was ask them. Even easier I’m certain the information is available online. By the way these numbers are not ancient history; they are 2016 numbers.
Trump is still talking about his huge Electoral College victory despite that myth being long debunked. When recently challenged with the facts he blamed his statement on his advisors giving him the erroneous information. Things change over time so I decided to look at the number of Electoral College votes the winner had in the last 14 presidential elections. Those are all the elections held since Alaska and Hawaii were granted statehood. Here is how they rank:
- 1984 Ronald Reagan 525
- 1972 Richard Nixon 520
- 1980 Ronald Reagan 489
- 1964 Lyndon Johnson 486
- 1988 Geo. H.W. Bush 426
- 1996 Bill Clinton 379
- 1992 Bill Clinton 370
- 2008 Barack Obama 365
- 2012 Barack Obama 332
- 2016 Donald Trump 304
- 1960 Jack Kennedy 303
- 1968 Richard Nixon 301
- 2004 Geo. W. Bush 286
- 2000 Geo. W. Bush 271
I got those numbers by utilizing my entire research staff which consists of – you guessed it – just me. I guess a fair conclusion is that I, (a 64 year-old who never touched a computer in college), am individually a lot more computer savvy than the entire White House staff. That is extremely sad!
Not only did Trump fail to win a landslide in the Electoral College he barely nosed out John Kennedy who had to break the religion barrier to get elected. (Keep in mind the 1960 election was the last before the District of Columbia got its three electoral votes which means Kennedy would have gotten 306 under today’s setup.) Trump fell well short of the totals Barack Obama attained while having to break a racial barrier. It is almost unfair to even count George W. Bush’s 2000 victory because it took a very controversial Supreme Court decision to get him to 271. You need 270 to win. While Trump is certainly the legitimate President of the United States, his Electoral College victory margin was rather thin.
While we are talking about the election – why should I stop when Trump won’t? Let’s talk about the popular vote which Trump lost by 2,864,974 votes. To put that in perspective Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote exceeded all votes cast for all presidential candidates combined in 2016 in the District of Columbia (311,268), Delaware (441,590), Hawaii (428.937), Montana (497,147), North Dakota (344,360), Rhode Island (464,144), and South Dakota (370,093) combined.
Thus far I have pointed out that my President has proven himself to be a liar, a crook and incompetent. And it’s only a bit more than 30 days into his administration. I have a feeling it isn’t over!
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