A Donald Trump supporter and top economist Robert Reich walked into a coffee shop. That sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, but in a funky college town like Berkeley, Calif. you never know who you’ll see out and about.
On Monday morning, the UC Berkeley professor and former labor secretary posted an amusing account of this encounter to his Facebook page. First, he noticed the bumper sticker on the man’s car in the parking lot. But instead of grabbing him by the collar, shaking him, and shouting, “Good Gawd, what’s the MATTER with you?!” Robert Reich merely said, “hi.” He then casually observed, “I noticed your Trump bumper sticker.”
You don’t see many Donald Trump supporters in Berkeley. When the man confirmed he supports Donald Trump with a terse “yup,” the economist very politely asked:
‘I hope you don’t mind my asking, but I’m curious. Why are you supporting him?’
The man replied:
‘I know he’s a little bit much. But he’s a successful businessman. And we need a successful businessman as president.’
Why so many people see making a business profitable for the good of your shareholders as similar to running a country for the good of everyone is hard to understand. But this line of logic rarely gets questioned in the good old U.S. of A.
When Robert Reich asked how he knows the serial bankruptcy filer is a “successful businessman,” the man answered: ‘Because he’s made a fortune.’
And here’s where things start to get weird. Instead of going off on one of his usual lectures about how our economy’s rigged for one-percenters like Donald Trump, Robert Reich asks, “how do you know he’s a successful businessman?” And naturally, the man says he knows because the GOP presidential candidate has “made a fortune.” He knows because none other than Forbes Magazine says he’s worth $4.5 billion.
But wait. “That doesn’t mean he’s been a success,” Reich responds. Why? Because, as it turns out, Donald Trump didn’t invest the $200 million his dad gave him very wisely:
‘If he had just put that $200 million into an index fund and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth twelve billion today.’
The stunned Trump supporter had absolutely nothing to say. Robert Reich then mentioned the fact that the Donald got an awful lot of help from the U.S. government these Republicans claim to hate so much.
‘And he got about $850 million in tax subsidies, just in New York alone.’
Dead silence. As Robert Reich turned to leave with his drink, he gave a parting shot.
‘He’s not a businessman. He’s a con man. Hope you enjoy your coffee.’
And guess what? Robert Reich is 100 percent correct. Donald Trump’s resumé reads like a litany of failures, con jobs, lawsuits, and sordid scandals. For starters, he’s got the multiple bankruptcies, unpaid contractors who got screwed, Trump University scam, (alleged!) bribes to Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, his shady $25 million tax break from N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, the rape accusations, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Robert Reich often uses his popular Facebook page and blog to educate voters and expose how the “new economy” works against the middle class. Here’s his Facebook post from September 19.
WATCH: Robert Reich declares Donald Trump isn’t what he says he is.
Here’s a video from March you might have missed. In an interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, Robert Reich explains that Donald Trump isn’t a “conservative” or a “populist,” he’s an authoritarian. And he’s dangerous.
Featured image: Dean Blake via Getty Images.