by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sometimes I like Donald Trump. He makes me laugh when he mocks reporters’ stupid questions.
Sometimes he’s smart. When Maryland’s lefty governor said a tax on rich people would “raise revenue,” Trump told me why it wouldn’t. The taxpayers would just flee: “I know these people! They’re international people! Whether they live here or in a place like Switzerland, it doesn’t really matter to them!”
erfect TV sound bite. And accurate. Maryland’s tax on the rich brought in less revenue.
When Trump makes billions by giving people things they want in voluntary exchanges — via casinos or real estate or the chance to watch him “fire” people on TV shows — I applaud him. Free trade is mutually beneficial. Everybody wins.
That’s why it’s appalling when Trump calls trade agreements a “disaster” and says he’d “punish” Mexico with higher tariffs (tariffs really punish Americans).
And it’s appalling when Trump uses connections with government to take things from others. I confronted him about that once.
In Atlantic City, an elderly woman named Vera Coking owned a home near Trump’s casino. Trump wanted to take down her house so he could expand his casino parking lot.
People had offered to buy Vera’s house, but she said no. In America, property rights mean you get to tell people, “You can’t use my things without my permission.”
But Trump wouldn’t take no for an answer. He got some New Jersey politicians to grant him the right to take Vera’s house. Politicians can do that under a law called “eminent domain.” Trump recently called eminent domain “wonderful!”
Eminent domain can be wonderful if it’s put to important public use, say, claiming land for highways, railroads or a pipeline. But Trump got New Jersey pols to use it so he’d have a better space for limousines to park.