Skip to main content

Rapists and Drug Dealers? Really?

My last piece was supportive of Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy.  Since then the brouhaha around one of his typically bombastic utterings, this one regarding the character of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican-American border along with other comments related to US-Mexico trade relations, has grown daily. Though I would prefer to not comment as too much attention has already been diverted from the Kardashian family, I feel as though I must.

It is inconceivable that anyone would not condemn Trump’s comments.  By painting a large group of people with one common brush – illegals are mostly criminals – he has done what most racists do, and this is absolutely not right.  Further, he has completely twisted, or at best misunderstood the statistics that he quotes to support his position.  When he says that upwards of 80% of the women who cross the border illegally are raped, this doesn’t at all support his claim but instead reinforces what most already know – crossing the border illegally is damn dangerous and many of the opportunists seeking to take advantage of those who cross are indeed criminals.

When he says that illegal aliens make up a large portion of those incarcerated in our jails, this is terrifically misleading on a number of important counts that my son Michael Angel has pointed out to me after doing a little bit of research.  First, it is true that illegal immigrants do indeed make up a disproportionate share (some quote as high as 25%) of those incarcerated in federal prisons.  However, the federal prison population makes up only about 10% of the overall U.S. prison population and there are very few illegals in state or local prisons, making their true overall share of the U.S. prison population far less consequential.  Second, and more importantly perhaps, Mr. Trump failed to show any interest in understanding the reasons for the overrepresentation of illegals in our federal prisons, instead simply concluding that those incarcerated must indeed be hardcore criminals.  The reality is that in about 2005 the U.S. government decided to take a different approach towards illegals – instead of immediately deporting them when apprehended they would try and incarcerate them in our already overcrowded prisons.  So, since that time, incarceration stats for illegal immigrants has surged. Most of those illegals in our prisons are there for committing the heinous crime of trying to improve their families’ lives.  This idiotic policy has cost American taxpayers needlessly, and has punished those desirous of finding their share of the American dream.

Like many of you, I know children of illegal immigrants whose parents have come to the U.S. at great risk and with tremendous uncertainty and who worked their asses off to provide a better future for their descendants.  These people are all proud Americans who contribute much to the fabric of our great nation.  It is inexcusable for anyone to say what Mr. Trump said, and even more so for a person who aspires to leadership and who has benefited so immensely from his good fortune at having been born in the U.S. and to affluence.  A leader must be kind, inclusive, and must possess empathy.  In these insensitive statements Mr. Trump failed on all counts.

I still dream of a day when a non-politician rises up among us to break the stronghold that professional politicians have upon our leadership class.  I believed that Mr. Trump, with his wealth and his fame, not to mention his regular guy touch and his history of business success could have been that person, but alas I don’t see it now, despite the strange surge in his polling levels since his comments. With all due respect to Mr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina, both of whom seem admirable yet probably unelectable due to their relative anonymity, I don’t see that day coming anytime soon.  President Rodham Clinton is looking like a good bet.

Popular posts from this blog

Greed & Laziness

In this most contentious and fascinating of election cycles, when nearly each conversation leads to politics, and when polarization runs so high, I ask myself - what is the essence of the debate between left and right?  What does it really mean to be a Conservative or a Liberal?

Why Rates Must Remain Low

There is an old bond trader joke that I first heard in the 1980’s when I traded mortgage-backed securities at Drexel Burnham Lambert.  It went like this:  “Upon dying, Albert Einstein finds himself in what he is told is heaven.  He encounters another individual there and asks him what his IQ is.  When he is told that it is 175 he is overjoyed, knowing that he’s found an intellectual peer with whom he can share much.  Upon meeting another, he discovers that person’s IQ is 140 and is pleased to have met another highly intelligent person with whom he can enjoy chess and other pursuits.  He is feeling pretty good about heaven, when he comes across a person who tells him that his IQ is a mere 90, and he is flummoxed.  What, he wonders, is this guy doing in my heaven and what can I even say to this person?  Then it comes to him.  ‘Where,’ he asks, ‘do you think interest rates are heading?’”

CMBS In Flux

The CMBS market has been in a period of upheaval, with dramatic spread widening on bonds and a resulting much more expensive cost of capital for real estate borrowers who depend upon this channel for their debt financing.Market participants today wonder whether we’ve entered a period like the summer of 2011, when spreads on bonds last widened this dramatically and then snapped back within a year to provide tremendous returns for those who were courageous enough to purchase bonds at the time when there was panic selling.Or, people wonder, is this recent downturn a prelude to a structural or systemic problem, like what was experienced in 2007, when spreads widened and sucked investors in, only to punish those early responders with a much more dramatic price collapse in the next 24 months.