Trump’s Wealth: Fact-checking the fact-checkers …

Bottom line: The “fact-checkers” get 4 Pinocchios … based on their “facts” and some simple arithmetic.

Chatting with one of my liberal friends over the weekend (<= note that I didn’t say “My one liberal friend”), he dished the Dem talking point that Trump is not an accomplished business man … he could have grown his wealth more by simply investing in an S&P index fund.



Let’s pull some “facts” from the liberal “fact-checkers” (WaPo and Tampa Bay Times) and do some simple math…


As near as I can tell, the Washington Post is the central source for the claim:

Business Week estimated Trump’s net worth at $100 million in 1978.

If Trump had merely put that money in an index fund based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index — the kind many Americans use to save for retirement — he would be worth $6 billion today.


Let’s do the arithmetic:

The S&P hovered around 100 in 1978 … see the chart above.

The S&P is now at record highs … at around 2,161.

Said differently, the S&P is 21.6 times the S&P in 1978.

So, if Trump had invested the $100 million in an S&P Index fund, his current wealth would be a bit more than $2 billion … not $6 billion.

Sorry, fact-checkers … your math gets 5 Pinocchios.


Of course, Trump claims that he’s now worth $10 billion.

The WaPo fact-checkers – while admitting that they don’t know and can’t figure it out – doth protest:

The $10 billion figure, which is what Trump claims as his current net worth, is also disputed.

Bloomberg News has estimated Trump’s net worth at only $2.9 billion.

Forbes puts it at $4.1 billion.

Since Trump’s businesses aren’t public, the true figure isn’t clear.

Some arithmetical relationships for our fact-checkers:

Obviously, $10 is greater than $2.0.

And, both $2.9 and $4.1 are greater than $2.0, too!

Am I going too fast?


My point to friends on the left (and the right), don’t just take the politcos talking points and run with them … spend at least a minute or two of sensibility-testing.

This “fact-check” took 2 google clicks and less than a minute of simple arithmetic to debunk … using the fact-checkers own “facts”.

So, what’s the net effect when fact-checkers dish out 4 Pinocchios when their fact-checking itself merits 4 (or more) Pinocchios?

Answer: It discredits the credibility of the fact-checkers, right?



Thanks to DDN for baiting me on this one



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One Response to “Trump’s Wealth: Fact-checking the fact-checkers …”

  1. Glenn Says:

    If you account for reinvested dividends, $100MM in 1978 would grow to over $6Bn in 2016. That’s what is called total return. If you’re looking at just the S&P500 index, you’re missing half (actually more) the picture. Moral of the story: fact check the fact checkers- and dividends matter!

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