Donald Trump’s unabashed nepotism will follow him into the Presidency

What would a Donald Trump Presidency look like?

First, Donald Trump’s sister, federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, would become a Supreme Court Justice.  He has already stated that she would make a “phenomenal” Supreme Court Justice.

Second, Ivanka Trump, 34, currently is an Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, and Donald has stated that he is her number one fan.  Ivanka with her BS in Economics (2004), would probably be appointed Secretary of the Treasury.

Third, Eric Trump, 32, currently is an Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization.  Eric with his B.S. in business management would probably be appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  Or perhaps Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Fourth, Donald Trump, Jr., 38, currently is an Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization.  With his B.S. in Finance, Real Estate and Marketing and with his five children, he will likely be appointed Secretary of Education or perhaps Secretary of Commerce.

Since Tiffany Trump is only 22 and since she just graduated from college, I doubt if Tiffany will have a significant role in the Trump administration.  However, she did follow Chris Christie, our next Attorney General, in a lengthy speech at the Republican National Convention.

I fear that a Trump administration would characterized by favoritism, cronyism and nepotism.  Trump’s children may not be confirmed, since they are not qualified for cabinet-level positions, but it would not surprise me if Donald nominates them.

If anyone doubts Donald Trump’s audacity, just look at Trump University.  Trump University claimed that it offered “graduate programs, post graduate programs and doctorate programs.”  Ronald Schnackenberg, who worked in Trump’s office at 40 Wall Street, testified that “while Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could.” The affidavit concludes, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

Dell offers to take the company private for $13.65 per share

On June 22 1988, Dell offered of 3.5 million shares at $8.50 a share at the initial public offering. From 1995 to 1999, I watched from the sideline as many people got rich as Dell stock doubled in price every six months. Dell never paid a dividend, but with the stock price doubling, there was plenty of incentive to buy Dell stock. Finally, in 1999, after the 2 for 1 stock split on Mar 8, 1999, I purchase some Dell stock at around $40 per share. It was a mistake, since the tech bubble burst in 2000 and I never got my money back. After holding the stock for five years, I could gotten my money back, if I had sold in 2005, but I did not–that opportunity only lasted a few months. I have held shares in Dell since 1999, and if the deal goes through, I will be forced to sell at a significant loss. By the way, Dell has paid four $0.08 dividends, starting September 27, 2012.

After working at Dell for about a year in mid-2000, I was amazed at how ruthless the leadership was in hiring short-term contractors and in terminating long-term employees. At the time, I was thinking that the leadership was protecting the shareholders at the expense of employees, but now I am thinking that the leadership at Dell does not care about shareholders.

There was supposed to be a vote on the buyout offer on July 18, 2013, but after counting the votes, the leadership discovered that the offer would have been rejected. So, they delayed the vote. Obviously, the shareholders are not happy with the latest attempt of the Dell leadership to enrich themselves at the expense of the shareholders. Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management partners have offered $14 a share in cash, plus one warrant for every four shares tendered. The warrant would give shareholders the right to buy one Dell share for $20 in the next seven years. Why isn’t there a vote on that offer?

So, if the leadership at Dell does not care about employees and if they do not care about shareholders, whom do they care about? I suspect that they only care about self enrichment at the expense of everyone else. Is this capitalism at its best? I think not.

United Airlines sucks!

Today, Saturday, June 1, at 7:55 a.m., we arrived at the United Airlines check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, 55 minutes before our flight departed to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. When we attempted to check-in, we were told that the flight had closed, since we arrived less than 60 minutes prior to boarding. There were no flights to Punta Cana, and there was nothing that United Airlines could do to get us on a flight to Punta Cana. The flight the follow day to Punta Cana had no available seats; the next available flight to Punta Cana was in seven days, June 8. The only option that they gave us to was to fly to Newark later in the day, and take a flight to Santa Domingo, the next day, June 2. Santa Domingo is over three hours by bus to Punta Cana, but this was the closet airport with available flights, unless we wanted to wait till June 8. There was no offer to pay for our hotel in Newark, since it was our fault that we did not show up 2 hours in advance of the flight.

It was difficult to be at the counter 55 minutes before our plane took off and be told that we had missed the flight. Moreover, we were told that we had to travel for the next 36 hours to get to our destination, via Newark and via Santa Domingo. When we arrive in Santa Domingo, we can pay for a cab to Punta Cana, which is $150, one way, or we can take a bus. Looks like we will be taking a bus.

United Airline sucks because they oversold the flight, and they had to cut someone. We were the unlucky ones that got cut. Moreover, they did not offer to pay for our hotel or even give us a $10 food voucher for our trouble. We were on our own to get a hotel in Newark and to make arrangements to get from Santa Domingo to Punta Cana.

Needless to say, I will never give an airline an excuse to be cut from a flight. The rule is 60 minutes for international flights and 45 minutes for domestic flights. In fact, they are boarding 30 minutes in advance, and if you are not there at the boarding gate 30 minutes prior to departure, even for a domestic flight, you will likely be denied boarding. 2013 is a different world. Airlines are overselling seats, and the quality of the service is greatly diminished.

Federal tax revenues at record lows

Recently, an email was forwarded to me announcing a new 3.8 percent sales tax on real estate. I quickly pulled up, and I discovered that the claims were largely false. However, there was a hint of truth in the allegations, in as much as, in 2010, the Democrats increased taxes on the top 2 percent of earners in the U.S. to help pay for Health care. The new tax is called a “Medicare tax,” and it will go into effect on January of 2013. This Medicare tax will not only apply just wages, but it will also apply to investment income such as income from capital gains, dividends, interest and rental property. However, the tax is targeted, and the only individuals, who will be affected, are those who make over $200,000 a year (or $250,000 per year for married couples filing jointly). This amounts to the top 2 percent of tax payers.

I seem to hear a lot of complaining from friends and family members any time the US federal government raises taxes in whatever form. This complaining occurs despite the fact that capital gains taxes have not been this low, since 1933. Back in 1933, capital gains were taxes at 12.5 percent. Today, capital gains are taxes at 15 percent. In 1988, at the end of the Regan administration, capital gains were taxed at 28 percent. See the following site for a historical chart–

Currently, the top tax rate is 37.9 percent, which is well below historical averages. Moreover, as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), tax revenue (or the amount of money that the Federal government receives in taxes) is at an all time low.
2009, 15.1 percent of GDP
2010, 15.1 percent of GDP
2011, 15.4 percent of GDP
You have to go back to 1950 to find a lower percentage (14.4 percent of GDP in 1950) of federal government receipts.

On the other hand, federal government expenditures are at an all time high.
2009, 25.2 percent of GDP
2010, 24.1 percent of GDP
2011, 24.1 percent of GDP
You have to go back to WWII to find a higher percentage (41.9 percent in 1945).

Federal expenditures are up, and federal tax revenues are down. This is the reason why the federal government is running such massive deficits. Between 1975 and 2011, the average federal expenditure as a percent of GDP has been 21.1 percent. Between 1975 and 2011, the average federal revenue from tax receipts as a percent of GDP has been 18 percent. There is no doubt that the federal government needs to return to spending less and receiving more. Tax rates need to increase, and spending needs to decrease. This is not a controversial topic. These are just the facts. The real question is when should austerity begin?

The recession began in December of 2007, and in late 2008, the shit hit the fan in terms of the US economy. Jobless claims were on the rise in 2008, and they peaked in February of 2009, one month after Obama was sworn in as president, with over 650,000 new filings for unemployment. In February of 2009, the unemployment rate was at 8.3 percent, but by October of 2009, the unemployment rate had reached 10 percent (even though new jobless claims were failing at 425,000 per month). In 2012, jobless claims have been hovering around 375,000 per month, which is about what they were in early 2008 before the collapse, and the unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.

Since this is a global recession (and not just a US recession), many fear that our current hard times will be long-lasting and deep. Many fear that raising taxes will slow the US economy and perhaps bring about a second recession. However, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 failed to deliver broad-based economic growth and job creation, and they certainly failed to bring about long-term economic growth. So, I say, “Let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2013, not just for the wealthy, but for everyone.” And, use the extra money from raising taxes to do massive investments in education, in transportation, in energy, in research and development.

My take on the US economy

Here are three common fallacies that I have heard recently:
1. Tax increases will always hurt growth, no matter if they are targeted-tax increases or not.
2. Cutting taxes will always stimulate economic growth, regardless of who benefits from the tax cuts.
3. Cutting taxes will eventually bring down the deficits as economic growth picks up.

The idea that cutting taxes will always stimulate private investment has not been proven. In fact, there is much evidence to the contrary. If rich people, like Romney, had 10 percent more money than they currently have, due to tax breaks, why would they be any more likely to build a new factory or to start a new business? They are not any more likely because there is a lack of demand for goods and services. And, they are sitting on their money waiting for demand to pick up. So, giving them more money will just increase the size of their bank accounts. It will not stimulate employment.

On the contrary, if rich people like Romney are NOT willing to build new factories or start new businesses, then it is the government’s role to increase their taxes so that they can redirect this money to creating new transportation projects and new research projects. The only way to get the economy unstuck is to increase demand for goods and services. And, the only way to increase demand for goods and services is to get people to spend more. The only way that people will spend more is if they have good jobs (e.g., a transportation job, a research job or an energy job). So, the key to growing our economy is either to run massive deficits as the government is investing in infrastructure or to increase taxes on the wealthy so that this money can be redirected toward investing in infrastructure.

In 2013, cutting taxes will only increase deficits. Cutting taxes will not stimulate economic growth, especially in the near term. Cutting taxes on the wealthy and even cutting taxes on the middle class will NOT result in the wealthy or the middle class spending more. Tax cuts will not foster increased spending, and tax cuts will not increase demand for goods and services. The way to get the middle class to spend more and thereby increase demand for goods and services is to get more people working. And, if the private sector is not willing to invest and to increase employment (due to lack of demand), then the government should stimulate hiring in education, in transportation, in energy, in research and development. The government has a role in stimulating demand, when demand is low. This is textbook macro economics.

So, the idea that all tax increases (even targeted tax increases on the super wealthy) will hurt the economy is just not true. Targeted tax increases can and will help to stimulate the economy–it enables the government to spend more on infrastructure investments without increasing the deficit. Moreover, the idea that tax cuts will always stimulate growth is not correct. Only by creating a stronger middle class and thereby increasing aggregate spending will we grow the economy.

By the way, I favor tax reform. In fact, I think that the U.S. needs to right the injustices of the Bush tax cuts. At the present time, rich people like Romney only pay 15 percent in taxes on millions of dollars in income ($21 million). Middle class America pays about 25% (17% income tax and 7.65% SS and Medicaid). Barack and Michelle Obama’s effective tax rate for 2011 was 20.5% on an adjusted gross income of $789,674. When one factors in sales taxes, property taxes and state taxes, the lower income people pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the wealthy. One source ( estimates that we pay about 50 percent of our income in taxes.

I would favor raising the maximum tax rate of capital gains to 25 percent. This would get the capital gains rate back to historical averages. Moreover, I would advocate returning to a more progressive tax system. I would advocate returning to 1970, when the top tax rate was limited to those making over $1 million per year rather than the current $379,000 per year. Moreover, during the Nixon administration, the top tax rate was 50 percent and the maximum capital gains tax rate was 32.3 percent. I think that a top income tax rate of 45 percent on those making $1 million per year and a 25 percent capital gains rate is fair. In fact, if the U.S. government allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, then we would return to a 25 percent maximum capital gains tax rate and 44.6 percent maximum income tax rate.

At this time, is it wise to raise taxes across the Board and return to the pre-Bush tax rates? Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel laureate in Economics, advocates higher deficits during this period of low interest rates. Krugman says that now is the time for the government to do massive investments in education, in transportation, in energy, in research and development. So, at this time, he does not advocate returning to the pre-Bush era tax rates. Rather, our focus should be on investing in infrastructure, on creating jobs and on building up the middle class, even if we have to run big deficits to do it. When the economy recovers from the financial crisis, then we should raise taxes and reduce government spending.

In short, I find that the pledge to never raise taxes to be ridiculous. Moreover, the idea that government does not have a role in stimulating demand during times of crisis is equally ridiculous. Finally, tax cuts do not always increase growth and neither do deficits magically disappear. Let’s move to a more fair tax system where the ones who benefit the most from living in the US should pay a higher percentage in taxes. Moreover, let’s never lose sight of the fact that a strong middle class is the engine that drives demand and fosters prosperity. And, by all means, when the middle class recovers from the current crisis, let’s radically reduce the deficit by reducing spending and raising taxes.

Mobile Broadband prices, part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about the data prices for 3G and 4G broadband, focusing on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. However, I failed to mention that Clearwire has unlimited WiMax (4G) for $35 per month and no contracts. The only caveat is that Clearwire reduces the pipe to 1.5 megabits per second (upstream and downstream) on their $35 per month plan. However, this is the typical connection speed for a Sprint 4G connection, which currently uses the Clear WiMax service for their 4G service. You might be able to get 6 megabits per second on Clearwire, however, I doubt if you could get that consistently. reports that Clearwire averages 3.4 megabits per second download in Virginia. If you want a Clearwire connection that does not have a rate limit on the pipe, you can purchase unlimited bandwidth for $50 per month.

Recently, T-Mobile won the broadband wireless shootout on PC World ( for their 3G service. T-Mobile averages about 3.4 megabits per second download in Virginia, and about 1 megabit per second upload. The cost for T-Mobile prepaid broadband (with no contract) is $30 per month for 1GB of bandwidth or 3GB for $50 per month.

At this time, I think that Clearwire offers the best deal for wireless Broadband in Virginia. This a 4G only service (with no fallback to 3G). However, if you have good coverage in your city, then I think that it is worth the risk of giving it a try. The Apollo is a decent device at $100 (,2817,2390517,00.asp), and Clearwire no longer requires a contract. Moreover, they will discount the $35 setup fee.

Mobile Broadband prices

Recently, I priced Verizon’s new Mobile Broadband service on the LTE network. I have read many reviews about how Verizon 4G LTE blows away Sprint 4G WiMAX. I was thinking about buying a modem for my wireless devices–you can get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Plus 8GB Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 for $250, but it only comes with WiFi. There are many inexpensive wireless tablets. I was thinking that if I purchased a Wireless Verizon MiFi 4510L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router WiFi device, I could use it with my laptop or with a tablet. When I spoke to the Verizon reps, I discovered the following.

If you want to use a Verizon 4G LTE modem (e.g., MiFi 4510L), then you have to purchase the modem from Verizon, and you have to sign a two year contract for a minimum of $50 per month with plan with a 5GB per month data cap. So, you have to make a commitment to spend $1,200, plus taxes and surcharges, over two years. I was not prepared to spend this much money, plus I do not use 5GB of data per month–I mostly just check my email and checkout a Web site on occasion. So, I asked about the Verizon 3G network.

If you want to go the prepaid, non-contract, route, then you have to choose to use the 3G Verizon network only. MiFi 2200 3G, version one, costs $150 if you buy it from Verizon, and the smallest prepaid data plan offered is 1GB for $50 per month. The only positive thing about this plan is that there are no activation fees.

If you are willing to settle for a 3G modem, the Sprint 3G network is a lot cheaper than Verizon’s 3G and probably just as good, if not better. I think that the best deal for me is through Virgin Mobile. For $20 per month with no activation fee, you can get 500MB per month of 3G network data traffic. The MiFi 2200 sells for $130 on the Virgin Mobile website. If you are willing to spend $50 per month, you can get unlimited data on Sprint’s 3G network.

Verizon is gouging its customers with their expensive data plans. However, since Verizon’s business is starting to slow down (, they are planning to introduce some new data plans, this summer.

Apparently, Verizon is less threatened if you buy a tablet with 4G LTE included. If you buy a 4G LTE tablet (Ipad 3 or Galaxy Tab), Verizon offers a 2GB-per-month data plan for $30, the 5GB for $50 and the 10 GB for $80. The data plans require a 2 year contract. It appears that Verizon was forced to match AT&T pricing plan for tablets.

By the way, AT&T has 4G LTE in 35 cities. The prepaid data plan with a modem from AT&T (DataConnect Month Pass 1GB) costs $50 per month for 1GB of data. However, at least you get 4G data speeds with a prepaid modem. This is probably the best 4G prepaid plan at this time. If you purchase an IPAD with AT&T 4G, they offer a 3GB of data transfer for $30 per month (vs 2GB with Verizon). So, whether your purchase a tablet or a modem, AT&T has better prices than Verizon for 4G LTE services.

So, the bottom line is that if your need 4G LTE and you have the money to purchase a dedicated tablet, go with AT&T at 3GB for $30 per month. If you need the versatility of a modem and you can be satisfied with 3G speeds, purchase a MiFi 2200 modem on Ebay and get the Virgin Mobile prepaid service with 500 MB for $20 per month (or unlimited data for $50 per month).

Wedding registry at

The gift of your presence is enough. Sandra and I really do not expect gifts. And, if you are coming from out of town, it is expensive to purchase airline tickets and a hotel room. So, the gift of your presence is enough.

At the urging of friends, Sandra and I set up a wedding registry at Macy’s ( You can find our registry by clicking on the “WEDDING REGISTRY” button and searching for David Mitchell or Sandra Alexandrino and the date of the wedding (7/3/2009).

Hotel reservations for our Independence Day weekend wedding

In an effort to help our out-of-town guests, we have reserved a limited number of rooms at the following two hotels.
The Hilton, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia, United States 22203, Phone: 1-703-528-6000
Days Inn, 3030 Columbia Pike, Arlington , VA 22204, Phone: 1-703-521-5570

The prices are continuing to rise as the hotels get booked up for Independence Day, July 4. In early March, we were able to book The Hilton for $159 per night, and we were able to book the Days Inn for $100 per night.

Some of Sandra’s family members will arrive as early as Monday, June 29th. But, in general, out-of-town guests are planning to arrive on Thursday, July 2nd and depart on either Sunday July 5th or Monday, July 6th.

The Two Shall Become One

Sandra Alexandrino and David Mithcell will be united in holy matrimony on Friday, the third of July, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia.

Since this is popular weekend to travel to Washington, DC, we are encouraging our friends and family to members to make hotel reservations well in advance of the 4th of July weekend. We recommend the following hotels:
The Hilton, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia, United States 22203, Phone: 1-703-528-6000
Days Inn, 3030 Columbia Pike, Arlington , VA 22204, Phone: 1-703-521-5570
Do not delay in making a hotel reservation. All of the hotels in Washington, DC will be sold out by late May or early June.

On Friday, July 3, the reception will follow the ceremony at 4001 9th Street N. in Arlington. We will have music, an open bar and appetizers.

On Saturday, July 4, we plan to meet up at the McPherson Square metro station at 9:15 a.m. to begin the day of festivities with our friends and family members.

  • First stop, National Archives Building on Constitution Avenue steps, between 7th and 9th Streets. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m.
  • The parade starts at 11:45 a.m. The parade route is along Constitution Avenue between 7th to 17th Streets.
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Beginning at 6:00 p.m. the United States Air Force Band plays with Special Guest Artist(s) Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
  • A Capitol Fourth Concert, West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol, 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. (Admittance begins at 3 p.m.)