A recent Wall> Street Journal/NBC News poll found Donald Trump tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for second among primary voters as their pick for the Republican nomination for president.
Aside from the attention he has received for questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Trump's primary appeal is undoubtedly his business experience. Given the nation's festering inflation, exploding deficit and still moribund economy, there's obvious interest in leaders who promote fiscal conservatism, capitalism and growth. The problem is: Donald Trump isn't one of those leaders.
Successful businessmen are oftentimes the worst defenders of capitalism. Recent financial interventions began not with President Obama, for example, but with the $30 billion bailout of Bear Stearns under the supposedly fiscally conservative Bush Administration and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former head of Goldman Sachs (GS)
Both Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B)
Yet because of their great individual wealth, their ideas are championed as business-savvy proposals which would lead to a stronger, more prosperous economy.
They would not and neither would those of Donald Trump.
For example, Trump professes to support free trade, yet proposes a 25% tax on imported goods from China to level what he sees as trade imbalances in the global economy. It's a contemptuous proposal which would immediately punish Americans by raising the price on virtually everything we buy.
He has also called for regulators to stop European stock operator Deutsche B rse's (DBOEY)
On top of that, he has pushed for a one-time 14.25% tax on the rich as a means of supplementing funding for Social Security and Medicaid, along with universal health care. Philosophically, those positions are indistinguishable from the anti-capitalist political establishment now in power.
Trump, of course, is free to run and support whatever platform he wishes, as are his many fans across the country. But despite his personal fortune, they should know his proposals and political philosophy are far from capitalist. Punitive and redistributionist taxes, centralized planning, barriers to trade and an entitlement "social safety net" are all ideas straight out of Karl Marx, not John Galt.
"You need a person like me to run this country for a while because we have to get this country back so that we're respected again." Trump told CNN recently.
A businessman whose proposals seek to destroy capitalism? There's nothing to respect about that.
Jonathan Hoenig is managing member at Capitalistpig Hedge Fund LLC.