Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pledge Allegiance to the Trump Brand - The new normal in the White House is Trump profits before country.

update  NY Times Trump’s Defense of Ivanka Reflects Approach That Could hurt the Economy

Ivanka Trump’s business just absorbed some blows. But more damaging than Nordstrom’s decision to drop her clothing line might have been the reaction from her father, the president. His lashing out at the upscale department store seems to reflect an approach to industrial policy that often brings unintended consequences.

In response to Nordstrom’s decision, President Trump took to Twitter to complain:
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
5:51 PM
Lest the message be unclear, his official presidential account dutifully retweeted the complaint. And his son Donald Trump Jr.followed up with reports that supporters were planning to boycott the store.

Such actions, if meant to disrupt Nordstrom’s business, could be a signal to other retailers that it’ll be costly to cut off existing business relationships with the Trump family. This kind of bullying could have unintended consequences.

Put yourself in the shoes of a purchasing manager considering adding the Ivanka Trump Collection to your stores. Even if you think her products are excellent, Mr. Trump’s outburst provides an incentive not to stock them. After all, if it doesn’t work out, who wants to be in the cross-hairs of an easily angered president with 24.3 million Twitter followers and the power of the regulatory state? It might be far safer to do business with someone else. 

 And when you make it more expensive to exit a relationship, you make it more expensive to enter it. That extra cost can create a greater harm. It’s a lesson that many European governments have learned the hard way. Research shows that efforts to boost employment by making it difficult or costly to fire workers have backfired. The prospect of a costly and lengthy legal battle for laid-off employees makes it less appealing to hire new workers. The result has been that higher firing costs have led to to weaker productivity, sclerotic labor markets and higher unemployment.

US News and World Report

"I pledge allegiance, to the Trump brand, and to the United States of America."

That's the direct order coming from the White House, and all Americans and corporations should take heed.

After the luxury retailer Nordstrom made the decision to stop carrying Ivanka Trump's label in its stores, as doing so was no longer profitable, the new president took action:

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
5:51 PM - 8 Feb 2017

Adviser Kellyanne Conway took it even further on Thursday, telling "Fox and Friends" viewers, "It's a wonderful line. I own some of it. … I'm going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody." Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer called Nordstrom's decision "a direct attack on his policies and her name."

Catch their drift? Private business decisions that hurt the Trump family bottom-line are seen as an official affront to the White House, and it's up to all of us as consumers to make sure the Trump brand is profitable.

The unabashed anger from the administration shows Trump was never serious when he and his family promised to separate their personal businesses from the business of running the country; they've been playing us for fools all along.

vanka pledged last month that upon her father taking office, she would resign from managing both the Trump Organization and her personal clothing and accessories brand. But ProPublica found that despite the promises, she's done neither – she hasn't even filed the appropriate paperwork in many cases.

Trump has been in office less than three weeks, and already his immediate family has given every indication they expect to profit off the presidency. Melania Trump specified in a defamation lawsuit that her new title of first lady gave her a "unique, one-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to garner "multi-million dollar business relationships." Taxpayers paid nearly $100,000 for Eric Trump to fly to Uruguay to promote the Trump Organization last month. The Department of Defense will soon pay the Trump Organization rent for space in Trump Tower, in order to "support the POTUS at his residence in the building."

Despite Trump's flashy press conference last month, complete with (possibly blank) piles of paper and folders, during which he promised to place his business holdings in a trust run in part by his son Don Jr., new documents show the trust specifies the assets therein are for the "exclusive benefit" of Trump himself, whose Social Security number still holds the accounts. He'll reportedly continue to receive updates on the profitability of his company. And if he'll reflexively attack Nordstrom for decisions on his daughter's company, it follows that he'll react in kind to perceived slights against his own organization.[...]

Beyond the glaring conflict of interest and economic blackmail the administration's response imposes on American businesses, it might also have broken the law. Federal law prohibits public office holders from endorsing any product or using public office for private gain. Even if the president is immune from legal restrictions on conflicts of interest (which is still up for debate in some cases), advisers like Conway are assuredly not.

Whatever the legal outcome, this appears to be the new normal from the White House: Trumps before country. For anyone looking to put themselves in the president's good graces, a good place to start would be showing up in Ivanka Trump accessories and shoes.

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