Black Holes, Diapers, and Donald Trump’s Winning Strategy

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on March 24, 2016 in Money Saving Strategies, Personal Finances

“Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution.” — Vladimir Nabokov

Today, we take a break from our series on wealth independence.

It’s too nice an afternoon to talk about compound inflation and negative interest rates. Besides, the seasons are beginning to change…from summer to fall. So we’ll follow their lead and shift to another subject…

We’ve been keeping a wandering eye on the elections in the U.S. Not because we necessarily care about the outcome (in every election, the government wins)…but because it’s all so darned entertaining!

We watch the proceedings like a squirrel might observe a renaissance festival; we’re intrigued by the games and the actors and the general lunacy afoot…but at the end of the day, it doesn’t affect the price of acorns.

Still, we listen, agog, as Donald Trump whips his supporters into a frenzy. His rallies seem only to grow and grow.

The man has pledged to “Make America Great Again” after all!

Who could argue with that…or, for that matter, with any of the other candidates’ vacuous, bumper sticker slogans?

In the world of politics, Trump is still somewhat of an enigma. He’s a puzzle. A Gordian knot. What Donald Rumsfeld might have called an “unknown unknown.”

That is to say, even people who don’t know what to make of him don’t know that they don’t know what to make of him. They think they’ve got him pegged. It’s likely the other way around.

A billionaire businessman with a swimsuit model for a wife and friends and associates in the highest places (including the leading candidate for the opposing ticket), The Donald nevertheless manages to connect with the everyday, man-on-the-street.

They see Trump as the alpha male…the lead dog…someone who will talk tough and “make a deal” on their behalf.

And why not?

It’s no secret that honest, hard-working folks are disenfranchised. Any wonder. The average worker hasn’t had a real raise since the ’70s. As for the promised economic “recovery,” it seems to have just passed them on by.

They’ve lost faith in “the system.” (A good thing, in our opinion. It was undeserving of their trust from the get-go.)

Main Street Americans now worry about their job prospects…their retirement…their savings…their freedoms…their very “way of life” (whatever that means)…

Poll after poll shows trust and confidence—in government, in the media, in traditional institutions at all levels—at multi-generational lows.

In a very real sense, the average working man and woman is right to feel abused. The system HAS failed them…just as it was always bound to do. It’s in the nature of things, after all.

Fish swim. Birds fly. And political systems, like black holes, suck. That is, they absorb wealth and resources from without into the cold, dark, dense center within.

Indeed, the 495 beltway encircling the capital has become a kind of “event horizon,” over which pours hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars…wealth earned, produced, and nurtured everywhere except Washington D.C.

The capital vortex is such that money flows freely from virtually every corner of the nation to its seat of power. In fact, half of the top 10 counties with the highest median income in the country are to be found within a nine iron from the capital.

Places like Loudoun County, VA, which, at $117,876, has a median household income of more than double the national average…and Howard County, MD, at $108,844…

You might well be wondering what exactly they make in, say, Montgomery County, MD, to justify a median income of $94,965 per household? Or Fairfax County, VA, at $109,383? Or Arlington County, VA, at $101,533?

The answer, The Savvy Retiree Daily reader, is that they make deals. And truthfully, they make plenty of them.

These zip codes belong to the insiders…the lobbyists…the grafters…the power brokers…the contractors…the staffers…the pollsters.

Wander around these wooded neighborhoods with their expansive yards and vast, prized homes.

You won’t find any heavy industry churning out prized exports…or high-tech brain trusts figuring out the next “killer app”…or oilmen plunging the depths of the earth to recover the energy that powers the global economy.

This isn’t where wealth is created…it’s where wealth is consumed.

That’s just how the system works.

Eventually, of course, things reach a point where the jilted masses out on the periphery realize “something’s up.” They’re not quite sure what, exactly. But they know they don’t like it.

The populace understands, as Mark Twain once observed, that politicians, like diapers, need changing often…and for the same reason.

And so, when it comes to election time, they are prepared to go along with just about anything…so long as it’s not the same old thing.

Remember, this election was supposed to be a clash of the Bush-Clinton dynasties. The latter is still very much the favorite, the Establishment’s choice…but the former wilted like a toy soldier under a mischievous child’s magnifying glass.

In Trump, the average voter sees a man who’s shaking things up. Ruffling feathers. Reshuffling the deck.

His strategy is not a stupid one…and his success thus far no fluke.

As far as we can recall, no candidate has ever campaigned (much less won) on a promise to do “more of the same.”

“Vote for me, I’ll change nothing!” said no politician ever.

And so…cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Trump proposes all manner of drastic measures to “Make America Great Again!”

Whether the policies are sound or not is entirely beside the point. The same goes for the rest of the candidates.

Politics isn’t about what works…it’s about what wins. It’s about optics. About making the man on the street feel like he’s got someone in his corner.

In Trump, a growing number of people feel like they have a voice…regardless of what it says.

T&P Tool Shed

By the staff of Truth and Plenty

Half of the Top 20 Highest Median Income Counties are Within an Hour’s Drive of the Capital

Black Holes, Diapers, and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy


1 Loudoun County Virginia $117,876
2 Fairfax County Virginia $109,383
3 Howard County Maryland $108,844
4 Hunterdon County New Jersey $105,186
5 Arlington County Virginia $100,474
6 Stafford County Virginia $97,606
7 Putnam County New York $96,223
8 Somerset County New Jersey $95,825
9 Douglas County Colorado $95,324
10 Morris County New Jersey $95,294
11 Montgomery County Maryland $94,965
12 Prince William County Virginia $93,744
13 Nassau County New York $93,214
14 Santa Clara County California $91,425
15 Charles County Maryland $90,880
16 Williamson County Tennessee $90,759
17 Marin County California $90,535
18 Anne Arundel County Maryland $89,179
19 Calvert County Maryland $87,449
20 Sussex County New Jersey $86,625