In his counter-rally to Thursday’s Fox News debate, real estate mogul Donald Trump said that greed is a good thing.
“My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy,” Trump said. “I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.”
In one sense, Trump is right that greed is a good thing. Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman explained the economic incentives of greed:
“Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”
However, some of Trump’s positions and actions suggest that he may not mean greed is good in this way. As The Daily Wire has previously reported, Trump is still enthusiastic about his support of eminent domain–where the government confiscates private property–and Trump aimed to kick this poor woman off of her property in order to expand a limousine parking lot. Trump has also employed illegal aliens, as they are, after all, cheaper labor.
Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell highlighted some other examples of Trump’s crony capitalism:
- A tax abatement deal between Trump and New York City in order to build a hotel.
- Requesting the Connecticut government to confiscate land from five private businesses in order for Trump to build “amusement park, shipping terminal and seaport village and office complex.”
- Trump going to court to fight the building of a casino in upstate New York.
“I’m so greedy.”
The Daily Wire‘s Hank Berrien has also reported that Trump at one point considered airline passengers at risk in order to cut costs for his own airline and beat his competition.
Given these examples, Trump declaring that greed is good is simply another way of him saying he will enrich himself at the expense of others, instead of the economic incentives that a true free-market capitalist would emphasize.