Nearly everyone who knows business will argue that Trump has been successful.
I don't think this is an objective claim. How shall we define people who "know business"? Also, it doesn't matter what people who "know business" think. It matters what the facts are.
I do not personally know a whole lot about running a corporation, so I will not sit here an pretend I do.
I don't know anything about running a corporation or making it successful. I do however know about math. If someone starts his career with X dollars and runs a series of corporations for many decades, and at the ends all he has to show for it is Y dollars in assets, which is about the same ROI than the entire market on average, it makes them a mediocre business man at best. Add on top of this that the fact that it seems like he also engages in a pretty decent amount of fraud, and it looks even more pathetic.
But I have been thoroughly convinced by those who do know business very well, including close friends who deal with it daily, who have explained to me that Trump has been successful at business.
So if you know nothing about business, and don't claim to, how do you know your friends are good at business and consequently whether their opinion is accurate?
If you want to discredit him, I don't think that angle is the best approach.
I'm not trying to discredit him. I spend roughly half my time defending trump from false accusations (e.g. misquotations, etc). I think he is doing a perfectly good job of discrediting himself.
All the experts that I personally know, whether they like Trump or not, at least agree that he is a good businessman.
There are plenty of people saying that Trump is a bad business man. Are those people experts? How would you even know if you know nothing about business and don't claim to?
Here is my advice. Don't listen to experts (self-proclaimed or otherwise). Do your own research.
Here are just some random articles I found doing a quick google search.
And here is one critical of this comparison
This isn't some kind of weird angle I came up with. And whether we have the right numbers or not (only Trump and his accountants and lawyers know that), this is in my opinion a legitimate and objective comparison of how well Trump did vs. how well someone could do with no business or financial skills if they had started with the same amount of money.
Who knows maybe Trump will release his tax returns for the last 40 years, and we get a clearer picture of how much money he actually has, how much he inherited, etc. Made he is richer than we all assumed, and he's a great business man. Maybe he is much poorer than he claims (as people like Mark Cuban have speculated), and he is actually a terrible business man.
I am genuinely open to both possibilities. The claim I am making is that the comparison to index funds is a good one, and if it turns out he did much better than index funds, I will admit that Donald Trump is a good business man (if not an ethical one). The other claim I am making is that not everyone "good at business" thinks Trump is a good businessman. A lot of that is undoubtedly political, so I would hesitate to say Trump was a bad business man because lot's of people said he was bad, but the opposite is also a pretty dubious claim.