As nearly every president had done before him, the process of creating at blind trust is supposed to separate the commander-in-chief’s personal wealth from their office. While this might be slightly more complicated due to the fact that part of the value of Trump’s business holdings is the brand, he was still expected to at least cede complete control to an entity outside of his family.
Not only did he appoint his son to be one of the overseer’s of the “Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust”, but the word “revocable” thrown in means that the president himself can revoke those overseers and appoint new ones.
In addition, the trust isn’t divesting and reinvesting as you might expect, so that the president would not know how his money is being used. This leads to a situation where a sitting president can very well make decisions that would intentionally help their business holdings, while at the same time coming up short for taxpayers.
According to most estimates, Trump, through his trust, is worth between $2-4 billion. Much of that money is tied up in higher-end real estate and hotels. It makes sense that a couple of decisions coming from the executive office to help the real estate market take off could end up resulting in very high selling prices for condominiums and rental rates going through the roof.
It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see housing prices appreciate by 8% a year (or more), similar to what was seen during the 2008 housing bubble. Rental prices would probably rise even more since higher real estate prices would probably push more people into the rental market, even though loans will be easier to get. We won’t be going back to the days of NINJA (No Income, No Job, Application) loans, but Trump stands to see dual benefits from his real estate holdings.
The ripple effects of his policies will carry over long after he has left office, especially with a Republican-controlled Congress at the helm for at least the next two years.
Signs of this are already underway as the president has determined that the Dodd-Frank Act should all but be repealed. Giving the banks the ability to invest depositor dollars as they please can lead to riskier loans, sending housing and rental prices skyward, but into a potential bubble worse than the one we saw in 2008. In the first two weeks of his presidency, he is already taking concrete steps to help build his personal fortune.