Author Of New Book On Scams Asks If Donald Trump Deserves A Hug⎯Or Maybe Not...

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Michael Friedlander challenges Donald Trump to summon the political, intellectual and moral courage to get off the birther issue and address two serious business ethical issues and make a difference...

If we pretend the cheating isn't happening, does it mean it's not happening?

Friedlander focuses on two of the most serious ethical crises in the very business world over which Trump presides. The first is the crisis of pervasive cheating. The second is the crisis of those who look the other way as those around them cheat.

In a recent article, Michael Friedlander, the author of a critically acclaimed new book on scams and white-collar crime, "Detecting the Scam: Nelson Mandela's Gift," explores the potential candidacy of Donald Trump. He suggests that Trump might focus on a more substantive issue than either the birther issue or his latest issue that President Obama didn't deserve to attend the Ivy league schools he attended.

In looking at Trump's pending candidacy, Friedlander invokes The Duck School, the school of common sense, the first rule of which is this: If what we are looking at looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we might just be looking at a duck. When we look at Trump, Friedlander asks, what are we really looking at? Are we looking at a courageous and principled business mogul who is prepared to take on the powerful business and financial lobby⎯or are we looking at just another mogul in an empty suit seeking high office?

Friedlander focuses on two of the most serious ethical crises in the very business world over which Trump presides. The first is the crisis of pervasive cheating. The second is the crisis of those who look the other way as those around them cheat. He asks if Trump will address these crises? Friedlander sees Trump’s celebrity and personal wealth as offering him the unusual opportunity to do so by standing up to the powerful business and financial lobby.

But why should Trump even bother with this, Friedlander asks?

One answer lies in the sheer magnitude of the cost of corporate crime. Another answer lies in Trump's larger-than-life persona. And particularly in the light of the inability of our institutions and mainstream media to ask the hard questions and address the crises, who better than Trump to take up the challenge of getting our business and financial houses in order? And who better to stop the hemorrhaging of cash at the hands of corporate crime? And, Friedlander argues, if Trump has the courage to stand up to China, Saudi Arabia, OPEC and the ocean pirates, while sticking his fingers squarely in their eyes, surely those faceless business and financial lobbyists will never be able to withstand his glare? No, Friedlander argues,Trump is our man⎯if he can summon the courage to confront those faceless lobbyists.

How serious is the problem of corporate crime? Friedlander argues that if corporate crime is the elephant in the room, street crime is an insignificant flea snuggled comfortably out of sight behind the elephant's tail. He believes that it is time to start focusing more on the elephant⎯and less on the flea.

He points out that, on the one hand, the FBI has estimated that street crime costs America more than $3.8 billion a year. On the other hand, the Corporate Crime Reporter estimates that auto repair fraud alone costs the country around $40 billion a year. Securities fraud costs around $15 billion a year. Healthcare fraud is reported to cost between $100 billion and $400 billion a year. And lest we forget the original mother-of-all-frauds⎯the savings and loan fraud, this cost America close to $500 billion. And all of this is before we factor in the cost of the latest mother-of-all-frauds: Tyco, Adelphia, WorldCom, Enron and the Bernard Madoff adventures. As the elephant grows enormously, the flea fades into insignificance.

None of this, Friedlander argues, is a deep and dark secret. The recent Oscar-winning documentary, "The Inside Job," has masterfully shone a light both on the enormous cost of corporate crime and on the complicity of the government, our business schools and the financial and business lobby in making the regulation of our financial services industry almost impossible. As the documentary illustrates, this lobby that has now infiltrated our government and other institutions and colleges.

Friedlander suggests that Trump, with his enormous wealth, is potentially quite well-positioned to confront this powerful lobby⎯assuming he will be able to summon a level of political, intellectual and moral courage akin to that of Nelson Mandela to address these issues. While it is difficult for Friedlander even to refer to Trump and Mandela in the same breath, Mandela does offer Trump an example of what can be accomplished if that courage can be summoned. But, will he be able to summon it? Only time will tell...

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