This is a short book (I listened to it in a day while doing yard work) and it gives a good overview of A) what Trump's opinions are and B) what kind of person he is. It's a good thing to read if you feel woefully uninformed (as I do). (Note: it was written in 2011, right before the last election, when Trump was thinking of running for president but decided not to).
(a summary of Trump's points / my commentary in italics)
Foreign Policy Regarding Oil
We should a) force Iraq to give us some of their oil (this is just because we spent a lot of money liberating them, and if we leave, Iran will just take it all anyway), b) sue OPEC (the coalition of oil-producing countries that currently colludes to fix oil prices in violation of all anti-trust laws... this would require passing the "NOPEC" bill, which was passed but vetoed by Bush in 2008 because of fears of "retaliatory action"), c) reduce restrictions to promote domestic oil production. These three things will gain / save America a ton of money to help balance the budget.
I'm skeptical that forcing Iraq to give us oil is justifiable in any way... it would be a dangerous policy to say, "We decided you needed liberation, then liberated you, so now you pay us", and one which could quickly lead to us "liberating" other oil-rich countries. OPEC anti-trust collusion does sound bad... but I need to get more info to have an opinion.
Foreign Policy Regarding China
China manipulates currency (undervalues the currency so that people want to buy from / outsource to China) and takes our jobs. We should tax China's products by 25% until they set a real market value on their currency. They're also building their military and hiding it and attacking the US with corporate espionage.
The point about undervaluing currency seems fairly legit, and the 25% tax sounds like a decent idea, but I have literally no information about this issue other than what Trump gave, so I need to do more research on it.
A fairly typical republican / Reagan-type opinion: lower taxes will stimulate growth and actually raise revenue for the government, high taxes on corporations are stupid and incentivize outsourcing to other countries, etc. Specific tax system proposed: 0% corporation tax (instead of 39%), individual taxes of 1% for <$30k a year, 5% for $30k-$100k, 10% for $100k to $1m, 15% for >$1m, eliminate "death tax" of up to 35%.
I think the principles are sound, but am not educated enough to comment on the specific plan.
Solving our Debt
44% of our budget is Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. We should keep these (like Ronald Reagan said). The first thing to help is to stimulate the economy (lower taxes). The second is to crack down on fraud and waste... private businesses do things way more efficiently than the government. Actually the first thing to do is to get lots of money with better policies regarding China and OPEC.
Not much of a specific plan here, but I got the sense that Trump would treat the US more like a business that needs to be profitable and use foreign relations to maximize profitability.
We should build up our military. China is a real threat. We have to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons at all costs. We have to allow our soldiers to shoot back when Pakistan shoots at them. We have to "take the oil" / demand payment when people want aid from us or military protection from us... we're not a charity.
Hard to comment on this... it strikes a "heck yeah, America!" chord but also makes it sound like Trump would be fairly likely to start some wars.
Welfare needs reform badly. It should be "a safety net, not a hammock". Huge amounts of waste occur, and the lack of accountability encourages people towards poverty, not away from it (similar opinion to Ben Carson and most Republicans, (quotes Reagan as saying, "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.") but also to FDR, who he quotes as saying, "Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. it is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America". Trump praises the Welfare Reform act that Clinton signed and proposes more of the same (specifically, drug testing for all welfare recipients).
Seems pretty reasonable.
Lots of predictions about what Obamacare would do (I guess it was about to go into effect) and criticism of the idea of forcing people toward buying a government product, the small-business squelching it would do, etc.
Crime caused by illegal immigrants is a huge problem (cites lots of statistics). Housing non-citizens in US prisons is a huge burden on our budget. The US's policies regarding legal citizenship are stupid; we are one of only two countries that allows citizenship if you are born in the US; everyone else bases citizenship on whether you would be a high contributor to the country. We should not be taking the "undesirables" from other countries, we should be making qualifications for only the highest contributors to become citizens. 5-point Trump plan: 1) secure our borders (wall, virtual or real, + more guards), 2) enforce our current laws on deportation / etc. 3) overturn ICE recommendations for illegal immigrant detention facilities (which are resort-like / luxurious), 4) oppose the DREAM act and stop giving in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants but not to out-of-state citizens 5) (forgot to include it?).
I need to form a better opinion on this. Enforcing our laws seems like a good idea, supporting non-citizen criminals in our prisons seems like a bad idea. While I get the "set the bar for citizenship high" principle, I'm not sure how it jives with the ""Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" principle.
What kind of person Trump is
A big thread seems to be a "all's fair in business", "do it if you can get away with it", "the ends justify the means" attitude. When explaining that he is not anti-Chinese, he says that all the dishonest things China is apparently doing to us (manipulating currency, corporate espionage, etc.) are understandable and smart, and that he would do the same if he could. "If we could get away with it against them, I would strongly encourage us to do so.".
Another thread is arrogance / self-obsession. A huge section of the book (an afterword) are about all the people that have said bad things about Trump, all the TV shows he's been on, all the compliments he's received... basically an opportunity to demonstrate how popular and talented he is and "set the record straight" on any points of besmirched honor.
A final thread is practicality / competency. Despite the blustering, I do get the impression that Trump is a get-stuff-done sort of guy, in both the best and worst sense of the word (i.e. competent but willing to take questionable steps to accomplish his goals).