Bryan Caplan  

Trump Bets: One Actual, Ten Potential

If the Angry Could Hear What t... The third domino?...
An anonymous reader and I have agreed to the following bet on Trump's presidency:
If Donald Trump resigns, is removed  by the Senate after impeachment, or otherwise is permanently removed as per the the 25th Amendment, or if it never happens that he takes the Oath of office as POTUS on Jan 20, 2017, the BC owes [redacted] $350. Otherwise, [redacted] owes BC $100".
Given Trump's unprecedented age, the most likely losing scenario for me is that he dies in office of natural causes.  Since he seems to be in fairly good health, this still seems like a good bet.

By the way, whatever you think of Scott Alexander's verdict on Trump's racism, give him credit for ending his musings with a bundle of possible bets:

1. Total hate crimes incidents as measured here will be not more than 125% of their 2015 value at any year during a Trump presidency, conditional on similar reporting methodology [confidence: 80%]

2. Total minority population of US citizens will increase throughout Trump's presidency [confidence: 99%]

3. US Muslim population increases throughout Trump's presidency [confidence: 95%]

4. Trump cabinet will be at least 10% minority [confidence: 90%], at least 20% minority [confidence: 70%], at least 30% minority [30%]. Here I'm defining "minority" to include nonwhites, Latinos, and LGBT people, though not women. Note that by this definition America as a whole is about 35% minority and Congress is about 15% minority.

5. Gay marriage will remain legal throughout a Trump presidency [confidence: 95%]

6. Race relations as perceived by blacks, as measured by this Gallup poll, will do better under Trump than they did under Obama (ie the change in race relations 2017-2021 will be less negative/more positive than the change 2009-2016) [confidence: 70%].

7. Neither Trump nor any of his officials (Cabinet, etc) will endorse the KKK, Stormfront, or explicit neo-Nazis publicly, refuse to back down, etc, and keep their job [confidence: 99%].

8. No large demographic group (> 1 million people) get forced to sign up for a "registry" [confidence: 95%]

9. No large demographic group gets sent to internment camps [confidence: 99%]

10. Number of deportations during Trump's four years will not be greater than Obama's 8 [confidence: 90%]

If you disagree with me, come up with a bet and see if I'll take it.

On reflection, I might want to bet against Scott on a few of these, but he's in the right ballpark.  Disagree?  Why get angry when you can profit - materially and reputationally - from his obtuseness?

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (13 to date)
Wallace Forman writes:

"Given Trump's unprecedented age, the most likely losing scenario for me is that he dies in office of natural causes."

Not sure why death in office would cause you to lose the bet. Death and removal are separate events specified by the 25th Amendment. I don't see death otherwise specified (unless he dies before the oath). Perhaps you should clarify your bet with your counterparty.

Andrew_FL writes:

@Wallace Forman-I found that construction odd, too, but figure that if he's mentioning that he'd lose the bet if Trump croaked, that must be the understanding he and the other bettor reached.

I'd make another argument why Trump is not likely to die in office: life expectancy of Presidents.

Oh, to be sure, we have a small sample size for recent presidents, but:

Reagan lived to be 93, out lasting his tenure in office by fifteen years (though w/ Alzheimer's you could make the argument he effectively mentally died years earlier)

Bush I-currently 92 and still alive and well!

Gerald Ford (which is stretching back a little far for comparison!) lived to be 93.

Based on this I would expect Trump to live well into his 90s.

Stephen writes:

Here's another bet in which the "hope" position stands a good chance of beating the "fear" outcome:

The total number of citizen naturalizations over the next four years will exceed the number of deportations.

Mike writes:
Given Trump's unprecedented age...

Oh, come on. Lots of people are over 70.

Mark Bahner writes:
Oh, come on. Lots of people are over 70.

Assuming this isn't a joke (can't tell without the ;-))...when Donald Trump is sworn in, he'll be the oldest U.S. president to be sworn in for the first time. (Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was first sworn in.)

Andrew_FL writes:

As a matter of fact, even if Trump were an average American Male 70 year old-and not a white, rich, President, he'd still be expected to live another 14.24 years, according to the Social Security Administration actuarial tables.

S D writes:

@Andrew FL

I think Bryan is broadly right.

It is impossible know much about his underlying health given the paucity of data. What we do know is that he will face above-average work levels for a man of his age. On the other hand he will have access to (literally) the finest health care ever known to humanity.

If he was the average American male he would face a 12% chance of death at some point between 71 and 74, and a 17% chance of death at some point between 75 and 79.

The other (non-trivial) chance is that he contracts some kind of debilitating condition that makes the exercise of his duties impossible. I cannot find reliable data on this but it undoubtedly increases throughout the course of a man's seventies. Only 18.5% of white males aged between 70 and 74 are in employment.

Matt Skene writes:

If his confidence level reflects betting odds, I might have to take some of those if he'll let me. 9/11 really wasn't that long ago, so why do so many people have trouble remembering what happened afterwards? Bush's approval ratings shot up, he was handed tons of power, and no one really opposed his efforts to restrict people's liberties. Conditional on a large-scale successful terrorist attack carried out by a Muslim organization the odds of many of these horrible things happening goes way up. And given that Trump's words are already being used for recruitment and funding drives by terrorists, the words and actions of his administration will make such an attack far more likely than it was under Obama. One big attack, and a ban on Muslim immigration is likely. This, in turn, is likely to lead to domestic attacks from sympathetic parties here. This, in turn, is likely to lead to increasingly draconian responses to American Muslims.

There are other things that could happen first to cut off this string of events, but I think he's way off on a lot of these. For the sake of my sanity and my money, I'd be happy if someone could explain why this thinking is mistaken before I try to put a bet together. When someone starts laying the groundwork for internment within the first two weeks of winning, though, I have a hard time understanding a 99% certainty that it won't happen, let alone such a high certainty that less substantial rights violations will occur.

Floccina writes:

#3 it depends on how you define Muslim, many are leaving the faith.

Glen Raphael writes:

@Matt Skein:
What specific action of Trump's struck you as "laying the groundwork for internment?"

(The main thing I recall was some massively overhyped prompted speculation of people who weren't yet advising Trump. And even that needed some unlikely logical leaps to get to "internment".)

The fact that in the height of the election, lots of people chose to perceive or portray Trump as Hitlerish doesn't actually make him such.

douglas bennett writes:

How could one design a wager with this person "Climate Change Specialist"
who says that his marginal utility for $1 billion dollars in 2027 is nothing ?


[Broken HTML fixed for both links. Cat-on-keyboard left in place.--Econlib Ed.]

douglas bennett writes:

Sorry about that... I'll try again

Here is the link to the
"Climate Change Specialist". Seems like he has made himself immune from the usual BC format of holding the money and paying out in the event.

Eric Bergemann writes:

Bryan will lose #8, 100% confidence. It is called "Selective Service".

If that is included, I will take Bryan on that bet.

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