What are “Trump Bonus Checks?”

Checking out the May 14 "deadline" pitch from Mike Burnick's Infinite Income newsletter

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 16, 2018

You know, I expect, that there’s no secret trove of “programs” where you can “sign up” and get a free check in the mail every month. But still, the notion that there’s “hidden income” out there is tempting… the newsletter promoters know that many of us are worried about income, or about not getting enough from Social Security or our retirement savings, and they use that to tease us with the notion that there are untold checks on the way to your mailbox if you’ll just “enroll” in their special secret plan.

We see these kinds of ads all the time, of course — the most aggressively promoted one recently has been the “Freedom Checks” spiel from Matt Badiali, though the “Liberty Checks” we looked at last week, teased by Ian Wyatt, are also somewhat similar.

And all of these ads are somewhat similar… they talk about how the government is out to get you, give us the feeling that those fat cats are making all the money, and tell us there’s one secret way you can get your revenge by signing up for your special checks.

This latest one, from Mike Burnick, also throws some red meat on the pile by calling them “Trump Bonus Checks”… which, like last year’s “Cash for Patriots” pitch from Lifetime Income Report, puffs things up a bit by giving the feeling that yes, I love America and therefore I deserve these checks.

Burnick is selling subscriptions to his Infinite Income service for $99/year… and the first part of the ad makes it seem so easy to sign up for these huge checks, including several examples. Here’s one:

“Meet the 74-Year-Old Veteran in Tennessee Who Has Raked in More Than $10,348!

“Fred S. lives in Memphis, and even though he turns 74 this year… he still works…

“Running the same business he started over 40 years ago!

“I guess two tours of Vietnam as a U.S. Marine instills a certain work ethic.

“While fighting for our country, Fred earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

“And Fred loves to give back when he can.

“He supports the Red Cross… Heart to Heart… the United Way and the Salvation Army.

“If anyone deserves a ‘Trump Bonus Check,’ it’s Fred…

“And he just got a ‘Trump Bonus Check’ for over $10,348!”

That’s helps to fuel the imagination, and it also plays right to the target market: Newsletters like this are targeting older folks, in or near retirement, who are desperate for a little income… and they’re hoping that a little pandering will go a long way with the notion that yes, as someone who served his country you, too, “deserve” a “Trump Bonus Check”… and yes, you’re still working, too, well after retirement age, but you do it because you come from a strong generation and you’ve got a great work ethic. You can just about hear the hymnal music coming up behind the commentary (and you can almost hear the muttering about the “millennials” under his breath).

Not that any of that is untrue, necessarily — but when you see the flag waving and start to feel like they’re speaking to you because they know your sacrifice and your patriotism, and therefore they’re looking out for you (as soon as you send in your $99 to get these “bonus checks)… well, then you’re being played.

That Fred S. does receive these “bonus checks”, but it’s not because he’s a veteran or because he has a strong work ethic or because of his inner virtue, it’s because he founded Federal Express in the early 1970s — that’s Fred Smith, who is indeed a veteran (and has a distinguished service record), but he’s not getting by on his “Trump Bonus Checks,” he’s a multi-billionaire who happens to get a lot of dividend checks because he owns a lot of shares of FedEx.

I don’t begrudge him his success, he took huge risks (with the $4 million he inherited) in building the company that he had dreamed up while at Yale University, and he almost lost it all a few times (he once famously went to the gambling tables in Las Vegas to make enough money to pay the company’s fuel bill in the early years), but he pushed forward with his vision… and FedEx is a huge and successful company as a result.

But the $10,348 dividend checks he gets are rounding errors in his checking account.

So yes, “Trump Bonus Checks” are just dividends. Here are a few other bits of the ad to flesh it out a little…

Just know that ‘Trump Bonus Checks’ can’t be destroyed or tampered with by government bureaucrats…

“And you can count on them to keep flowing during market ups and downs!

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“That’s what I call a shot at disaster-proof income.

“No wonder a Forbes contributor said: ‘Talk about an income. Get on board the [Trump Bonus Checks] express.’

Yes, that quote was from a commentary published on Forbes.com — the actual quote is: “Talk about an income. Get on board the dividend express. As a shareholder, you paid for your ticket. Now take the ride.”

And, of course, that was published four years ago… back when Donald Trump was still mostly just a second-rate reality TV star. And it includes that part that most teaser ads like this like to gloss over or ignore, the “you paid for your ticket” bit.

More:

And Dennis Gartman, author of the popular financial Gartman Letter, said that ‘Trump Bonus Checks’ are ‘what retail investors will want.’

That’s even older, from on