The big political story of the weekend was the New York Times article revealing a small part of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns. That coupled with a comment he made during his debate with Hillary Clinton puts many things into a new perspective. Let’s explore.
The New York Times received an anonymous manila envelope in September containing photocopies of one page each of Trump’s 1995 New York State (resident) income taxes, along with New Jersey and Connecticut (non-resident) income taxes. It appears the source of the documents is inside the Trump organization but the New York Times does not know their identity. The Times was somewhat skeptical of the authenticity of the documents at first and did a very diligent job of insuring that they were the real thing.
Just these three pages reveal Trump claimed a loss of $916 million in 1995. Not only did that mean he paid zero in state and federal income taxes that year; he was able to avoid paying income taxes for possibly as much as the next 18 years.
Just prior to publication Marc E. Kasowitz, a Trump attorney, sent a letter to the New York Times that threatened, “Prompt initiation of appropriate legal action,” if the Times released the documents. This is a typical Trump bully move. Also note that neither Trump nor anyone representing him has questioned the authenticity of the documents.
In fact the Trump campaign released the following statement: “Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for president and he is the only one that knows how to fix it.” Where do I begin?
The idea of Trump being benevolent to his employees is laughable! The statement sounds too much like his original doctor’s letter proclaiming that if elected he would be the healthiest President ever. The, “I’m the only one who can fix it,” line from his acceptance speech is used again. To me it looks more like an episode of the old TV show It Takes A Thief . It also begs the question: What about a patriotic duty to pay taxes?
During the debate Hillary Clinton pondered the reasons that may be causing Trump to not release his taxes as every major Party candidate has done since Richard Nixon started the practice. When she suggested that it may be because he hasn’t paid any taxes Trump interrupted with the line, “That makes me smart.” (For the record that was one of 40 such interruptions. It’s interesting how the bad microphone worked well those 40 times.) To most hard working Americans making $30, 50, 70 or 100 thousand a year and paying income taxes the implication is that if Trump is smart that makes us stupid.
Insulting the electorate is never a smart move for a candidate. But what do I know? Heck, unlike Trump I never hit seven, eight or nine figures in income in any year and I am stupid enough to pay taxes on my relatively petty income.
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