The New York Times broke a HUGE story on Trump’s taxes a few days ago. In 2016 and 2017 Trump only paid $750 in taxes and he paid $0 in taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years. I’ve seen more than a few commentators say, “So he’s got a great accountant. If he is smart enough to get his tax bill down that low, good for him.” Here is my response based on the following two stories.
- Trump won election in 2016 largely on the myth that he was a great businessman. In reality, he was given or inherited the equivalent of over $400 million in today’s dollars and he nearly lost it all in the early 1990s on his poor business ventures. He was thrown a lifeline when he got to pretend to be a successful businessman on the Apprentice. Trump earned $427 million from the show and licensing deals that arose from the show. However, he once again proved to be a bad businessman by tying up much of that money in unprofitable businesses. The very core of his reputation—that he was a genius at business—is a lie.
- Trump has personally taken out loans worth $421 million over the next four years. These aren’t loans he can sleaze out of by having his company go bankrupt. They are PERSONAL. In addition, he got a very questionable refund from the IRS that is under audit. If he loses his audit he may have to pay the IRS back $100 million when interest factored in. Where he is going to get over $400 million to pay back what he owes is unclear. One of the things that security agencies look for when they are deciding who to give security clearances to is whether an applicant is in too much debt. If someone is heavily in debt then they can be bribed. Trump has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from SOMEONE. Who? The Russians? The Turks? Whoever it is might not have America’s best interests at heart and could be leading Trump around by the nose.
- In 2018, Trump announced in a PUBLIC financial disclosure that he had made at least $434.9 million. Yet he reported a $47.4 million in LOSS to the IRS. This suggests that he had more than just a good accountant. A discrepancy of this magnitude suggests TAX FRAUD. Keep in mind that Michael Cohen said Trump would underreport the value of his earnings and assets to the IRS and overstate their value when applying to banks for loans. This suggests Trump was either committing tax fraud or bank fraud or both. And remember, someone has to pay for government services. When Trump doesn’t pay for his fair share—strike that—when he doesn’t even pay for his legally required share whether it is fair or not, that means that you and I are paying for Trump’s share of defense and highways and education and all the other services that the government renders. Do you enjoy being a sucker for Trump? I sure as hell don’t.
- David David Leonhardt of the New York Times writes:
NYT story points out, “In 2017, the average federal income rate for the highest-earning .001 percent of tax filers — that is, the most affluent 1/100,000th slice of the population — was 24.1 percent, according to the I.R.S. Over the past two decades, Mr. Trump has paid about $400 million less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.”
Trump’s peers among the ultra-wealthy can afford the best tax attornies. The huge discrepancy between what Trump paid in taxes and what his peers paid suggests something is fishy. True, being in the real estate industry gives him more opportunities for large tax breaks than being in other industries, but when combined with the other facts presented, this sure smells like tax fraud to me.
And one last thing. The only way to PROVE tax fraud and/or bank fraud is to compare financial statements he gave to his banks to financial statements he has given to the IRS. If everything is on the up and up, why do you think Trump told Mueller that investigating his business dealings would be crossing a red line? And why is he fighting tooth and nail to prevent the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, from getting his taxes?
Oh, and apropos of nothing: