It’s time to Break It Down!
By the numbers, most Americans pay taxes. An even greater number believes that doing so is a function of one’s civic duty. In fact, perhaps surprisingly, that includes a substantial majority of folks who consider themselves Trump supporters.
Surprisingly so, because on a gaggle of issues, Mr. Trump’s surrogates and supporters have consistently unearthed more and more creative ways to contort themselves into pretzel-shape, all in order to defend some of the most whimsical and unorthodox position a candidate for American public office, to say nothing of the Presidency, has ever articulated and embraced.
While his surrogates are paid to take on this often miserable job, his supporters from all across the country, if television interviews are a reliable indicator, willingly, and for free, step up to a mic and utter allegiance to or support for some of the most bizarre public policy and political pronouncements of at least the 21st century.
Donald Trump and his taxes have been one of the more talked about matters of the 2016 Presidential Campaign. If one were to conduct an online reference check, Trump’s taxes probably would not appear as often as “Building a wall,” or “Muslim ban,” or even Crooked Hillary.” But it would likely rival those phrases, and exceed almost any others related directly to Trump’s campaign. The Donald’s taxes have been a key fixture in discussions about the 2016 Presidential Race for several reasons, starting with the fact that every major Party nominee for the past 40 years has released their tax returns.
Of course, Trump is not new to outlier status. Among recent candidates, he is the lone nominee to refuse to concede, until the last two weeks, that President Obama was born in Hawaii, he is a Climate Change denier, and he claimed he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering because of the 9/11 bombings. There is confirmed science and/or reliable documentation that support the polar opposite of each of those positions. Suffice it to say, unconventional does not even begin to adequately describe Donald Trump’s stated approach to governance.
According to a CNN/ORC Poll, which was released this past Monday, registered voters strongly believe in the nexus between taxes and good citizenship. The Poll results showed:
“Of nearly all registered voters surveyed — 86% — say they see paying taxes as every American’s civic duty, while 12% say that they see taxes as an unnecessary burden to be avoided.”
While those are impressive numbers, the number of Trump supporters who concur was nearly as high, coming in at 79%, or nearly 8 of 10. It is important to note that most of the surveys were completed prior to “Saturday night’s October 1st report from The New York Times that revealed Trump might have avoided income taxes for the last 18 years after declaring a $916 million loss in 1995.”
The Times did not have access to Mr. Trump’s entire return. Its investigators and reporters looked at one page of his resident New York State return, and on page from nonresident returns from New Jersey and Connecticut. Aside from the outrageous numbers involved in Mr. Trump’s alleged loss, perhaps the most damning fact to emerge from this revelation is that the Trump campaign has not challenged anything presented by the Times’ story. Instead they have attempted to pivot and refer to the Times as having illegally obtained the information.
In fact, according to a CNN report, Trump or his representatives threatened to file suit against the Times if it published the story. Clearly, the Times and its staff were either underwhelmed by the prospect of yet another Trump lawsuit, or supremely confident in the merits of the story. In any event, Trump and his minions, I mean his men and women, have been working double time this week to render normal the idea of his not paying taxes, and then circling back to defend his doubling down and characterizing, actually congratulating himself for being, among other things, smart, genius, and brilliant for creatively joining the ranks of the non-taxpayers.
As noted previously, Trump is no stranger to curious positions. There is an inordinate irony encapsulated in his no tax-paying hubris, as he has on a number of occasions, lamented OPP (Other People’s Proclivity) to not pay, of to pay less than, presumably, Mr. Trump thought they should. As one of Twitter’s most famous and prolific users, The NYT (New York Times) cited in a story published Sunday a number of Mr. Trump’s more pointed comments on the subject:
You know what is the worst part of @BarackObama‘s Tuesday speech playing class warfare–we paid for it with our tax dollars.
HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling govt debt…
@BarackObama who wants to raise all our taxes, only pays 20.5% on $790k salary.
Do as I say not as I do.
Facebook billionaire gives up his U.S. citizenship in order to save taxes. I guess 3.8 billion isn’t enough for (cont)
Everyone is starting to feel the new tax hikes. You get what you vote for!
The hedge fund guys (gals) have to pay higher taxes ASAP. They are paying practically nothing. We must reduce taxes for the middle class!
Signing a recent tax return- isn’t this ridiculous?
(This tweet was accompanied by a giant stack of paper, presumably, the brilliant one’s tax return)
Apart from a robust Twitter feed, this was another week when the stable of Trump surrogates has earned its money, no matter how much it is, and regardless of whether it is before or after taxes. Quickly in the wake of the NYT story on Trump’s taxes, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were either called upon, or volunteered to defend Mr. Trump on the question of taxes. In response to the story, in which the Times said documents reveal Trump claimed nearly a billion dollars ($916 million) in losses from properties he owned, including casinos, a hotel, and an airline, these losses had potential implications on future taxes owned. According to Internal Revenue Service guidelines, those losses could be used to offset future taxes for as many as 18 years. Politico reported Governor Christie said:
“There’s no one who’s shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code.”
Mayor Giuliani appeared on the latest edition of CNN’s “State of the Union.” During his interview, he said:
“The headline should have been, Donald Trump takes advantage of legal provisions in tax code.”
To put a fine point on it, both of them blamed Mr. Trump’s issues with taxes on the tax code, not on Trump himself. That sounds about right. After all, remember, this is the gentleman (Trump) who proclaimed he did the country, and even President Obama a service by successfully pressing the President to release his Birth Certificate. Indeed!
In one very Trumpesque, but non-Twitter example, during the last Presidential Campaign, Trump found himself prodding then Nominee Mitt Romney for not being timely in releasing his taxes. Specifically, this year’s Nominee said in January 2012 about taxes:
“Romney would “be better off just to release them now.”
In conclusion, there are three things I fully believe and one I wholeheartedly recommend. They are:
- This election’s results will not revolve around the issue of Mr. Trump’s taxes
- Trump has paid little or no taxes for many years
- Trump will not release his taxes (so we will never know about Bullet #2)
- Don’t boo, vote…and make Trump’s taxes a moot issue
Last night, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence participated in the lone Vice Presidential Debate of this year’s campaign. CNN’s early returns suggest Mr. Pence got the best of Kaine. This should be considered somewhat significant because the audience was skewed Democratic. There will be more Polls for sure, as well as two more Debates…between the Candidates for President, including one this Sunday evening. By all means, check them out.
Back to this post, as it relates to “October’s First Surprise: It’s a Taxing Matter!” I’m done; holla back!
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