*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Over the next couple of news cycles there will continue to be a fair amount of attention given to the not-so-stunning revelation from the New York Times that, because he is an incredibly incompetent businessman, Donald Trump likely didn’t pay a penny in taxes over an at least 18 year period from 1996 to 2014. It is a fact that Trump hinted at last week During the presidential debate when Hillary Clinton intimated that maybe Trump refuses to release his tax returns because he hasn’t paid any taxes, a remark that prompted Trump to retort “because I’m smart.”
Maybe in some bizarro universe “being a smart businessman” means posting a single-year loss of nearly a billion dollars ($916 million), but in the real world it indicates a level of ineptitude that would give a sane person reason to pause. If any American wasn’t already convinced that the man leading the Republican Party is one of the greatest grifters in recent memory, likely rivaling disgraced con man Bernie Madoff, the Times Saturday night revelation should be an eye-opener.
Now, it is true that some Americans believe that anyone rich who avoids paying taxes is because they’re smart, but to live in luxury at the expense of the government, other taxpayers, and devastated businesses and material suppliers isn’t being smart; it is being a confidence man and a swindler.
At this juncture it should be abundantly clear and common knowledge that due to America’s tax code favoring the filthy rich and corporations, that $916 million one-year business loss allowed Trump to “cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over the following 18-year period,” at least. Of course Trump still paid himself millions of dollars every year, and the Times tax experts claimed he could have easily reported $50 million in annual income every one of those 18 years and never paid a penny in federal tax. It should also be well-known that Republicans, including Donald Trump, are crusading for “tax reform” that gives the rich and corporations even greater tax cuts, and greater tax advantages than a middle class taxpayer could ever enjoy even in bizarro world.
Although this story could be about an unfair tax code devised to create wealth for the already filthy rich, it is more about how Trump has benefited financially from raping, pillaging and bankrupting other businesses and suppliers as well as ripping off taxpayers and governments at the local, state and federal level throughout the course of his “daddy-provided” business career and a whopping $886 million in tax breaks courtesy of New York taxpayers.
It is, no matter how one appraises the situation, an abomination that Trump has “most likely” avoided paying any taxes over the course of at least 18 years according to NYT tax experts, but besides ripping of taxpayers who are paying for services and infrastructure Trump and his businesses benefit from, there is the matter of everyone Trump ripped off along the way. It has been covered once or twice over the past year or so while everyone in the media focused on Trump’s racism and bigotry, but it was his business incompetence, deceit and predation that allowed him to lose massive amounts of money, decimate other Americans’ businesses, profit off of other taxpayers and still fly in a private jet and wallow in luxury without ever paying his share – forget the idea of a “fair share.”
As the Times reported, those 18 years (at least) of extraordinary tax benefits Trump “earned” are from the wreckage he wrought by mismanaging three Atlantic City casinos in the 1990s, his disastrous foray into the airline business, and the purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan the NYT said was “ill-timed.” Although sane human beings realize that Trump’s claims of “fabulous business acumen” are completely bogus after learning about a nearly billion dollar “loss” in one tax year, his fierce disciples will celebrate his cunning to rip off the federal government for 8 years and still live in abject luxury. Those same Trump devotees celebrate his ability to fabricate facts and lie as a matter-of-course and never face any consequences.
What Donald Trump’s acolytes don’t know, and definitely don’t care about, is that besides the government being scammed out of revenue for 18 years, many hard working Americans and small businesses were ripped off and ruined so Trump could post one year’s worth of a seriously massive business loss. What Trump’s supporters, and many ignorant Americans, also likely can’t comprehend is that it is almost certain that the $916 million in “losses” was not Trump’s money. As an aside, it is fairly certain that Trump probably “lost” much more than $916 million because that negative number was his “adjusted gross income;” the figure determined by annual income as adjusted by that tax year’s losses.
Donald Trump claims he is an exceptional business mind that qualifies him to be president and “manage” America like it was his personal business. However, not only is he not exceptional at business, America or its government are not businesses to be raided for personal profit at the expense of other Americans, including Donald Trump’s ignorant supporters.
Although this story may develop further, it is likely that with a cadre of conservative media at his disposal and stupid devotees cheering his every despicable act, past and present that very few in the media will report, Donald Trump will take advantage of this so-called “October surprise.” He will feign being persecuted by the liberal media and boast to his supporters that despite showing a one-year loss of nearly a billion dollars and not paying taxes, he is still a fabulous business mind that lives in mansions and flies around the world in his personal jet and still doesn’t pay taxes; not because he’s smart, but because Americans are stupid and keep electing Republicans.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.