We have a little more than a month until the presidential election here in the U.S. A little over one percent of the country has already voted in some states. You still have time to get out of your propaganda bubble and come around.
There are umpteen reasons why Trump has been bad for you and bad for the country. Sucking up to authoritarians and dictators. Fragmenting relationships with our democratic allies. Dismantling environmental laws. I could go on and on. I’m only going to focus on one thing, though, because I could write an entire book about how Trump fucked us all.
There’s a reason every presidential candidate besides Trump have released their tax returns before their elections. There’s a reason why government officials applying for security clearances must submit their financial information, including their returns. The American people need to know whether or not someone trying to win the highest seat in the nation is compromised by debt. How much do they owe? Whom do they owe it TO? Do they owe foreign nations or banks that could take advantage of the president’s debt obligation and put our national security at risk?
I know, you think the NY Times is “fake news.” But if they were lying about Trump’s tax returns, why wouldn’t he just release them and prove it? But he’s not. It’s high time you came down to reality. Trump is no billionaire. He’s $400 million in debt.
That debt is coming due in a few years. How is that going to play out? If he won re-election, would his creditors foreclose on a sitting president? Could this be why he is planning on contesting the election to the Supreme Court if he loses? Is our democracy at risk because our president owes more money than most Americans will even see in a lifetime?
For decades, Trump didn’t pay taxes. In 2016, he paid $750, which is way less than I paid in 2016, and I am far from being a millionaire. When Hillary Clinton pointed out in the 2016 debates that Trump was likely refusing to release his taxes because he didn’t pay taxes, Trump spun it as “aren’t I smart for evading taxes and taking advantage of loopholes”? There are a few problems with that. First off, he isn’t using legal means to avoid taxes. He’s committing tax fraud.
For example, he claimed a $72k tax deduction for hair styling during his Celebrity Apprentice days. The problem is — according to several people who’ve worked for him or with him — Trump does his own hair. According to Michael Cohen, Trump spends at least an hour per day on this. Cohen’s account has been backed up by others who were close to Trump, including Anthony Scaramucci, his former Communications Director, and Noel Casler, who worked on Celebrity Apprentice.
Didn’t Trump promise during his campaign to help the average American get the same “loopholes” and tax advantages he did? Instead, in the past four years, he’s only helped the rich and screwed the rest of us. One of Trump’s first acts was repealing the mortgage interest deduction, which, not inconsequently, primarily affected the northeast and city dwellers on the east coast. In one broad stroke, Trump committed revenge on many who didn’t vote for him.
Instead of helping the middle class, Trump has consistently worked with Republicans in Congress to give tax breaks to the wealthy. Republicans even snuck tax breaks for the rich in the CARES Act, which was established in the House to help average citizens, not Steve Mnuchin’s country club.
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I argued with many Trump supporters after Trump’s tax cuts were passed in 2017 that they weren’t the true beneficiaries of the law, despite the paltry extra $20 or so in their weekly paychecks.
According to Policygenius:
“On the whole, low-income families appear to have received the least savings, while high-income families saved the most. Middle-class families saw mixed results. The biggest winners from Trump’s tax cuts were probably businesses. Between 2017 and 2018, corporations paid 22.4% less income tax. The total value of refunds issued by the IRS to businesses also increased by 33.8% nationally.”
If it doesn’t anger you that Trump helped and keeps helping the rich and corporations get richer, while simultaneously gaming the system, then you really do need to consider whether you’re in a cult.
Look, Deplorables. We didn’t even need the NY Times to pull the curtain back on Trump’s tax malfeasance. Michael Cohen testified about it, UNDER OATH, last year. Cohen worked closely with Trump for many years and if anyone knows about Trump’s finances, it’s Cohen. He also testified that Trump inflated his wealth on bank forms to obtain loans, which constitutes bank fraud. And he brought receipts.
From his opening statement to Congress in February 2019: “Mr. Trump is a cheat. As previously stated, I am giving to the committee today three years of Mr. Trump’s personal financial statements...which he gave to Deutschebank to inquire about a loan…it was my experience that Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
According to the Times, Trump took in $73 million in foreign deals his first two years in office. Most of that income came from Trump’s golf course and resort properties in Scotland and Ireland, but also from licensing deals with nations including the Philippines, Turkey, and India. All three of these countries are led by far-right authoritarian leaders whom Trump has consistently praised.
Trump is making money off some not very good guys. The Washington Examiner explains why this is problematic.
Trump's millions from Turkey and the Philippines are corrupt
When President Trump speaks glowingly of brutal strongmen atop the governments in Turkey and the Philippines, remember…
At least we know now that Trump wasn’t lying about being “under audit” (although that wouldn’t have prevented him from releasing his taxes). The IRS is indeed auditing a questionable multimillion-dollar tax refund he could be forced to pay back with interest. Michael Cohen remembers when Trump got this refund. He actually said the IRS was stupid for giving him this money.
As Slate pointed out:
“We learned from tax returns leaked in the runup to the 2016 election that Donald Trump claimed a $915.7 million loss in 1995, which he used to avoid paying taxes for about 10 years. Add the $1.4 billion from the Times’ new reporting and you’ve got well over $2 billion in losses, quite impressive for a man who bills himself as a savvy businessman with an almost preternatural ability to spot and make deals.”
We now know why Trump never released this information and fought releasing it all the way to the Supreme Court. His financial documents prove he is far from the smart successful tycoon he’s portrayed for decades.
Trump’s taxes show that had Mark Burnett not come up with the idea to capitalize on the “Trump brand” and build a reality show around him, Trump would have been in huge financial trouble yet again. Most of the money he made in later years was from licensing deals related to the show. He was losing $175 million in his businesses. So basically, Celebrity Apprentice kept him afloat in the decade before his presidential run when no U.S. bank would give him money due to his six bankruptcies and a trail of broken businesses behind him (Trump Steaks; Trump Airlines; Trump Water; Trump University etc).
Celebrity Apprentice furthered the superficial facade of Trump as a smart businessman that had been perpetuated for decades by a complicit media profiting off the drama and spectacle Trump constantly created.
Without Celebrity Apprentice, could Trump have even been elected president? Hard to say. In my opinion, though, the media and a public that worships all things celebrity and wealth created a monster. Maybe electing a reality TV show star wasn’t such a great idea. Reality TV is NOT reality. Trump supporters, it’s high time you realize what a majority of the country has known for a while. Trump isn’t working for you. He isn’t even really working. He’s golfing on our dime. He’s grifting us. His incompetence and corruption are destroying our country. Time to tell him “you’re fired.”
Copyright 2020 S. Wade