Remember back in March 2017 when Rachel Maddow went on her MSNBC show with Trump’s 2005 tax returns? You might remember it being seen as some kind of big point that Trump paid 25% of his income in taxes, compared to the much poorer Obama, who made 19%, and the much poorer Sanders, who paid 13%.
Well, now The New York Times got a hold of Trump’s tax returns for the past fifteen years, and it turns out this is actually a rarity with him. In fact, Donald Trump has not paid anything in taxes for ten of the past fifteen years, and in his first two years as President, he only paid $750.
(I wonder if the actual reason Romney voted for Trump’s removal was because he knew Trump was part of the 47%.)
Now I’m not a huge fan of taxation as it stands, so by itself I’m not that mad about Donald Trump refusing to do such a thing. Most of the money Donald Trump could have paid would have gone to drones, Exxon subsidies, Halliburton profits, Solyndra — wow, the government does tons of bad shit with your tax money. However, I do think there is something to be said regarding this story.
As of right now, the President has called it “fake news” without any further explanation. Of course, Donald Trump could very well prove that by releasing them himself, however, the main reason he refuses to, I suspect, has something to do with him knowing the reports are true. Hence why he did not release them in 2016, and why he has been fighting tooth and nail to not have to release them ever since.
Personally, I remember the excuse that he was under an audit — something that was quickly debunked and that he was told was a lie many times, including in the debates. However, I found that claim that he was under an audit basically once a year, a claim he made to justify why he just so happens to be under an audit right now, to be even more odd. Typically, someone is only under an audit if it’s a consider that they have not paid their taxes. If Donald Trump is under an audit every year, that would mean that this has been a concern every tax season for the past several years.
However, my main issue with this new information is not that Trump didn’t pay his taxes. It’s not even the issue that Trump has proven to be a mediocre businessman. We all knew that Trump was a middling businessman with some bankruptcies, some successes, and some failures. It’s this simple fact, Trump did not have to pay his taxes, but you, yes you the reader, you not only did, you likely got them raised under Trump.
Remember when Donald Trump signed Paul Ryan’s Tax Cuts And Jobs Act into law back in 2017? An act that was weirdly named considering a quarter of the population had their taxes raised over the course of a decade, due to any tax cuts for the poor having sunset provisions. Well it turns out any money Republicans want to squeeze out of poor people is so they don’t have to step up and pay even some of what they demand we pay.
Lets not forget that this President has also implemented much more protectionism than any other President in modern history. Tariffs, like all other forms of sales tax, are a burden that falls disproportionally on the poor and the lower class — who pay the taxes Donald Trump doesn’t want to. That should be the issue here, not that Donald Trump doesn’t pay taxes, but that he wants you to pay more.
I understand this argument is hard for the left to make, as they like to go with the fiction that the Republican Party is tax cut after tax cut. In truth, Ronald Reagan raised taxes on the bottom 60% of the country, and George W. Bush did the same. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both did more to cut income taxes for the bottom of the population than any Republican counterpart from the 1980s onward.
For that matter, I know the idea that the rich don’t pay taxes is either a commonplace talking point of no interest or a myth depending on who I’m talking to. Republicans love to throw around the fact that the top 1% pay 50% of federal income taxes, however, the top 1% also have around 90% of the wealth in this country. Again, nothing wrong with that, but unless we implemented a full on regressive tax the 1% are always going to pay a higher percent than the bottom 99% just by sheer numbers.
However, the fact that the rich passing the tax burden onto us has become a boring point should disturb you. Why is it harder for the common man to find the money to pay his taxes then the rich one? Ideally, it should be equally as hard for those in political power as it is for the common man, if only because that encourages them to simplify it. Now, it’s just seen as normal that while a poor man might be in trouble regarding his taxes, the rich will never have to worry.
That is the true scandal regarding Trump’s tax returns, the fact that we’re paying him and he never returned the favor.