Trump pays no taxes? Oh, that’s not the half of it, America.

(AP)

The evidence grows that, as suspected, multi-billionaire Donald Trump pays less in federal income taxes than do most of the people who attend his rallies. And by less, I mean he pays nothing at all, as in zero, year after year after year. Taxes are for the little people.

But that’s not the worst of it. As we’ll see below, the worst of it is how, on the tax issue as in so much else, Trump continues to scam his followers into believing that he’s on their side, when in fact the exact opposite is true. If elected, he fully intends to cheat his supporters just as thoroughly as he has cheated almost everyone that he encounters, both in his personal and business life. Unfortunately, those supporters are too willfully blind to see what’s coming.

We already knew that Trump had paid no federal taxes back in the ’70s, when he was forced to file his tax returns in order to win a New Jersey casino license. We knew that in 2005, he got a $39.1 million federal tax deduction by simply pledging not to build houses on his expensive Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, N.Y., where he had no intention of building houses anyway.  We also knew that over the years, he has milked his political connections for some $900 million in tax subsidies and rebates in New York City.

Now a portion of Trump’s 1995 tax return has been mailed anonymously to The New York Times. That document tells us that this “hugely successful” businessman again contributed nothing that year to help pay our troops or run the government. In fact, Trump reported a loss that year of $916 million —  at least for tax purposes — which experts say would allow him to pay no taxes to Uncle Sam for 18 consecutive years. (The true extent and source of those losses are uncertain because Trump refuses to release his tax information.)

Confronted with such evidence, Trump says what he said at the debate: “That makes me smart,” a formulation that puts all of us suckers who do pay taxes to support our country into the category of stupid. The sycophantic Rudy Giuliani takes it a step further, calling Trump “a genius at how to take advantage of legal remedies” and arguing that we need that kind of genius to help run the country.

The idea, of course, is that Trump is an inside player who knows all the angles, and if we want to clean out the pay-to-play corruption and clean out the tax code, he’s the perfect man to do it for us. “It takes a thief to catch a thief,” as the old saying goes.

Or as The Man Himself put it this weekend:

But what does he mean by “fix”?

Fortunately, we already know what Trump intends to do with the tax code, because it’s the one area in which he’s given us a somewhat detailed plan. And according to every third-party analysis that I’ve seen, the Trump plan does nothing to ensure that he and other wealthy Americans will pay their fair share of the burden; to the contrary, the plan represents a multi-trillion-dollar giveaway to the wealthy that dwarfs the plans offered by other GOP candidates. For every loophole that the Trump plan alleges to close in the tax code, it opens a half-dozen more that will be even more lucrative.

However, I want to draw your attention to one particular part of the Trump tax plan, which deals with tax treatment for highly leveraged real-estate development of the type in which Trump specializes. Those provisions would allow developers to utilize two different tax loopholes, unlimited interest deduction and immediate expensing of investments, to create a massive new subsidy for that industry.

Combined, those two loopholes would create what tax experts call a “negative tax rate.” Put another way, instead of Trump paying taxes to the government on his profits, the government would be paying taxes to Trump and his fellow developers. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, fine: It is such an outrageous, unfair proposal that it has alarmed even right-wing economists and supply-siders.

— As the Wall Street Journal put it back in August, “Donald Trump’s emerging tax plan could benefit leveraged real-estate companies like the one he runs with new and substantial subsidies.”

— As Alan Viard of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute put it, with wry understatement, “there’s a certain generosity of treatment here that would seem excessive.” And when AEI says you’re being too generous to the wealthy, well …

— In the words of Douglas Holtz-Eakin, probably the nation’s most prominent conservative economist: “If you want to create a recipe for an abusive tax shelter, take those elements and bake for 15 minutes … It’s a phenomenal benefit for housing and commercial real estate interests.”

— According to a 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office, combining those two tax breaks would create an effective tax rate of “–61 percent for C corporations and –34 percent for pass-through entities.” As the CBO explains, “when tax rates are negative, after-tax income is greater than before-tax income. Thus, a tax rate of –50 percent on $1,000 income yields an after-tax income of $1,500—one-third of which constitutes the $500 negative tax liability supplied by the government.” So if Trump makes $20 million on an investment, his actual after-tax income becomes $30 million, with $10 million from you and me.

— Even House Republicans — no pikers when it comes to handing out tax goodies to corporate America — understand that it’s wrong to pay developers out of the U.S. Treasury, creating a profit where there might not be any. “Allowing both (immediate expensing and unlimited interest deduction) together would be distortive, as it would result in a tax subsidy for debt,” their plan concludes.

We’ve been told repeatedly that Trump is a business genius and that he knows the tax code better than anyone. So we can safely assume that in proposing such a change, Trump knows exactly what he is doing and who it will benefit (i.e., him.) When he says that he intends to “fix” our tax laws, this is what he means, because this is what he has told us he would do.

The problem, of course, is that most of Trump’s supporters will have had neither the patience nor the interest to read this far. And among those who do, most will find some way to rationalize the evidence away. That’s where Trump’s real genius and danger lie. Like many a street hustler, he knows quite well how to dazzle a mark with baloney while calmly picking his pocket, and then make him like it.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1897 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

I wonder often how ANYone can be so incredibly stupid as to actually consider even in jest to vote for such a con artist. One common characteristic seems to be IQ hovering somewhere around 12 or if they even finished high school a gpa of around 1.5 or lower. But I read a piece recently that studied how supposedly reasonably intelligent people can consider voting for a sleaze, and it's that many people don't use reason at all - just emotion. And it's so easy for folks like Trump to sucker 'em. As P.T. said, there's one born every minute.

ga_diver
ga_diver


Jay Bookman can you report on these, I guess not since the AJC is a left Wing Rag! Maybe the paper can shrink more like a comic book! 

Just FACTS:.

of the two candidates running for president...

Only Killary Clinton was caught lying to congress.

Only Killary Clinton was fired from a job for being unethical.

Only Killary Clinton deleted 30 some thousand emails after she was ordered to hand them over to the Fed.

Only Killary Clinton had that same computer wiped clean by professionals.

Only Killary Clinton got the rapist of a teenage girl off on rape charges then laughed about it.

Only Killary Clinton lied to the American people about Benghazi.

Only Killary Clinton lied to the American people about her emails.

Only Killary Clinton lied about being under sniper fire.

Only Killary Clinton lied about lying to the American people.

Only Killary Clinton was involved in " Cash Cow "

Only Killary Clinton has a long list of scandals.

Only Killary Clinton nationally belittled her husband's sexual harassment and rape accusers.

Only Killary Clinton is a career politician.

Only Killary Clinton will not release her speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks.

Only Killary Clinton is tied to Monsanto.

Only Killary Clinton was labeled " Extremely careless " about national security by the FBI !

Only Killary Clinton said she will raise taxes on the middle class.

Only Killary Clinton benefited from the DNC rigging an election !

Only Killary Clinton had to return stolen items from the White House.

Only Killary Clinton took almost 200 million dollars from Countries that mistreat Woman and kill gays

Only Killary Clinton said the Benghazi victims parents where lying.

Only Killary Clinton wants you to vote for her based on her gender.

Only Killary Clinton has no real accomplishments after a lifetime in politics.

Only Killary Clinton has never created any jobs.

Only Killary Clinton has been investigated by the FBI and found to have put national security at risk.

Only Killary Clinton has had two or more movies and several documentaries made about her questionable ethics.

Only Killary Clinton was called "Broomstick one" by the SS.

Only Killary Clinton made congress and others spend millions and millions of tax dollars having hearings and investigating her to find that she lied, that would not have been spent if she would of simply told the truth in the first place ! Fact - all facts !

Only Killary Clinton regularly cussed out and belittled her SS detail.

ga_diver
ga_diver

Hey Jay Bookman, Trump uses the crooked Tax laws that we have, nothing Illegal to spread out a loss of almost a billion of his OWN money (do some research, who else has done this) .  Killary uses her foundation as a personal slush fund (look at Haiti, Jay), and the 6 BILLION she lost of American Tax Dollars at the State Department that went missing under her “leadership” (Jay do your Job).  Plus Trump never killed anyone, Not just Benghazi, but Shahram Amiri ,Jay be a reporter).  The AJC could use a good Reporter, for once!

 

C_Casselberry
C_Casselberry

@ga_diver A good reporter would turn up facts just like Jay did. Facts are those inconvenient things that you can't grasp. Such as Trump plays you for the fool you are.

khd713
khd713

I am no Trump supporter, but this criticism over paying taxes is just so absurd. Democrats try to make an issue of it every election cycle when they are every bit the same as Republicans when it comes to paying taxes. In fact, we all are the same. Seriously, is there anyone out there who pays more in federal or state income taxes than they owe in a given year? Yeah, I didn't think so. So why are you criticizing Trump? He did the same thing you did – he paid what he owed. 

TuckFrump
TuckFrump

Buffett rebukes Trump, questions his business skill on 8/1/16

He said it was in 1995 when Trump listed his Trump hotels and casino resorts on the New York Stock Exchange. He said the company lost money every year for the next decade.  (driving its stock price from $35.5 to 17cents while he paid himself about $60 million). "

if a monkey had thrown a dart at the stock page, the monkey on average would have made 150 percent,"  Buffett said.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@TuckFrump  What does the 2nd paragraph have to do with the 1st?  Issuing stock on the NYSE has nothing to do with buying and selling stock as an investor.  I have a hard time believing Buffet would make such a stupid statement.

TuckFrump
TuckFrump

There’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding Trump’s BIGLY “losses” and how he managed to be so broke and so flush at the same time.

Cyndy12
Cyndy12

Jay (and management) - Like many other media outlets,have already done, I wish you guys would stop allowing comments. All it is is a haven for angry and (based on the writing I'm seeing here) not-so bright people who spew a lot of anger and hateful rhetoric.

Good article, BTW.

gapeach101
gapeach101

@Cyndy Murrieta

Cyndy, I must disagree.  While some of the commentary is posted by not so bright people, many have posted informative links that I would not know about otherwise.  

rimsky
rimsky

Last the RW were doing feverish dance about wikileak spilling more stuff about Hillary.

Interview by NPR with Assange (beware cons it came out of his mouth) he is, sometime this year, going to divulge something about our election process.

He said he was misquoted "saying he is divulging info on Hillary".

Poor cons. 

Pooof goes you October surprise.

DerekGator
DerekGator

@rimsky :  He said today that he plans to release some info every day between now and the election.  We will see what we already know, that HRC is as crooked as they come. 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Not only a fascist, but a failure - with props to Visual Cortex.


Had Trump taken his share of what would become his father’s inheritance and put it into an index fund matching the S&P 500 back in 1974, it would have been worth $3 billion today. Had he put the $200 million that Fortune magazine determined he was worth in 1982 into that same index fund, he would be worth more than $8 billion today.

And had that $200 million gone into the broad real estate market, it would be worth more than $20 billion today.

Trump claims he is worth more than $10 billion, but independent analyses have put the figure at less than half that. Two banks that appraised his net worth a decade ago came up with values of $788 million and $1.2 billion. And journalist Timothy L. O’Brien, author of TrumpNation, said sources within Trump’s company a dozen years ago told him Trump was worth between $150 million and $250 million ― at a time Trump was claiming a net worth of $6 billion. (Trump sued O’Brien over the book for defamation and lost.)


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/turmp-wealth-inheritence_us_57f2ed79e4b01b16aafea2a0

breckenridge
breckenridge

“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over, if you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”  Donald Trump, 10-3-2016

The voice of experience? No, the voice of a 5 time recipient of military deferments that kept him out of Vietnam.

YouLibs
YouLibs

td


I before e except after c.


believe

receive

YouLibs
YouLibs


C'mon folks, let's coach td up.

weazel
weazel

bookman, have you ever created a job for anyone other than your self? i really hope on your days off (? days a week off, 1 column/ week i guess), you are content.

 you may be a 'smart guy' but an idiot when it comes to having an open mind.

your column makes me want to drop my subscription to the AJC.

judge learned hand:

Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as
possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the
treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.
Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister
in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone
does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any
public duty to pay more than the law demands." 

 i hire an accountant to do the same for me.

i am a navy fighter pilot with 22 years in 'our' service', 2 trips to V/N, because i was ordered to do it by my/your/our, 'commander in chief'.

 Benghazi? wow! shoot me down boy's cause nobody is comin' to get me!

i think Trump would send me help!

thank me bookman cause i am part of the reason you liberals, and yes my  conservative friends, can write whatever you want, albeit yours, most of the time very slanted 'non-truths', with out retribution other than losing you job. 

regards,

WeaZel 

ps: watch top gun, WeaZel was my call sign and i am very proud of it.

Airdale
Airdale

@weazel Too many years in an oxygen deprived condition for the WeaZel.  You should really make sure the mask is fitting well and tight at ten thousand.

Airdale
Airdale

@weazel Incidentally, we never called it V/N, it was always Nam or the Nam and we made tours.  Sorry, you don't get an OK pass.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@weazel


"your column makes me want to drop my subscription to the AJC. "


Come on man, don't do anything brash. Think of the hard-working Republican youth who might lose their distribution jobs if you cancel your subscription. Think of how many of us will gravitate to the NYT if Jay is fired because you cancelled your subscription.


Sleep on it before you pull the trigger, okay?


I'm pretty concerned about this.

elgrunir
elgrunir

Hey, Y'all,  Thanks for being here so late.  Why, I don't know, but I'm glad you were here.  Nice way to top off the day.  Tomorrow?  Perhaps-- it'd be somewhere 1300-1730, EDT.

Boydmorris
Boydmorris

Tax and federal tax are not the same thing. You make it sound like Trump pays no taxes. He pays no federal taxes. I wonder how much actual "tax" he pays thru other taxes as sales, excise, real estate, licensing or other tax. I would love to pay no federal taxes, and gladly would be proud of I accomplished it. There are tax incentives, equipment write offs, loss offsets, all that are encouraged to be taken advantage of by politicians. When someone takes advantage of the available credits, are they now a villan?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Boydmorris  Tax and federal tax are not the same thing. 

Someone needs to tell that to Trump, Romney, Ryan, Priebus and the rest of the Republican party.

Airdale
Airdale

@Boydmorris Ah yes, property tax is so deductible.  Then when your penthouse is part of your business property and the business pays and deducts the taxes it is even easier.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Make America Spell Again  #MASA

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump Oct 2

Bernie should pull his endorsement of Crooked Hillary after she decieved him and then attacked him and his supporters.

15,866 retweets 42,014 likes Reply Retweet 16K Retweeted 16K Like 42K Liked 42K More
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PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@td1234 @PaulinNH  You missed the point of the post - bless your heart.  Then again spelling isn't exactly your strong point

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234 

 Sounds about right to me.

And there's your sign.

LOL!

stefpe
stefpe

@elgrunir @PaulinNH I think a case could possibly be made that it was dumb to even bother to correct him?

Reaching, I know but..

elgrunir
elgrunir

@stefpe @elgrunir @PaulinNH  Considering I almost (literally) had a heart attack this morning (I'd lost my wallet.  ID, bank card, and one functioning cc, with a useless $50 check in the glovebox), that I'm laughing now is pretty cool.  The body and heart were not well, but they're better at the moment.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Kamchak @td1234  Trump has the best people working for him and checking his Twitter feed.  Somehow they don't appear to be "smarter than a 5th grader".

elgrunir
elgrunir

@PaulinNH  OMG... remember Big Papi 1 from earlier?  Posted incorrect information using awful grammar, spelling, and punctuation--then called me dumb after I corrected him.

Rick3391
Rick3391

Went rigth over his haed.

elgrunir
elgrunir

@stefpe @elgrunir @PaulinNH  Yes, eventually.  I was heading down into the black hole, for sure.  Heart pounding furiously, hyperventilating, mind shorting, body and hands shaking uncontrollably... nightmare of 30 minutes.  I was seriously thinking that I was done, but ran my hands in the unlikeliest places one more time.  It somehow had fallen between the console and the seat, slid all the way down, got wedged under a rail, and then got buried when I moved the seat.  I felt a corner of it, then wedged it out.  Took about two hours for the adrenaline to wear off.  Now I've been laughing.  Crazy...

elgrunir
elgrunir

@stefpe @elgrunir @PaulinNH  After getting through the necessary errands, I went into a Starbucks to camp, spending about 4 hours here.  Weird to have a day off, but one of them stopped (finished) and the other I'm meeting tomorrow.  Being here really helped me decompress.